1770 Park Street, Suite 205, Naperville IL 60563

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Youtube
Search

Call Today for a Free Consultation

Call Us630-364-4046

Naperville | Wheaton | St. Charles

Recent blog posts

Naperville guardian ad litem lawyerUnfortunately, divorces do not often involve much amicability, especially on issues related to children. Divorcing parents may not see eye to eye on what is best for a child of the marriage. This can result in major disagreements that do not have a clear solution.

During a divorce, a child’s best interests can be put on the back burner or forgotten altogether. In order to avoid this, a judge may appoint a guardian ad litem (GAL) to the case to help understand the situation and determine what solutions would be in the child’s best interest.

What is a GAL?

A GAL is an attorney who has been trained and certified to handle child-related issues. A GAL can be appointed in any case that involves child support, child custody, allocation of parental responsibilities, parenting time, parental relocations or the general welfare of a child. Though the GAL is a licensed attorney, he or she does not act as an attorney for either side. Rather, the GAL’s role is to examine the circumstances of the case and act as an advocate for the child’s best interests.

...

Wheaton adoption lawyerIn the state of Illinois, all types of adoptions require that a home study be done at some point during the adoption process. It does not matter whether you adopt a child from a private agency or through the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) -- everyone who is a prospective adoptive parent must complete a home study. The home study process can be rather long, but it allows agencies to evaluate the prospective family’s capabilities and to determine whether they are suitable to adopt a child. The home study process also allows families time to become educated and prepare for adoption.

Home Study Components

While some people may think a home study is simply just a visit to their home from a social worker, it is actually much more involved. In fact, the home study process consists of a series of steps and requirements.

Background Check

One of the first steps in the home study process is completing and passing a background check. All adult members of the household are required to consent to a background check and must pass it for you to be eligible to adopt. If there are children between the ages of 13 and 17 living in the household, they must allow a check of the child abuse and neglect registry as well as the child sex offender registry.

...

Naperville spousal support lawyerThough modern households often have two working parents, it is still not uncommon for one parent to stay home and take care of the children. Stay-at-home parents face a unique set of worries with it comes to divorce. If you are a stay-at-home parent, your spouse may have provided you with a sense of stability, but as that disappears, you are likely facing a great deal of uncertainty. Now, you may find yourself worrying about things you never thought you would have to worry about, like where you and your children will live and how you will be able to provide for your children.

Fortunately, there are ways you can address these issues when going through your divorce. Specific issues that other divorcing parents may not have to deal with, such as spousal maintenance, suddenly become extremely important to your divorce case. Even issues that most divorcing couples have to deal with, such as property division and child support, can be different when one spouse was a stay-at-home parent. Here are a few tips that may help stay-at-home parents better navigate divorce:

1. Gather All of Your Important Documents

Before you begin with the divorce, you need to make sure you have an accurate picture of your financial situation. For some stay-at-home parents, finances are dealt with by their spouse, and they might not even have direct access to the family’s financial information. Understanding your financial picture will ensure that you get everything you need and deserve out of your divorce. You will need to gather specific types of documents and provide copies to your attorney. You will want to make sure that you have located:

...

Wheaton paternity lawyerThe number of babies born to unwed mothers has dramatically increased in the past 50 years or so. According to the Pew Research Center, around 5 percent of births in 1960 were to unmarried women. Today, the number of babies born to unmarried mothers is somewhere around 40 percent. While the acceptance of birth outside of marriage has grown, many mothers now find that they must go about other ways of establishing paternity for their children.

In the state of Illinois, paternity can be established in one of four ways: through assumed paternity, through a signed and completed Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity, through an Administrative Paternity Order or through an Order of Paternity.

Assumed Paternity

One of the most common ways of establishing paternity is through assumed paternity. The state of Illinois assumes that when a child is born to a married mother, the husband is the father of the child. If the mother was married or in a civil union when the child was born or within 300 days before the child was born, the husband is legally presumed to be the father of the child. If the mother was not married during that time, she must go about establishing paternity through one of the other ways.

