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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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Posted on in Divorce

DuPage County divorce lawyer for finances and employmentConcerns over the coronavirus have caused some businesses to close their doors. Unfortunately, this means that many people are now out of work. Some of these individuals are only temporarily laid off, while others may need to find new employment. Whether it is due to a layoff or termination, losing your job has the potential to dramatically influence divorce proceedings. Although divorce is typically thought of as the end of a romantic relationship, it is also the end of a financial relationship. Losing your main source of income will likely impact issues such as property division, child support, child custody, spousal maintenance, and other aspects of your divorce.

The Reason for the Job Loss Matters

When deciding on financial matters in a divorce case, a judge will consider both spouses’ financial circumstances. This includes the spouses’ income, assets, employability, and other factors. If either spouse has recently lost his or her job, the judge will want to know about the circumstances that led to the job loss. A judge is much more likely to be sympathetic when the job loss was the result of widespread layoffs or a person was otherwise not at fault for losing his or her job. However, if a spouse has lost his or her job because he or she quit or was fired for misconduct, the judge will be much less sympathetic.

Financial Consequences During Divorce Proceedings

In Illinois, a higher-earning spouse may be required to pay child support and/or spousal maintenance. If you have lost your job, but the loss was not your fault, it is possible that you will qualify for a reduced child support or spousal maintenance obligation. Most likely, if you show that you are sincerely working at becoming employed, you will be granted reduced payments until you can regain employment. However, if the job loss was your fault, you may be held to the same level of financial responsibility as you would be if you still had your job. Divorcing spouses who are negotiating a special financial agreement due to an unexpected job loss may find that mediation or collaborative law allows them to work out an arrangement without the need for court litigation.

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Wheaton family law attorney for termination of parental rightsIllinois courts presume that it is in a child’s best interests to have both parents involved in their life. However, it takes a great deal of responsibility and attention to adequately care for a child. If a parent cannot satisfactorily provide for a child’s needs, or if spending time with the parent may put the child in danger, the parent may be considered “unfit.” When a parent is declared unfit, the courts no longer presume that it is in the child’s best interests to spend time with that parent. When addressing family law issues, the parties involved will want to understand how parental fitness laws may affect the outcome of their case.

Illinois Law Regarding Parental Fitness

The issue of parental fitness is often explored during adoption. Typically, consent from both biological parents is required for an adoption to occur. However, if a parent is found to be unfit by “clear and convincing evidence,” the parent’s parental rights may be terminated. The adoption may then be permitted even without that parent’s consent. An unfit parent is typically defined as a parent who does not have the child’s best interests at heart. In Illinois, parental rights can only be terminated through a juvenile case initiated by the state or in conjunction with the Adoption Act. During a parental fitness hearing, the burden of proof is on the party claiming that the parent is unfit.

The following issues are often used as grounds to establish that a parent is unfit in Illinois:

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