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DuPage County family law attorney order of protection

If you have been the victim of domestic violence or you have reason to believe that a family or household member may become physically violent toward you or your children, there are legal actions you can take to protect yourself and your kids. A protection order or “restraining order” is a court order that prohibits a person from contacting or coming within a certain distance of another person. If the subject of the protection order violates the order, he or she faces immediate arrest and possible criminal charges. Obtaining an emergency order of protection is often the first step in leaving an abusive spouse or escaping an abusive family member.

How Does an Emergency Order of Protection Work?

Protection orders are used to protect against abuse, stalking, or harassment from former or current spouses, partners, roommates, or family members. An Emergency Order of Protection (EOP) can be customized to your particular situation. Your EOP may prohibit the abusive person or “respondent” from:

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Wheaton, IL divorce litigation attorneyTV shows and movies often depict divorces as dramatic confrontations inside the courtroom. However, the vast majority of divorce cases do not go to trial. Litigation is only necessary when a divorcing couple is unable to reach agreements on issues such as property division, the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time, and spousal maintenance. Most divorcing couples are able to resolve these issues through lawyer-facilitated negotiations, mediation, or collaborative law. If a couple cannot reach a settlement, the case may go to trial. 

What Should I Expect During a Divorce Trial?

Divorcing spouses may need to make one or more court appearances during the dissolution of their marriage, even if the couple agrees about divorce issues. However, these court appearances are not the same thing as a divorce trial. During a divorce trial, a judge hears arguments from both sides and then issues a ruling regarding the unresolved issues. Divorce trials do not involve a jury, but they are otherwise conducted similarly to other types of civil trials. 

Before the start of the trial, each spouse and his or her attorney will gather information and evidence that support their arguments. This information-gathering process is called “discovery.” Discovery may involve written interrogatories, requests for admission, depositions, and other means of obtaining information about the facts of the case.

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Wheaton, IL marriage annulment attorneyAnnulments are often associated with celebrity marriages gone wrong or last-minute Las Vegas weddings. However, there are many situations that may cause a person to seek an annulment. Unlike divorce, annulling a marriage makes it as if the marriage never took place. Not every marriage is eligible for annulment, however. If you are interested in having your marriage annulled, make sure you understand the criteria for annulment in Illinois. Next, contact an experienced family law attorney for help.

What Is the Difference Between Divorce and Annulment?

When a married couple wants to end their marriage, they typically file for divorce. A divorce, or Dissolution of Marriage as it is called in Illinois, terminates the legal relationship between the spouses. The couple may need to resolve issues such as property division, child custody, or spousal maintenance before the divorce can be finalized. Annulment, on the other hand, is not the termination of a marriage but instead the assertion that a marriage was never lawful to begin with. This is why annulment is referred to as a “Declaration of Invalidity” in Illinois law. In order to be granted an annulment, there must have been some issue with the marriage that made it invalid.

When Is a Marriage Considered Invalid?

There are several issues that may cause a marriage to be invalid. In Illinois, individuals may only marry if they are 18 years old or older, or, if they are 16 years old or older and have parental permission. If a spouse was under the age of 16 at the time of the marriage or was under the age of 18 and did not have the needed parental permission, the marriage is invalid. Marriages between close relatives are also prohibited by Illinois law. 

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DuPage County child support attorney special needs disabilitiesChild support payments allow unmarried or divorcing parents to share child-rearing expenses in a way that is fair and reasonable for both parties. Illinois child support payments are determined by the Income Shares model. This model takes into account each parent’s income as well as the amount of parenting time he or she will have with the child. The Income Shares child support calculation method is typically used unless there is a reason that following the Illinois child support guidelines would yield an inappropriate child support payment amount.

Child support payments typically terminate when a child becomes an independent adult, but there are some situations in which child support may be extended. If you are a parent of a disabled child, read on to learn about your options for special needs child support.

What Counts as a Disability?

Children with disabilities may need financial assistance even when they reach the age when child support would typically end. If your child has a disability, you have the option to petition the court for non-minor child support. An intellectual incapacity, mental health disorder, or physical disability may quality an adult child for non-minor support. Illinois law defines a disability as a “physical or mental impairment that substantially limits major life activity.” In order for the child to qualify for non-minor support, the disability must have been present before the child reached the age that child support payments would have otherwise terminated. 

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Wheaton divorce and parenting plan lawyerWhen Illinois parents get divorced, or when unmarried parents are separated, they are expected to create a parenting plan that designates when the child will spend time with each parent and how parents will share parenting obligations. However, forming a plan that both parents find acceptable is not always easy. Disagreements about the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time can be some of the most emotionally-charged legal disputes in all of family law. If you are a parent, you may understandably have strong feelings about these matters. There are a number of factors that contribute to child custody decisions. Often, these include the child’s preferences.

Illinois Law Regarding Parental Responsibilities and Parenting Time

Parents who cannot reach an agreement about parental responsibilities and parenting time have several options. They may negotiate the terms of their parenting plan through their respective lawyers, work on a resolution through mediation or collaborative law, or litigate the case in court. Illinois courts make all child-related decisions based on what is in the child’s best interests. When determining a parenting plan on behalf of parents, the court will consider multiple factors, including each parent’s wishes, the child’s school situation and extracurricular activities, the parents’ work schedule, any past instances of domestic violence or abuse, and the wishes of the child.

Children’s Opinions May Impact Child Custody Cases

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (750 ILCS 5) states that a child’s preferences should be taken into consideration by the court during child custody proceedings. However, the law also states that the child’s maturity and reasons for his or her preferences should be considered. Small children may be unable to express their wishes. Sometimes, children may express a preference for one parent over the other because that parent has less restrictive household rules or is otherwise more “fun.” However, if the child has a good reason to prefer a certain custody arrangement, it is likely that this preference will influence the outcome of the case.

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