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Wheaton, IL 60189
The Stogsdill Law Firm, P.C.
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Wheaton, IL family law attorney for Safe Haven Law adoptionBeing a parent is one of the greatest responsibilities in the world. Parents who worry about their ability to take on this tremendous responsibility may make the decision to relinquish their parental rights and place their children for adoption. Many parents choose to do this because they realize that financial problems, addictions, or other concerns will prevent them from giving their child the life he or she deserves. However, some parents are not in a position to go through the traditional methods of adoption, and they may choose to take advantage of Illinois’ “Safe Haven Law.” If you are considering adopting a child in Illinois, you may want to learn about this law and how it can affect your adoption.  

The Illinois Abandoned Newborn Infant Protection Act

Making the decision to give up an infant is one of the hardest things a person can do. Parents may not only mourn the loss of their child, they may also fear retribution for giving the infant up for adoption. Sometimes, a mother chooses to relinquish her parental rights at the hospital immediately after the infant is born. Other times, a mother cannot or will not place the baby for adoption in the usual manner. 

In order to allow parents to relinquish infants safely and without fear of prosecution, Illinois passed the Illinois Abandoned Newborn Infant Protection Act, which is nicknamed the “Safe Haven Law.” This law allows parents to relinquish their babies at police stations, fire departments, and emergency medical facilities. The purpose of the law is to prevent infants from being dangerously abandoned in unsafe places. It allows parents to relinquish infants anonymously, without facing criminal charges for child abandonment.

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DuPage County property division lawyer for hidden assetsWhen two people join their lives in marriage, “yours” and “mine” become “ours.” According to Illinois law, spouses have the right to an equitable division of marital assets during divorce. Any property that was accumulated during the marriage by either spouse is part of the marital estate and subject to division. This property may include household items, jewelry, vehicles, and other physical property, as well as retirement accounts, investments, business interests, and other complex assets. Spouses who do not want to share the marital estate fairly may try to manipulate the asset division process during divorce by hiding assets or property. Some of the most common methods of concealing assets include:

Underreporting Income and Business Revenue

Divorcing spouses in Illinois are required to fill out a financial affidavit that lists their gross income, expenses, debts, assets, health insurance information, and other financial data. One of the easiest ways to hide assets during a divorce is for a spouse to simply lie about his or her finances. Spouses may fail to disclose bank accounts and funds or undervalue the worth of their business, investments, or other assets. Business owners may use cash transactions, omit financial transactions from business records, delay the receipt of client payments, create fake expenses and debts, pre-pay vendors, or take other actions to make a business appear less successful than it really is.

Temporarily Transferring Assets to Another Party

Some spouses may attempt to reduce their net worth prior to divorce by transferring assets to other people or organizations. For example, they may lend cash to friends or family members with the understanding that the person will return the money after the divorce is finalized. They may also use the IRS as a means of temporarily reducing their assets. A spouse may intentionally overpay his or her taxes knowing that the IRS will refund the overpayment through his or her tax return. Expensive items like art, antiques, or jewelry may also be used to artificially lower a spouse’s net worth. A spouse may buy an expensive, hard-to-value item and then report the item’s value as much lower than it actually is on their financial affidavit. After the divorce, he or she will intend to sell the item and recover the money.

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Wheaton, IL fathers’ rights attorneyIf you recently found out that your current or former dating partner is pregnant, you may have questions about your legal rights. You may wonder if you have the same rights to your child as the child’s mother or what you need to do to obtain these rights. You may also have questions about how child custody and parenting time will be divided once the child is born. In Illinois, fathers have the same rights as mothers. However, there are certain steps you will need to take in order to establish these important rights.

Paternity Laws in Illinois

When a married couple has a child, the law automatically assumes that the husband of the woman giving birth is the child’s father. He does not need to take additional steps to establish his paternity. However, the same is not true for unmarried fathers. To establish legal parentage of your child, you and the child’s mother will need to sign a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (VAP) form. This form is typically available at the hospital where the child is born, or it may be obtained through the Illinois Healthcare and Family Services department or your local county clerk. If there is a question as to your biological relationship to the child, you may need to take a DNA test before you can establish paternity.

Parental Responsibilities and Parenting Time

Once you have established paternity of your child, you will have the right to request visitation, technically called parenting time, with your child. If you and your child’s other parent are able to reach an agreement about parental responsibilities and parenting time, you will describe these decisions in your “parenting plan.” The decisions you make in your parenting plan become an official court order that both parents must abide by. If you cannot reach an agreement, the court will determine a parenting plan on your behalf. 

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DuPage County high conflict divorce attorneyDivorce can bring out the worst in people. If you are contemplating divorce or have already decided to end your marriage, you may have concerns about your ex making false accusations against you. Some people make up lies about their spouse during divorce out of bitterness and spite. Even if the accusations are not founded in reality, they have the potential to cause significant problems for the accused spouse. If your spouse has accused you of abuse, violence, hiding assets, or other forms of wrongdoing, it is important to work with an experienced divorce lawyer.

Keep a Detailed Record of Your Actions and the Accusations

One of the best ways to help your lawyer prove that your soon-to-be ex-spouse is lying about your alleged abuse or other misconduct is to gather evidence. Keep records of any text messages, voicemails, or emails that your spouse sends you. Make sure to also log or write down your own actions. You may be able to use this information to prove that your spouse’s claims are untrue. For example, if your spouse accuses you of harming him or her on a certain date, you may be able to produce evidence that shows that you were out of town on this particular date. Demonstrating inconsistencies in your spouse’s claims will weaken his or her credibility and help you defend yourself against the false accusations.

Do Not Confront Your Spouse, and Comply With Any Protection Orders

One of the worst things you can do when you are being accused of abuse or harassment is to confront your accuser. Your spouse may use this confrontation as an excuse to make claims of further harassment, intimidation, or abuse, or they may attempt to bait you into a heated argument and claim that this shows that you are violent or unstable. 

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Wheaton child support lawyerWhen married parents get divorced, or unmarried parents split up, one parent may be required to pay child support. The purpose of child support payments is to help the parent with the majority of parenting time pay for the costs associated with the child’s housing, nutrition, clothing, and other needs. Child support also helps ensure that a child with unmarried or divorced parents enjoys a standard of living that is similar to what he or she would have received if his or her parents were still married. However, child support can also be a significant expense for the paying or “obligor” parent – especially when the parent has more than one child support obligation.

Child Support Considerations for Parents with Multiple Families

If you are a parent who is already paying child support, and you are considering divorce, you may have questions about how the child support you currently pay will affect your new obligations. You may wonder if you will be required to pay child support to both families, and if so, how you will afford multiple obligations. Child support payment amounts are typically calculated using a statutory formula described in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA). The amount that a parent is asked to pay is determined through the “Income Shares” calculation method. The Income Shares model involves four main steps:

  • Each parent’s net income or “take home pay” is determined by subtracting certain expenses from the parent’s gross income. Expenses such as income tax, health insurance, child support obligations, and spousal support obligations are subtracted from the parent’s income for the purposes of child support calculations. This means that the amount you pay in child support for a second obligation takes into consideration the amount of child support that you are already paying.

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