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Naperville IL paternity attorneyOver the years, there have been many significant advancements in law and society when it comes to recognizing different family situations. For example, same-sex marriage was not only frowned upon but was illegal in many parts of the country for hundreds of years until a 2015 Supreme Court ruling. Unfortunately, there are also many ways that the laws still reflect traditional family structures. For example, Illinois generally presumes the father of any child born to a married mother to be the mother’s husband, though there are many situations in which this may not actually be the case. If a person wants to contest the paternity of a child, it is possible but it can be difficult, which is why hiring a paternity lawyer is recommended.

How Do I Contest Paternity If I Am Married?

When a child’s mother is married when the child is born or within 300 days before the child was born, the person the mother is or was married to is legally presumed to be the father of the child. Establishing paternity is a crucial step in solidifying a father’s rights to his child, but it also means that a legal father will be held to certain parental responsibilities, like child support, in the event of a divorce. If a man learns or suspects that he is not the biological father of his wife’s child and wishes to contest his paternity, he must take swift legal action, or the judge could choose to deny his petition.

How Can Paternity Be Disproven?

Once the father files the petition to contest paternity, the court will almost certainly order genetic testing to be completed. Genetic testing is an extremely accurate way of being able to tell whether or not a child is biologically related to an adult and usually only requires a simple cheek swab. Once the orders are given for genetic testing to be completed, the presumed father, mother, and child must all give samples so the DNA can be compared. If the results indicate that the man is not the child’s biological father, the legal parent-child relationship may be ruled to be nonexistent.

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DuPage County family law attorneysDivorcing with children means you must pay attention to and come to an agreement on a slew of additional issues other than your usual divorce topics. Making decisions and coming to a consensus on things such as parenting time agreements and child support payments with your spouse can seem like you are running a marathon, especially if you and your spouse are not on the friendliest of terms. In some cases, the child can even become stuck in the middle of the parental conflict and become a victim of parental alienation. This type of parenting behavior can be harmful to your child’s wellbeing, which is why you should take action at the first sign of alienation.

What is Parental Alienation?

In the simplest words, parental alienation occurs when one parent attempts to damage the relationship between the other parent and their child. The alienating parent will display unjustified negativity toward the alienated parent, with the intent that the child’s emotions will turn against that parent. Not only is parental alienation extremely stressful and emotionally painful for the alienated parent, it causes emotional distress for the child and is actually considered by most mental health professionals to be emotional abuse.

Signs and Symptoms of Parental Alienation

Parental alienation can have a devastating effect on children, especially if the emotional abuse goes on for too long. The best thing to do if you suspect your spouse is trying to turn your child against you is to look for the signs of parental alienation to prevent it from happening or stop it while it is in its early stages. Signs that parental alienation might be taking place include:

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Naperville child support lawyerWhen parents get divorced, there are many things that suddenly become a topic of concern for their children. Once you determine how you will split parenting time, you can then begin to calculate how much child support will be paid by whoever has the least amount of parenting time. In the state of Illinois, child support calculations take into account both parents’ incomes, the number of children, and the amount of parenting time that is allocated to each parent. Child support may also include a child’s medical expenses, which either or both parents can be responsible for. Child support calculations can be complicated and disputed, but an Illinois divorce lawyer can help you ensure your parenting plan addresses your child’s medical needs and his or her medical expenses.

Who Maintains the Child’s Health Insurance Coverage?

According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), a portion of the basic child support payment made each month to the custodial parent is intended to be used for basic medical expenses, such as cough medication if the child had a cold. However, the court does have the authority to order either or both parents to add the child to an existing policy held by either of the parents or purchase health insurance coverage for the child.

How Are Other Medical Expenses Managed?

It is rare that all of a person’s medical expenses will be completely covered by insurance. Typically, insurance companies pay for a portion of your healthcare services while you are responsible for the remainder of the cost. These costs can add up quickly, which is why it is important to denote how you will allocate those costs for your child in your parenting plan. If you and your spouse cannot come to an agreement, the court has the discretion to order either or both of you to pay for medical expenses beyond insurance coverage, dental care, orthodontic care, and vision care.

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Naperville family lawyerGetting a marriage annulled is not simply another way to end a marriage. While divorce terminates a marriage, an annulment declares that a marriage was never valid in the first place. In Illinois, an annulment is technically called a “Declaration of Invalidity of Marriage.” An individual cannot get their marriage annulled simply because they regret getting married. In order to qualify for an annulment, there must be some reason that the marriage is considered invalid. Fortunately, if a marriage does not qualify for an annulment, the couple will still be able to end their marriage through divorce.

Reasons That a Marriage May Be Considered Invalid

In many cases when we hear about a married couple getting an annulment, it is a religious annulment through their church. However, a civil annulment is only issued if a marriage is invalid for some reason. The justifications for annulment include:

  • One or both of the spouses did not meet the age requirements to be married according to Illinois law. Individuals aged 16 or 17 may marry, but they must have written permission from a parent, guardian, or Illinois judge.

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Wheaton family law attorney legal separation

The term “separation” holds a certain negative connotation when explained to family or friends. If you and your spouse decide that you both need some time apart, others may jump to conclusions and assume that this is your first step toward divorce. While this may be the case for some couples, experts have shown that time away from your spouse can often help you make a better decision about how you would like to proceed. Some may simply live separately while others may file for a legal separation agreement. There are benefits and drawbacks to separation, some of which may bring you closer while others could drive you apart. A knowledgeable family law attorney can help you navigate the legal process of separation.

How to Facilitate a Healthy Separation

Living apart from your spouse for a period of time does not have to end in divorce. In fact, many psychologists and marriage counselors actually encourage time apart if you are struggling to make things work. Once apart, you may recognize how much you miss and rely on your partner and decide to put in the additional time and effort to improve the relationship. In order to be productive while you are separated, here are a few things that experts suggest:

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