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Recent blog posts

DuPage County Child Custody AttorneyThe family has never been as varied or flexible in its structure as it is today. While many families are still made up of the stereotypical two-parent mother-father household, many more families are built from strong, single parents–including people who are successfully co-parenting despite never having been married. If you recently discovered someone is expecting your child, you may be wondering if you have parental rights. Read on to learn more about establishing paternity and custody for fathers who have never been married to their child’s mother. 

Do I Need to Establish Paternity? 

Before you can establish any kind of relationship with your child, you need to be certain that you are considered the child’s legal father. You can do this easily if you are married; by simply signing the Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (VAP) at a hospital, most fathers are given full rights to a child. But if you have never been married to your child’s mother, things are a little different. 

If both you and the mother agree, and you are in the hospital when the baby is born, you can sign a VAP and be considered the child’s legal father from birth. If you are not sure whether you are the father, or if the mother does not consent to have you present in the delivery room, you will need to request genetic testing. An Illinois court can order genetic testing and your attorney can help you petition for this. 

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DuPage County Divorce LawyerEven in the most amicable of circumstances, divorce is rarely easy. Yet a couple that is committed to negotiating a divorce settlement peacefully can nearly always do so, especially with the help of a great Illinois divorce attorney-mediator. A mediator is a neutral third party that helps a couple express their priorities, communicate calmly, and focus on achieving mutually satisfying results. If you and your ex can communicate reasonably, here are four issues that mediation can help resolve in your divorce. 

Asset Division

Every divorcing couple must divide their marital assets. A lot is at stake, both financially and personally, when it comes to marital assets; many are of great worth or hold great sentimental value. Honest conversation is essential to figuring out which assets can be traded for others and which need to be sold and the proceeds divided. Illinois is an equitable division state, so spouses have wide leeway to divide their assets flexibly. 

Spousal Maintenance

Also known as alimony or spousal support, spousal maintenance may be necessary when spouses have been married for a long time or one spouse has been financially dependent on the other for many years. However, like the asset division process, spousal maintenance can be flexible. The important thing is that both partners agree to the parameters. Spousal maintenance can also be negotiated as part of a broader financial package that includes details like which spouse will claim the children on their taxes. 

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DuPage County Family Law AttorneyThe idea of having to spend any time with your children under someone else’s supervision can feel humiliating and unfair, especially if the social worker is a supervisor and you are paying for their services. Yet there are parents in Illinois who are ordered to live with supervised parenting time every day, and understanding why this happens and what the court wants to see is essential for getting through this tough time. It is important to remember that supervised parenting time is not necessarily indicative of your skills as a parent and that, with the help of an Illinois parenting time attorney, it is possible to move beyond this stage.

Why Would a Judge Order Supervised Parenting Time?

Judges can order supervised parenting time whenever there is a question about a parent’s fitness or safety with the children in a particular case. In some cases, this concern is justified; other times, it is the result of false accusations made by a parent in the heat of a contentious divorce or custody case. Common reasons that judges might order parenting time include, but are not limited to:

  • A concern that a parent might kidnap a child
  • Concerns about drug or alcohol abuse
  • A history of child endangerment, abuse, or neglect
  • Criminal convictions, especially regarding crimes against children
  • Allegations of child abuse

What is Supervised Parenting Time Like?

How supervised parenting time works will depend on the circumstances of each case. Some parents may only get supervised parenting time with a social worker present in a public place. Other times, a family member or friend may be the designated supervisor, and parenting time can take place in a parent’s home. The goal of supervised parenting time is to try to give children time with their parent, even when that parent may not be perfect. To this end, the structure of the environment and supervision will change according to the parent’s behavior and a judge’s risk assessment.

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wheaton divorce lawyerOver the course of many years, married couples accumulate a lot of stuff - and when it comes time to divorce, all the stuff needs to be divided. Some of a couple’s belongings are easy to remember to include in the marital asset portfolio; bank accounts, investments, and the marital home are obvious items. Other items are easier to overlook but just as important to account for. If you are getting divorced, make sure you meet with an experienced Illinois divorce attorney who can help you make sure you get your fair share of the marital estate. Here are four often overlooked asset classes in divorce. 

Intellectual Property

Intellectual property may not immediately come to mind, but it can make up a significant part of a marital estate. Examples of intellectual property include patents, inventions, books, films, artwork, music, etc. - anything which a spouse produces and makes money from. If the intellectual property was created or acquired during the marriage, it is marital property and subject to valuation and division. 

Loans and Accounts Receivable

Couples who have enough money to loan it out to friends or family will need to split the eventual loan payoff when they get divorced. This is also true for loans or accounts receivable which are owned by a business. Additionally, things like interest can be actively generating income, which will need to be divided. This can take time, as it may be difficult to determine whether all or part of a loan’s proceeds are marital property and whether a loan will continue to be profitable in the future. Likewise, because a loan also represents some financial risk, a couple will need to decide how to divide its ownership. 

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wheaton divorce lawyerParents often have big plans for their children during summer. Camping, road tripping, and even just going down the block to the swimming pool every day can make wonderful memories, especially for a parent who sees their children less during the school year. While a great parenting plan will account for vacation time during the summer months (and the winter holidays as well), parents who live far away from each other or who have high interpersonal conflict may struggle to be flexible during the holidays. Having a family attorney can help during these challenging moments, as can understanding your options for co-parenting during the holidays. 

Try to Balance Parenting Time

Children whose parents live far away from each other typically benefit from a schedule that allows them to attend school without the interruption of traveling back and forth between parents. Unfortunately, for the parent who has less parenting time during the school year, this can mean missing major portions of a child’s life. Parenting plans are often structured to compensate for this during the summer months, but one potential fallout is that the parent with the children during the school year cannot travel during the summer. If parents can manage, negotiating a different schedule from year to year is acceptable if both parties agree to the changes. 

What if My Ex and I Cannot Agree on a Holiday Schedule? 

When spouses experience significant interpersonal conflict, the only solution may be to create an airtight parenting plan that is negotiated beforehand and enforceable by law. While this solution may leave each parent feeling less than satisfied about missing last-minute opportunities to travel with the children, it does prevent conflict - and, considering the negative effects of exposure to parental conflict, judges may find it better to avoid the potential for conflict in favor of a schedule set in stone. 

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