...

DuPage County Parenting plan attorneyGetting a divorce when you have children is much different than getting a divorce when you do not have children. Couples who divorce and have children often face a more complicated and stressful situation than couples who do not have children. With the addition of children, there are many different things that must be addressed before you can finalize your divorce. In the state of Illinois, couples are required to have a parenting plan in place before their divorce can be completed. A parenting plan is a document that details the agreement between the couple and outlines many of the issues and procedures relating to the children, including how parenting time will be allocated and how decision-making responsibilities will be handled.

Before you go to court about your parenting plan, you must first attend mediation. Illinois courts believe that families benefit from the use of mediation when issues need to be settled, but they also understand that mediation does not work for everyone. If you and your spouse cannot come to an agreement during mediation, you will have to take your case to court where a judge will make determinations about your case.

Components of a Parenting Plan

In your parenting plan, there are certain elements that must be present before the court will approve the plan. At a minimum, the parenting plan should contain information about:

...

Wheaton prenup lawyerWhen you see wedding bells in your near future, there are probably 101 things on your mind -- and a prenuptial agreement is not likely to be one of them. Though it can seem unromantic and it may feel like you do not trust your future marriage, a prenuptial agreement can be a hugely beneficial tool in the event that you and your spouse ever get divorced. Prenuptial agreements give you freedoms from certain laws that you would not otherwise have. A prenuptial agreement is a legal document that allows you and your spouse to basically plan your divorce before it happens. Prenuptial agreements allow you to address issues such as property division, spousal maintenance and ownership of businesses or professional practices.

Prenuptial agreements are not just for the rich and famous -- they are useful for almost everyone. Here are a few reasons why you may want to consider getting a prenuptial agreement before you tie the knot:

1. One of You Has Been Married Before

If this is the second trip down the aisle for either you or your spouse, you should strongly consider getting a prenuptial agreement. A prior marriage means you are probably coming into this marriage with more property and you may have other obligations from your previous marriage, like child support. A prenuptial agreement can protect these obligations.

...

DuPage County parenting time lawyerWhen it comes to divorce cases and issues involving children, the Illinois court system places the needs and well-being of the children above all else -- including the parents. Child custody can be a contentious issue in divorce cases, but the job of the judge assigned to your case is to ensure that the child is safe, well cared for and loved, no matter the custody situation. Illinois courts understand that children do their best when both parents are present in their lives. The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act specifically states that “it is presumed that both parents are fit and the court shall not place any restrictions on parenting time.” A judge will, however, place restrictions on parenting time if he or she feels the child would be in danger by spending time with one or both parents.

Considering Parenting Time Restrictions

It is widely understood by most people that a child not only deserves to have both in his or her life, but that they also thrive when they form a relationship with both parents. In most divorce cases, there will be an equal or nearly-equal allocation of parenting time. Unless a parent petitions to have the other parent’s parenting time restricted or the court learns of a danger to the child, parenting time will not be restricted. Before any decisions are made, a hearing will be conducted to determine whether the child’s mental, emotional, physical or moral health would be in danger if he or she were to spend time with the parent.

Types of Parenting Time Restrictions

Once you have attended the hearing, the courts will determine whether a parenting time restriction is appropriate. The court will examine all aspects of each parent’s life, such as his or her living arrangements or work schedules. If the court finds any of these aspects to be questionable, then they may place restrictions on the type, duration or supervision of the parenting time. Restrictions on parenting time can include:

...

Wheaton property division attorneyOne of the most difficult issues that all couples have to face when they get a divorce is determining how they will divide the marital property. Most people think that property division only pertains to assets such as the family home, vehicles, cash and other household items, but all of a couple’s property needs to be divided during a divorce -- including assets and debts that are not necessarily tangible. Property division tends to become more difficult the longer a couple has been married because couples that have been together for many years have typically accumulated more together.

