630-462-9500

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1776 S. Naperville Road, Building B, Suite 202,
Wheaton, IL 60189
The Stogsdill Law Firm, P.C.
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Wheaton, IL order of protection defense lawyerThe National Coalition Against Domestic Violence estimates that one in every four U.S. women and one in every seven U.S. men have experienced domestic violence. Physical abuse, psychological manipulation, financial exploitation, and other forms of abuse exist within many families. Sadly, some people choose to use false accusations of domestic violence or abuse in an attempt to influence family law cases. Whether it is a divorce, child custody dispute, or another family law matter, allegations of abuse will likely have a major impact on the outcome of the case. If you have been accused of abusing a family member, there are several actions you should take immediately.

Gather Evidence and Witnesses That Support Your Side of the Story

One of the first things you should do if you are accused of abuse is to obtain any evidence that can help prove that the accusations are untrue. This may include things like text messages, voicemails, emails, letters, and other correspondence. Also, start thinking of witnesses who can corroborate your side of the story during any legal proceedings. Witnesses who are willing to testify about your character can be extremely beneficial to your case.

Consider Requesting a Guardian Ad Litem

A guardian ad litem (GAL) is a lawyer who may be assigned to a family law case involving children. He or she does not represent either party in the dispute, but instead advocates for the children’s best interests. The GAL may visit each parent’s home and conduct interviews with parents, teachers, doctors, family members, and the children themselves in order to form an educated opinion about what is best for the children. The GAL then makes a recommendation to the court about what case outcome he or she thinks will protect the children’s best interests.

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DuPage County paternity attorneyUnmarried couples who have a child together face a significantly different set of challenges than married couples with children. When a mother who is married gives birth, her husband is automatically presumed to be the child’s father. However, when an unmarried mother gives birth, this presumption does not exist. The father will need to take steps to establish his legal relationship to the child, called establishing paternity. There are numerous benefits to establishing paternity for both the parents and the child. Read on to learn about these advantages and the steps that must be followed to establish paternity in Illinois.

Children Gain Many Valuable Resources When Paternity Is Established

Until the legal relationship between a child and father is confirmed, the child is not eligible for a number of important benefits. Once paternity has been established, the child will have advantages such as:

  • Inheritance rights

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DuPage County divorce attorney social media evidenceSocial media websites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have revolutionized the way we communicate with each other, so it may not surprise you that social media is increasingly influential in divorce cases. A large percentage of divorcing couples name Facebook or another social media website as a contributing factor in the breakdown of their marriage. Social media activity can also have a tremendous impact during divorce and child custody proceedings. If you are considering divorce, you should know that the pictures, videos, and text you post on social media has the potential to significantly impact your divorce.

Social Media Posts Can Reveal Financial Information

Many people do not realize it, but text messages, email messages, and social media posts are admissible evidence in divorce proceedings that may even be subpoenaed. One way that social media often influences divorce is when a spouse shares something that reveals information about his or her finances. Decisions about child support, spousal maintenance, and property division are all largely based on the spouses’ financial circumstances. If a spouse is underreporting his or her income or assets in an attempt to gain financial advantage during divorce, social media posts may expose this deception. For example, if a husband claims that he cannot afford spousal maintenance payments but then posts a picture of a luxury car he just purchased, this could be used as evidence that he is lying about his true financial situation.

Social Media Can Affect Parental Responsibilities and Parenting Time

Divorcing parents often have disagreements about child custody and visitation which is officially called the “allocation of parental responsibilities” and “parenting time” in Illinois. There are several ways that social media posts can influence child custody matters. For example, imagine a scenario in which a husband and wife each want to have the majority of parenting time with the children. If the wife posts pictures of herself going out to bars several nights of the week when she is allegedly caring for the children, this could call into question her desire and ability to take on a large amount of parental responsibility. It is important to remember that even if you have your social media account set to “private,” there are still many ways that your social media activity could be used against you during divorce proceedings. The best way to avoid negative consequences from social media during divorce may be to simply take a break from social media websites until the divorce is finalized.

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DuPage County family law attorney for grandparent visitationGrandparents can be some of the most important figures in a child’s life. If a child’s parents get divorced, grandparents may worry whether they will get to see their grandchildren as often. Divorcing parents have the right to reasonable amounts of parenting time, sometimes referred to as visitation, with their child. However, parents can lose this right if they are not fit to care for their child properly. In Illinois, grandparents will not always have the right to visitation with their grandchildren, although they may be able to petition for visitation if there are special circumstances. 

When Can Grandparents Be Granted Visitation?

If you are a grandparent, and you want to ensure that you will be allowed to spend time with your grandchild, you may wonder if the court can require a parent to allow their child to spend time with you. Illinois courts may grant visitation to grandparents if one or more of the following circumstances are present:

  • The parents are divorced, and at least one parent agrees to grandparent visitation

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Wheaton fathers' rights lawyerFor parents, the divorce process can be incredibly stressful. Not only are you divorcing from your parenting partner and former spouse, but you are facing a great deal of uncertainty about your living situation and the time you will spend with your children. For fathers, securing a favorable parenting agreement can often be difficult. Whether you are looking to negotiate a custody agreement with your former spouse or planning to fight for your parental rights in court, an experienced attorney can help you navigate your child custody case. 

Winning Custodial Rights

Due to recent alterations to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, divorced parents are no longer defined as “custodial” or “non-custodial.” Under the current law, specific parental responsibilities are allocated between parents through either an agreement between the parties or a court order. Below are some simple steps that every father should take as they look to secure substantial parental responsibilities:

  • Prove Financial Security: If disputes over child custody and parenting time must be resolved in court, it is important to demonstrate that you have the financial stability to provide for your children. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, custodial fathers are much less likely to fall under the poverty line than custodial mothers. In 2014, only 17.4% of custodial fathers were under the poverty line. Financial security can prove to a judge that you will be able to handle the responsibilities of independent parenting. 
  • Be Available: In order to secure significant parenting time and parental responsibilities, it is important for you to be as engaged as possible when it comes to your children. Fathers are often viewed as secondary to a child’s development, due to common misconceptions related to their commitment to parenthood. By consistently displaying interest in your child’s academic performance and extracurricular activities and being closely involved in their lives, you can improve your chances of a favorable child custody decision. 
  • Hire the Right Attorney: While custodial laws have changed here in the state of Illinois, the perception of a mother as the primary parent has not. In 2014, only one in every six custodial parents were fathers. Due to the difficulties that fathers can face in securing parental responsibilities, it is crucial to hire the right lawyer. As you select the attorney that will assist you throughout your divorce, you should inquire about their years of legal experience, their prior success in cases, and their ability to aggressively litigate in court. A knowledgeable divorce lawyer can make all the difference in protecting your parental rights. 

Contact a Wheaton Child Custody Lawyer 

As you navigate the divorce process, it is common to experience a range of emotions. Parents will have to grapple with the reality of separating from someone they once loved and the possibility of losing time spent with their children. Winning custody rights as a father can be especially difficult. At the Stogsdill Law Firm, P.C., we are dedicated to assisting you in developing a parenting plan that will ensure that you can remain a part of your child’s life. If your ex-spouse is unwilling to work cooperatively to develop a parenting plan that can work for both parties, we are prepared to aggressively represent you in court. To schedule an initial meeting with a skilled DuPage County divorce attorney, call us today at 630-462-9500. 

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