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Recent Blog Posts

How Do the New Illinois Child Custody Laws Affect Me?

 Posted on September 02, 2015 in Family Law

How Do the New Illinois Child Custody Laws Affect Me?, DuPage County family law attorneys, custody law in IllinoisThe 2016 Illinois child custody laws could affect your family situation if you do not have a preexisting parenting agreement. Under Senate Bill 57, rather than making custody determinations, the court makes decisions based on "allocation of parental responsibilities." One or both parents are chosen to be responsible for a child's education, health, religion, and extracurricular activities.

The 2016 Illinois child custody laws could affect your family situation if you do not have a preexisting parenting agreement. Under Senate Bill 57, rather than making custody determinations, the court makes decisions based on "allocation of parental responsibilities." One or both parents are chosen to be responsible for a child's education, health, religion, and extracurricular activities.

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Changes to Parental Relocation in Illinois

 Posted on August 28, 2015 in Child Custody

parental relocation, DuPage County family law attorneyMany of the major changes to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) coming from Senate Bill 57 have to do with the concept of child custody, which has now been reframed as the concept of "parental responsibility." Rather than making custody determinations, beginning January 1, 2016, when the law goes into effect, the court will make allocations regarding decision-making responsibility and parenting time. In addition, the court's role with regard to parental relocation will also change.

Parental Relocation Under Current Law

The current version of the IMDMA requires custodial parents, or parents with whom shared children live, to obtain permission from the court in order to move outside of Illinois. In order to get permission from the court, or an "Order of Removal," the moving parent must prove that the move is in the best interests of the child.

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Who is Eligible to Adopt?

 Posted on August 24, 2015 in Family Law

For many people, the most meaningful and exciting time in their life is when they are having a child. Soon-to-be parents spend time choosing their child's name, getting a nursery ready, reading parenting books, and sharing the news with friends and family. For those who grow their family through adoption, before they begin to take all of the steps to get ready for their child, they have to navigate complex adoption processes and legal proceedings.

Eligibility and Licensing

People going through the adoption process with an adoption agency are required to meet the standards for receiving a foster home license. Those standards require potential adopters, or foster parents, to be at least 21 years old, be able to financially manage the addition of a child or children to the family, and have no criminal history that will prevent licensure. There are no income requirements and no requirements regarding any other children in the home (potential adopters may have no children or they may have other biological or adopted children). There is no requirement that adopters be married - eligible adopters can be single, married, divorced, or separated. There is also no limitation based on sex, gender, or sexual orientation.

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Who Will Pay for College?

 Posted on August 19, 2015 in Child Support

Trying to prepare for financial obligations after a divorce can be stressful. Understanding a new financial landscape can be difficult when trying to assess bills or expenses, such as rent, utilities, car payments, or health care. Preparing for that financial change can be even more challenging when a child is about to start college. College can be a major expense; according to The College Board, the average tuition at a private four-year college is $31,231 a year-and that figure does not include additional costs such as housing, food, and books. While any family preparing to send a child to college is faced with the same financial burden, divorced parents may wonder who is responsible for the cost of college.

Financial Obligations to Children

When people consider providing financial support for children after divorce, the first thing that often comes to mind is child support. According to Illinois law, child support is generally available until a child reaches the age of 18 (or the age of 19 if he or she is still attending high school) and is designed to contribute to the basic needs of the child, including food, shelter, and health care. Illinois law also allows for continued child support for children over the age of 18 or 19 if they are mentally or physically disabled.

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Mediation and Divorce in Illinois

 Posted on August 16, 2015 in Mediation

The prospect of going through a divorce can be intimidating and stressful. In addition to adjusting to the change in the relationship, many people are concerned about going through contentious and unpleasant proceedings - particularly if there are children involved. One option for divorcing parties who want to avoid an adversarial courtroom battle is to participate in mediation.

What is Mediation and How Does it Work?

Mediation is a type of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) technique that allows parties to a legal issue, including family law issues such as divorce, to address that legal issue outside of a courtroom. The process is similar to a negotiation - where each party and their attorneys tries to reach an agreement. However, in a mediation, a neutral third-party facilitates the negotiation and works with each side to resolve any areas of disagreement. A mediator's role, as a neutral party, is to work with each side to find common ground and creative solutions. In addition, the mediator tries to work with each party to address the root issue of any disagreements and to relay and communicate information between the parties in a productive way.

