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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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Wheaton, IL divorce attorney for child issuesThe silver lining of a separation or divorce is the possibility of meeting someone new. If you have found love after a failed marriage, you are probably eager to start your new life with this person. If you are a parent, this may include introducing your new partner to your children. The introduction of a new romantic interest after a separation can sometimes be difficult for children to handle, so it is important to be intentional about this event.

Wait Until You Are Divorced

For many people, a marriage is over long before the couple actually finalizes their divorce. If you are separated or soon will be, you and your spouse may have been sleeping in separate bedrooms and living separate lives for months or even years. You may understandably be eager to start dating someone new. However, dating before your divorce is complete can exacerbate the stress, confusion, and uncertainty that your children experience during the divorce process. It can also have potential consequences on the outcome of your divorce. For example, if you spend money on gifts or vacations with your new partner, your spouse may accuse you of dissipating assets, which can affect property division during divorce.

Go Slowly and Do Not Force a Relationship

You are probably excited for your children to develop a relationship with your new partner. However, trying to rush a relationship can backfire. Sometimes, children may resent a new romantic interest in their parent’s life. They may feel threatened or assume that the new partner is trying to replace the other parent. Give your kids time to adjust to the new partner slowly. You may want to introduce the partner at a group gathering so there is less pressure on the children.

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DuPage County order of protection attorneyWhen parents divorce, they will typically share parental responsibilities and parenting time. A shared custody arrangement can be a great way to ensure that a child gets to spend time with both of his or her parents. Illinois courts typically favor parenting schedules that keep both parents in the child’s life.  However, there are some situations in which spending time with a parent may not be in the child’s best interests. If you are an unmarried or divorced parent, and you have concerns about your child’s safety during the other parent’s parenting time, you should know that you have the right to ask for his or her parenting time to be restricted.  

Take Steps to Protect Your Children’s Immediate Safety

If there is an immediate threat to your child’s well-being, do not hesitate to take action. Your child’s safety comes first. If you believe your child is in a situation in which they could be injured or killed, call 911. You may also take steps to obtain an order of protection that will prevent the other parent from committing any actions that could harm you or your child. 

If you need to violate your parenting plan to prevent your child from being harmed, you are allowed to do so. However, you will need to justify your actions to the court. Violating your parenting plan without a good reason can result in negative consequences, including restriction of your own parenting time. You will need to tell the court when and why you violated the parenting plan, so make sure that this is a last resort.

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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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