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Will County family law attorneyResearch shows that fathers’ involvement in their children’s lives is associated with better academic achievement, intellectual functioning, and social skills. Children with absent fathers are more likely to suffer from mental health problems like depression. Unfortunately, some fathers do not see their kids as often as they want because they are unaware of their rights. If you have established the paternity of your child and you are not a danger to your child’s well-being, you may be able to secure visitation or parenting time. However, you may need to take certain steps to assert this right.

You Must Establish Paternity First

If you are interested in spending more time with your children, you may need to take certain steps to establish your parental rights. Before you are given the right to parenting time with your child, you must establish paternity. “Paternity” refers to the legal relationship between a father and his child.

In Illinois, unwed fathers can establish paternity by signing a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity (VAP) form. However, you will need the mother’s signature on the VAP form as well. If she denies that you are the child’s father or will not cooperate, you may need to establish paternity through an administrative order or court order. You may need to submit to DNA testing to prove that you are the child’s father. A DNA sample is taken from your mouth using a cotton swab and sent to the laboratory for analysis. Once paternity has been established, you can have your name added to the child’s birth certificate and seek an order for parenting time.

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Will County family law attorneySadly, domestic violence and abuse are not uncommon in Illinois. Research shows that over 40 percent of women and over 25 percent of men in Illinois have suffered abuse from a spouse or romantic partner. No one should ever have to tolerate this type of mistreatment. Fortunately, there are legal protections available in Illinois that can help you escape an abusive relationship.

If you are like many people, you may be unsure of whether the mistreatment you have endured counts as abuse. You may wonder, “Is psychological manipulation considered abuse?” or “What if I do not have physical marks from the abuse?” Read on to learn what is considered abuse according to Illinois law and what you should do if you have been abused by an intimate partner.

Abuse is Not Always Physical

When you picture an abused husband, wife, boyfriend, or girlfriend, you may picture someone with a black eye or other physical injuries. While physical abuse like punching, slapping, pushing, and kicking certainly is abuse, this is not the only type of abuse a person can endure.

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Will County divorce lawyerKnowing when a marriage relationship is truly over can be nearly impossible. Many spouses waver between calling it quits and pursuing reconciliation for months or years before filing divorce paperwork. If your marriage is on rocky ground, you may be researching your options. Legal separation does not end a marriage, but it can offer important legal and financial protections. Read on to learn about the difference between divorce and legal separation and the advantages and disadvantages of each option.

Divorce Versus Legal Separation

When a married couple divorces, their marriage is terminated and spouses are free to remarry. Legal separation, on the other hand, preserves the marriage relationship. Legal separation is more than being physically separated or living apart. When a couple is legally separated, the marriage still exists, but the spouses are subject to binding court orders regarding divorce issues like property division and child support. This makes legal separation an attractive option for spouses who are not ready to divorce but still want to address these issues. (Property division in a legal separation differs from property division in a divorce in that the court only divides property if the spouses agree. Otherwise, asset division is reserved by default.)

You may also decide to file for legal separation instead of divorce if you have religious or personal beliefs that prohibit divorce. Some spouses seek separation instead of divorce so that they can continue to stay on the other spouse’s health insurance plan. Being separated but still legally married may also preserve your access to your spouse’s Social Security or pension benefits.

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Will County domestic violence lawyerDomestic violence and abuse are extremely prevalent in today’s society. However, we rarely talk about it. Some victims of domestic violence believe that the abuser will change or that the abuse was an isolated event. Others are unsure of whether the mistreatment they are suffering is even considered abuse under Illinois law. If you have been assaulted, abused, or threatened by a family member, current or ex romantic partner, or current or former housemate, read on to learn about Emergency Orders of Protection in Illinois.

Is The Situation “Bad Enough” for a Protection Order?

Men and women of all ages, ethnicities, and income levels can find themselves the victims of threats, intimidation, or violence. No one should ever be forced to tolerate a situation that makes them afraid for their safety or the safety of their children. However, many victims never get a protection order or restraining order because they assume that the mistreatment has not crossed the line into abuse.

It is important to remember that domestic violence often escalates. According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, abusive people often escalate their behavior when they feel like they are losing control over the victim. If you feel unsafe, do not wait to take action.

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Joliet divorce lawyerIn a marriage, “yours” and “mine” become “ours.” Unfortunately, undoing this financial entanglement during divorce is one of the most complicated parts of the divorce process. Property held by the marital estate, or marital property, is jointly held by both spouses. Marital property must be properly valued and divided between the spouses in a divorce. Separate property, on the other hand, belongs only to one spouse. Typically, property either spouse acquires during the marriage is marital property and property a spouse owned prior to the marriage is separate property. However, differentiating between marital property and separate property is not so straightforward when assets have been commingled or mixed.

Property Rights During a Marriage

Illinois divorce cases are subject to the rules of equitable distribution. Spouses are entitled to a fair share of the marital estate. Spouses may negotiate a property division agreement, or, if they are unable to agree, the court will determine how the marital property should be divided.

Separate or non-marital property is property that:

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