Marital and Non-marital Property

Before you go to court, you must first determine which property is actually subject to division. In Illinois, all marital property is subject to division and non-marital property is not. Marital property is any property or debt that was acquired by either spouse after the marriage. All other property is considered to be non-marital property.

Factors Used in Making Determinations

If you and your spouse, along with each of your attorneys cannot come to an agreement about marital property, a judge will assign the property to each spouse as he or she sees fit. There are certain factors a judge must take into consideration before he or she assigns the property. These factors include:

...

DuPage County Joint Simplified Dissolution of Marriage lawyerYou have had it up to your ears with your spouse, and your spouse is fed up with you. You both know that you want to end the marriage, but you both also know how stressful, long and drawn out divorces can become. You know you want something that is as quick and easy as possible. 

One option that you may have is to apply for a joint simplified dissolution of marriage. This type of divorce is expedited and can allow you and your spouse to complete a divorce much quicker than a traditional divorce. Importantly, there are certain requirements that couples must meet in order to qualify to use a joint simplified dissolution of marriage.

Requirements for a Simplified Divorce

Only certain couples qualify to file for a joint simplified divorce. According to Illinois law, the following requirements must be met before a couple can file for a simplified divorce:

...

Naperville prenup lawyerIn recent years, prenuptial agreements have been on the rise. What once was only for the rich and famous is now being utilized by people from all walks of life. The idea of a prenuptial agreement used to be taboo -- it was thought you should not be planning for your divorce before you are even married. Now, it is thought to be good planning to have a prenuptial agreement. 

Young people are waiting longer to get married and are older than previous generations when they get married for the first time. This means that people are usually bringing more assets and debt into marriages and using prenuptial agreements to safeguard their finances. Prenuptial agreements are on the rise, but they may not be right for everyone. 

Here are a few situations in which you should consider getting a prenuptial agreement:

...

DuPage County parenting time lawyerDivorce is never easy for anyone, but it can be particularly stressful when a couple has children and they intend to divorce. With children comes a slew of extra issues and arrangements you must agree upon before you can finalize your divorce.

Illinois courts require that you and your spouse have a parenting plan filed with the court before you can finalize your divorce to your spouse. A parenting plan is a document that outlines both significant decision-making responsibilities and parenting time (which is now the term used for child custody). Coming to an agreement on child-related issues can be stressful and sometimes a judge must step in to settle disagreements.

Factors for Consideration

Before a judge steps in and begins allocating parenting time, the parents are encouraged to come up with a parenting time plan on their own. This both increases the likelihood that both parents will stick to the plan, but it also helps foster cooperation and communication between the parents. 

...

Naperville step-parent adoption lawyerThe most common form of adoption in Illinois is a related adoption, meaning the adoptive parent is related in some way to the child. Specifically, step-parent adoption is very common in the United States and in Illinois. Step-parent adoptions take place when either the child’s biological mother or father marries someone other than the child’s other biological parent and that person wants to assume legal rights and responsibility of the child. Often, step-parent adoptions take place because they allow for the formal declaration of a parent-child relationship between the step-parent and the child. In addition, the step-parent may pursue an adoption of the child because the child’s other biological parent is not involved in the child’s life.

Things You Should Know Before You Pursue Step-Parent Adoption

In certain ways, it can be a lot easier to adopt a child that is related to you than a child who is unrelated. Related adoptions go through a different process than unrelated adoptions, but related adoptions can still be difficult. 

Before you adopt a step-child, you should consider the following factors:

...

DuPage County divorce attorneyOne of the things that holds back many couples from divorcing is the children. Many parents worry and wonder what kind of effects the divorce would have on their children, even if they know that a divorce would be best for their personal wellbeing. In reality, many parents do not know that staying in an unhappy marriage can actually be more detrimental to a child’s wellbeing than divorce. Here are a few ways as to how staying in an unhappy marriage could harm your children:

Chronic Stress and Tension

If you are feeling the stress at home, then your children probably are too. Constant fighting or bickering can mean chronic tension in the home and that is not good for anyone. Your children will feel it and will feel uneasy in their own home.