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Spousal Maintenance and Child Support Law Changes

 Posted on August 14, 2015 in Child Custody

Senate Bill 57, which was recently passed by the Illinois legislature and signed by the governor, will make significant adjustments to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) beginning January 1 of next year. In addition to the changes to statutes governing divorce and custody, there have been notable changes to statutes governing support - including both child support and spousal support, or spousal maintenance.

Spousal Maintenance

Senate Bill 57 makes certain changes to the factors that are to be used by the court when determining whether an award of spousal maintenance is appropriate in a divorce action. The bill now requires the court to consider any financial obligations arising out of the divorce, the realistic present and future earning capacity of each party and any impairment of that earning capacity, parental responsibility arrangements, the age, health, station, occupation, amount and sources of income, vocational skills, employability, estate, liabilities, and needs of each party, as well as all sources of public and private income.

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What Is Legal Separation?

 Posted on August 12, 2015 in Divorce

Illinois legal separation lawyers, divorce attorneysEnding a marriage can be a difficult and overwhelming decision. People may be thinking about divorce as an option, but may be unsure, have personal or financial concerns, or may not be ready to file for divorce. Those who are not ready to file for divorce, but who are seeking to take some steps towards separating from their spouse, may be interested in a legal separation.

Legal Separation or Divorce?

In a divorce, the marriage is legally over. Both parties are free to marry other people. In a legal separation, however, the parties are still married. In both cases, courts can make determinations about child custody and visitation, child support, and spousal maintenance. However, courts generally only divide property in divorce.

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Senate Bill 57: Changes to Divorce Law in Illinois

 Posted on August 07, 2015 in Divorce

changes to Illinois divorce law, DuPage County divorce lawyersOn January 1, 2016, changes to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), which governs marriage, divorce, custody, and support in Illinois, will take effect. Major changes of the IMDMA update include grounds for divorce and the length of time parties need to wait before obtaining a divorce.

Grounds for Divorce

Senate Bill 57 eliminates all fault-based grounds for divorce. Parties will no longer be able to file for divorce based on impotence or infertility, adultery, desertion or willful absence, bigamy, drunkenness, drug addiction, extreme physical or mental cruelty, felony conviction, or transmission of a sexually transmitted disease. Beginning next year, only no-fault divorce is available.

While no-fault divorce had been identified as constituting the existence of "irreconcilable differences," the new law has reframed the no-fault ground as an "irretrievable breakdown of the marriage." Current law (which expires at the end of 2015) required parties to show that they were living separate and apart for at least two years, irreconcilable differences, efforts at reconciliation have failed, and further attempts to reconcile would be impracticable and not in the best interests of the family.

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What Is a Prenuptial Agreement?

 Posted on August 05, 2015 in Family Law

There are many exciting aspects of planning for a marriage. After getting engaged, many people throw parties - such as engagement parties or bridal showers, and focus on planning their wedding. They shop for dresses, meet with vendors, choose a venue, register for gifts and plan their honeymoon. Those who are not already living together before the wedding make plans to move-sometimes to a new home-for after the wedding. However, one thing that many couples avoid including in their planning is a prenuptial agreement.

Defining a Prenuptial Agreement

A prenuptial agreement is an agreement made between two parties before marriage that sets out the couple's rights and obligations should the marriage end by separation or divorce. The agreement can also include testamentary provisions - and spell out how property and assets should be distributed upon one or both parties' death.

parties or bridal showers, and focus on planning their wedding. They shop for dresses, meet with vendors, choose a venue, register for gifts and plan their honeymoon. Those who are not already living together before the wedding make plans to move-sometimes to a new home-for after the wedding. However, one thing that many couples avoid including in their planning is a prenuptial agreement.

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Significant Changes to Family Law in Illinois

 Posted on July 31, 2015 in Family Law

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), which governs marriage, divorce, custody, and support in Illinois, is undergoing a major overhaul. Senate Bill 57, which was passed on May 31 and approved by the governor on July 21 of this year, will go into effect on January 1, 2016 and has major implications for many aspects of Illinois family law.

"Heart Balm" Action Implications

Senate Bill 57 eliminates a category of civil actions known as "heart balm" actions, due to the idea that the person bringing the lawsuit is doing so due to a broken heart. Plaintiffs will no longer be able to bring actions for alienation of affection (an action against a third party, such as a spouse's lover or family member, for causing the breakdown of the marriage), breach of promise to marry (an action against a former partner for a broken engagement), or "criminal conversion" (an action for adultery). The Illinois Bar Law Journal noted in their findings that the general assembly pointed to heart balm action as based on antiquated notions of gender roles, and used to harass rather than to mend broken hearts.

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