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DuPage County divorce lawyer for stalking and harassmentDivorce can sometimes bring out the worst in people. In some cases, a resentful spouse may resort to stalking or harassing their spouse in an attempt to get their attention or intimidate them into meeting divorce-related demands. Stalking can include repeatedly showing up at the spouse’s home, school, or workplace, or it may involve repeatedly contacting the spouse over the phone or via text messages, email, or social media. Whether you have been a victim of abuse, stalking, or another form of domestic violence, you should know that you have several options under Illinois law that can help keep you and your loved ones safe.  

What Constitutes Stalking?

Stalking is typically defined as knowingly and repeatedly harassing another person with the intent to cause him or her harm or fear of being harmed. This may include following the victim from place to place, remaining outside the victim’s home for long periods of time, or showing up at places that the victim is likely to be with the intent of scaring him or her. Stalking may also include contacting or monitoring someone through a smartphone, computer, GPS system, or another electronic device. This so-called “cyberstalking” can be just as emotionally distressing as physical harassment. Some stalking victims may worry that they are overreacting to their spouse’s behavior. However, it is always better to be safe rather than sorry. If your spouse’s actions make you fear for your safety or the safety of your children, family members, or pets, you need to take action right away.

Obtaining an Order of Protection

Orders of protection, which are sometimes called restraining orders, are legally enforceable court orders that prohibit someone from harassing or abusing another person. An Emergency Order of Protection can often be obtained immediately if a person fears for their safety. These orders may include several different provisions, including but not limited to:

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DuPage County adoption lawyer termination of parental rightsDeciding to adopt a child can be one of the most rewarding decisions a person ever makes. Unfortunately, the legal process of adopting a child can often be very complicated. Even if the adoptive parents take every step possible to help the adoption proceed smoothly, it is possible that the adoption may be contested or disputed by another party. If you are planning to adopt a child, and you are concerned that the child’s biological parent or another party may contest the adoption, contact a lawyer experienced in adoption issues as soon as possible.

Common Issues That Lead to Contested Adoptions

There are several reasons that an adoption may be contested. In some cases, a biological parent may contest an adoption because they do not want to give up their parental rights. For example, if the child’s biological mother never told the father that she had a child, it is possible that the father may not have even known about the child’s existence. If a biological father can show that he is willing and able to assume parental responsibilities, it is possible that the adoption process will be terminated. However, if a father knew that he had a child but chose to remain completely uninvolved in the child’s life, he may not be granted any parental rights, and the adoption may continue. A father may also lose the right to contest an adoption if he does not contact the child for more than one year or provide child support to address the child’s needs. An adoption may also be contested if a biological parent disagrees with a stepparent adoption or if a birth father disagrees with a mother’s decision to place an infant up for adoption.

Contested Adoption Hearings

If an adoption is contested, the parties seeking the adoption and the party contesting the adoption must attend a consent hearing. During the hearing, a judge will evaluate evidence and hear arguments from both sides. A parent who is contesting an adoption may use receipts, documents, emails, text messages, or other evidence to argue that he or she was in fact involved in the child’s upbringing and should be granted parental rights. The outcome of the hearing may result in the contesting party gaining parental rights and halting the adoption, or the contesting party may be denied parental rights, and the adoption process may be permitted to continue. In other cases, the judge may order a “best interests” hearing to determine what parenting arrangement is in the child’s best interests.

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Wheaton, IL Child Support LawyerChild support may be ordered to ensure that unmarried or divorcing parents share in the costs of raising their children. Typically, the parent with the majority of parenting time is the recipient of child support paid by the parent with less parenting time. Child support can be an essential resource for providing for children’s needs, but it can also be a heavy financial burden on the paying parent. This may be especially true if the paying parent has more than one child support obligation. If you share children with your current spouse and are planning to get a divorce, you may wonder how previous child support obligations will influence any additional child support determinations.

How Much Will My Child Support Payment Be?

Along with many other family law modifications, substantial changes to the way Illinois courts calculate child support were instituted in 2017. Child support is no longer simply a percentage of the obligor, or paying parent’s, income. Child support orders entered under the updated law are calculated using the Income Shares Model, which takes both parents’ income and other factors into account. Child support payments are now calculated using the following steps:

  • Both parents’ net income is combined in order to establish the overall financial resources available to the child.

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DuPage County child support attorneyIn July of 2017, Illinois enacted major changes to the way child support is calculated. Previous to this change, child support obligations were calculated by applying a percentage based on the number of children requiring support to the obligor parent’s income. For example, if you had one child, you would pay 20 percent of your net income in child support, and if you had two children, you would pay 28 percent of your income. Some parents are still subject to child support orders created under the old law, but any new child support arrangements will be calculated using the “Income Shares” method. Illinois child support orders now take both parents’ net incomes and amount of parenting time into consideration. If you are a parent who has children with more than one person, you may wonder how the court will determine a child support arrangement that is achievable with regard to your financial resources while still providing for all of your children’s needs.

Income Shares Child Support Guidelines

The Income Shares model for child support calculation involves the following steps:

  • Both parents’ net income is added together to determine their combined net income. This combined amount represents the financial resources that would be available to the child if the parents were married.

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Wheaton divorce lawyer for child support enforcement and modificationChild support is intended to help unmarried or divorced parents share the cost of raising a child. Illinois takes child support orders very seriously. When a child support order is entered by the court, the payments are not optional. If you do not pay court-ordered child support, you can face serious penalties, which may include criminal charges. If you cannot afford your current child support obligation, you may be able to request a modification from the court.

Consequences of Child Support Nonpayment in Illinois

In Illinois, child support enforcement is managed by the Department of Healthcare and Family Services' (DHFS) Division of Child Support. Through the Child Support Enforcement Program, the DHFS monitors child support payments and ensures that child support orders are being followed. When a recipient parent is not receiving court-ordered child support payments, he or she may contact the DHFS for help. Once the DHFS is aware of the problem, the agency will take steps to collect the unpaid child support. If the non-paying parent is receiving public assistance, the DHFS can take funds directly from the parent’s public assistance benefits.

If you fail to pay child support, your wages may be garnished. This means money will be taken directly out of your paycheck. In addition, your tax returns may be intercepted, or your bank account may be seized. If you are more than 90 days behind on your child support, your driver’s license or any professional licenses that you have can be suspended. If you owe more than $5,000 of past-due child support, or if you have not paid in six months or more, you may even be charged with a criminal offense.

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