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dupage county paternity lawyerPaternity – the state of being someone’s father – may seem more straightforward than it actually is. Some men strive to avoid being seen as a child’s father, as this comes with responsibilities like child support, while other men have to work to prove that they are the father of a child so they can be involved in his or her life. Whichever side you find yourself on, it is important to understand how paternity is established and treated within Illinois law. 

How is Paternity Established? 

 Paternity tests are the most famous method of establishing paternity, as they are often dramatized on television. However, there are several other methods under Illinois law by which you can become the legal father of a child. 

  •  You formally adopted a child.
  • A court paternity case found you to be the father.

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dupage county divorce lawyer Divorce is never easy, but it is made even more difficult when one spouse cannot or will not work. Studies show that divorce is substantially more likely among heterosexual couples when the husband is not employed. The working spouse may feel frustrated by months or years of supporting the household but may also feel guilty for potentially cutting off the non-working spouse’s source of income. 

Divorcing an unemployed spouse does not have to be a nightmare. Along with hiring an experienced divorce attorney, here are three things to consider when divorcing an unemployed spouse. 

Alimony

Alimony, or spousal support, is given to the lesser-earning former spouse to make sure they are able to maintain the kind of lifestyle they had during the marriage. The factors the court takes into consideration during the alimony ruling will include why the non-working spouse did not work. Spouses may also reach an agreement about alimony, called spousal maintenance in Illinois law, through mediation, collaborative law, or lawyer-assisted negotiations. 

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wheaton divorce lawyerMaking the decision to get divorced is never easy. Divorcing parents have to balance a tricky line between honesty, self-advocacy, and doing what is best for the kids – all while managing their household and keeping their career afloat. Add the potential conflict and hostility of divorce, and you’ve got a complex situation with no perfect solution. 

In this blog, we will look at some of the strategies experts recommend for discussing this sensitive subject with children. Be sure to also read our next blog for ways you can protect your children during the divorce proceedings. 

Make Sure Your Kids Hear it From You First

During the stages preceding the official divorce filing, parents are often navigating personal differences that result in feelings of anger and hostility. These issues can leak out of the marriage and into the couples’ shared social network. Friends may take sides or gossip without knowing little ears are listening in. 

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wheaton child support lawyerDivorce can be financially taxing, even for the wealthiest of families. When a divorce is contested, it can be even more expensive and time-consuming than expected. For those who have children, child support can be one of the most important financial aspects of divorce. Ensuring that your children are adequately provided for may mean that you need to include child-related expenses above and beyond what typical child support payments provide. 

Expenses to Consider Adding to Your Support Order

In some cases, a child may have additional needs or expenses that the custodial parent needs assistance with. In these cases, the custodial parent can request that these additional expenses be added to the child support order so the cost can be split between the parents. Though parents can create their own individual child support agreements containing whatever provisions they see fit, the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act provides for specific child-related expenses that may be added to the support order. These expenses include:

  • Medical Expenses - Either one or both parents must provide health insurance for the child or obtain state-sponsored health insurance if it is not available from their employer. You may be able to add certain medical expenses to your child support order if they are not covered by insurance. These expenses can include things like prescription medication costs, co-pays, portions of medical costs not covered by insurance, and costs related to dental or vision care.

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Wheaton, IL child support enforcement attorneyAs any parent can tell you, children are expensive. Between education and childcare, housing, groceries, healthcare, and other child-related costs, raising a child without financial assistance from the child’s other parent can be a major struggle. Parents have a moral responsibility and a legal obligation to provide for their child’s needs. Unfortunately, some parents try to evade this responsibility. If you are a single parent, and your child’s other parent is not paying child support, there are steps you can take to get the financial assistance you and your child deserve.   

Establishing a Child Support Order in Illinois

If you and your ex have casually agreed on a child support arrangement, unfortunately, there is not much that the courts can do to enforce this arrangement. That is why it is important for any divorced or unmarried parent to get an official child support order from the court. If your child’s father is not paying child support, but he never signed a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity or otherwise established his legal relationship with your child, you will need to establish paternity before you can get a child support order.

Enforcing an Existing Child Support Order

If you already have a child support order, but your child’s other parent is not abiding by the order, there are several things you can do to assert your right to receive child support. The Department of Healthcare and Family Services Division of Child Support Services (DCSS) is the agency that enforces child support orders in Illinois. You may also be able to enforce the order through the court system. Parents who do not pay child support can face several significant consequences including:

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