Low Self-Esteem

Children absorb everything around them. When their surroundings are full of fighting and rejection, children tend to internalize that, which turns into low self-esteem. Constantly being at odds with your spouse can cause your child to feel uncertain and rejected.

...

Wheaton asset division attorneyIf you own a business or professional practice, chances are that is one of your most valuable assets. It takes endless work and a lot of dedication to grow a business and have it become successful. The last thing you want is to have half of it taken away when you get a divorce. Everything you and your spouse have together must be divided before you can finalize your divorce -- and that can include businesses and professional practices. Do not worry -- there are things you can do to make sure your business remains in your possession. Here are five ways you can protect your business during your divorce:

1. Get a Fair Valuation

The first step you should take before you begin dividing up your assets is to get a valuation of your business, so you know what it is worth. Instead of estimating what your business is worth, you may opt to use a court-appointed evaluator who will look at multiple facets of your business to arrive at a valuation. Such aspects include your business records, the business’ goodwill, and business competition. Then, you can hire an outside professional to review the numbers just to make sure everything is square.

...

Posted on in Divorce

Wheaton divorce lawyerAny public activity is potential evidence in court proceedings, including your social media activity. Anything you choose to share or post can become a legally admitted court document in any court case, including your divorce. Although your short rant about your soon-to-be ex-spouse was temporarily stress-relieving -- not to mention the complete validation you felt when your friends and family members supported you through likes, loves, and comments -- you are less likely to experience the same satisfaction when it comes back to haunt you in the courtroom.

Try These Tips at Home

It is ill-advised to avoid social media entirely. Not only is social media an excellent way to grow and maintain the ever-important support system, but it is also a free source of unlimited information. Be on the lookout for posts regarding you or your ex’s behavior, and enlist a trusted friend or family member to help. Immediately address anything that could be potentially damaging to your case. Simultaneously, anything that could help should be brought to the attention of your attorney immediately. Here are some ways you should use social media to your advantage:

  • Watch what your friends and family say about you;
  • Make yourself look good by boosting your personality and good deeds;
  • Grow your emotional support team;
  • Post with caution; and
  • Gather information in your favor.

Avoid These Damaging Behaviors

First and foremost, whatever you do decide to post, leave it be. If you are caught deleting photos -- even if you later decide you did not like the way you look --  it can be depicted as removing evidence, an offense which can result in hefty fines for both you and your attorney. Not only that, but judges often assume that you are actively hiding negative details about yourself. Their assumption is legal and is known as adverse inference. Therefore, if there are pictures and messages, leave them there, but be extremely cautious about what you post. It is best to avoid these shares:

...

Naperville asset division divorce lawyerToday, nearly three million ex-spouses within the United States earn Social Security benefits from their former spouse's work records. If you or your ex have Social Security benefits and are officially divorced, you may want to know what rights you have under the law. Additionally, if you are considering divorce, you will want to understand what your spouse is likely to claim in the future. This information can directly impact the divorce judgment with regards to property division and support claims. Consider the following regulations:

Length of Marriage

According to the United States Social Security Administration, if you are divorced, but your marriage lasted at least ten years, an ex-spouse can receive benefits from another spouse’s record. An ex-spouse is still eligible even if the benefiting spouse has remarried. However, if the non-benefitting ex remarried, they can no longer make a claim, unless their new marriage ends, either by death, divorce, or annulment.

Qualifications

A divorced spouse has “divorced spouse benefits” equal to one-half of their spouse's retirement or disability benefits. An ex must meet the following qualifications:

...

Naperville child relocaiton lawyerIn many homes, a family may move away from relatives and friends to follow the course of one spouse's career. If, however, the marriage comes to an end, it is only natural that at least part of the family will wish to return home. Or, in another situation, a divorced parent may find another job that removes them from the location of their original family home. Circumstances change continuously, and there are laws designed to help determine the appropriate course of action for families who find themselves in relocation situations. Illinois relocation laws say:

Advanced Notice

When a parent chooses to relocate with a child, they must provide advance written notice to the other parent. This notice must include:

  • The intended moving date;
  • The intended new address;
  • Whether the move is permanent, and if not, it must consist of the length of stay; and
  • The notice must be given at least 60 days in advance, or as soon as the note becomes practical.

Is Notice Always Required?

Parental notice is not always required unless it includes a drastic change to the life of the child. Written notice becomes necessary if the moving parent is the one with whom the child resides most of the time, or if both parents share an equal amount of parenting time. Other considerations include:

...

Posted on in Family Law

Wheaton child support lawyerIn today’s job market, it is becoming increasingly necessary to have education beyond a high school diploma. Regardless of whether that means attending a trade school or earning a degree, the price of higher education continues to increase as a direct result of supply and demand economics. Not only do parents feel the pressure to ensure the best life for their children, but Illinois also puts additional pressure on parents to cover this demand by ordering parents to pay for undergraduate education.

The requirement leaves many divorced Illinois parents wondering, who is ultimately responsible for the bill?

Your Divorce Occurred in the Past

If your divorce occurred years ago when college planning was the last thing on your mind, it is not unusual to require a modification of terms. First, review the original divorce decree to see if it included any stipulations regarding higher education. This step must be completed well before the child begins schooling or acquires any education expenses. If the issue was on reserve to review at a later date, failing to discuss the decree until after cost accumulation may result in a denial of assistance for the current expenses.

...

Posted on in Uncategorized

Naperville DUI charges attorney Not only is driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol imperative to our safety and wellbeing, but it is also against Illinois state laws. The law clearly defines what constitutes driving under the influence, as well as the penalties of being found guilty of such violations. Due to the increased safety concern of impaired driving, the state legislature enacted strict DUI laws in conjunction with severe punishments.

A Brief Summary of Illinois State Law 625 ILCS 5/11-501

According to Illinois state law, it is illegal to drive or otherwise be in physical control of a vehicle when:

  • Your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) is .08 or higher;
  • You are unable to drive safely due to alcohol or another intoxicating substance;
  • You consumed any amount of any controlled substance; or
  • You have a THC concentration of 5 nanograms or more in your bloodstream.

Potential Penalties for First Offenders

If you are arrested for DUI, you will likely face administrative penalties that will directly affect your driving privileges. More sanctions are possible with potential criminal penalties if you are later found guilty in court. For first time offenders, DUI qualifies as a Class A misdemeanor, which has a potential sentence of:

...

Napervile divorce coach If you are struggling with thoughts of divorce, the divorce process, or recovering from a recent divorce, an experienced divorce coach can provide the support that you need. Separation brings with it an entire life change, not just for you, but also for your children and close family members. It is an adjustment for everyone involved. A divorce coach can help you to understand and work through a wide range of emotions and also provide support for your situation.

What a Divorce Coach is Not

Before we begin discussing what a divorce coach is, let us explain what it is not. A divorce coach is not a doctor, nor is coaching clinical in any way, as is therapy or counseling. Rather than delving into your past to uncover the underlying causes of your problem, or assuming the existence of a mental health concern, a divorce coach assists you with the divorce process, guiding you to attain your goals, work through decisions, and progress through transitions. A divorce coach will not provide a diagnosis of any kind; and although they can work in conjunction with an attorney, they are not a substitute for your attorney.

How a Divorce Coach Can Help

A divorce coach serves in a mentorship capacity throughout the divorce process, assisting clients in taming the emotional roller coaster. As humans, when we are overly sensitive, rational thought may not always be at the forefront, and our decision-making and communication skills suffer. With our emotions in check, the overall divorce process progresses smoother. Your coach can also help you understand what is coming next, assist you in evaluating your priorities, and advise on a compelling strategy so you can go into the meeting with the attorney cool, confident, and collected. You coach will work directly with your legal team to help guide you through the challenging process, and provide you with feedback along the way. Benefits of using a coach include:

...
Back to Top