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Can You Kidnap Your Own Child in Illinois?When parents are in the middle of a battle over the allocation of parental responsibilities, the state of affairs can be intense. In some cases, the parenting dispute can result in one parent taking the child without the consent and knowledge of the other parent or the court. Despite their status as a legal parent, this still qualifies as “kidnapping” or “child abduction” and can turn a civil case into a criminal case with harsh consequences for the offending parent.

Child Abduction

Kidnapping is a felony in Illinois, and a conviction can result in fines, probation and jail time. An individual will be charged with child abduction when he/she does one of the following: 

  • Intentionally disobeys the terms of a legal court order granting sole or joint parental responsibility, care, or possession to another individual
  • Intentionally hides, withholds, or takes the child without the mother’s or legal guardian’s consent if the person is the assumed father but his paternity has not been legally confirmed or there have been no orders relating to parental responsibilities
  • Intentionally fails, refuses or hinders the return of the child to the legal guardian or parent
  • Knowingly conceals, detains, or removes the child in exchange for payment from an individual who does not have a legal right to the child
  • Intentionally entices or attempts to lure a child who is younger than 17 or traveling to or from school without the consent of the child's parent or legal guardian for other than a lawful and legal purposes

Orders of Protection

If you are worried that your parenting battle may result in the kidnapping of your child, you are able to ask the court to file an emergency order of protection. If you are able to prove an emergency situation may arise, the court will enter the order of protection before notifying the other individual. This is only temporary, but a permanent restraining order can be established as a result of a trial involving the accused party.

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How Criminal Charges Can Affect Your Right to Adopt a ChildAdopting a child is not something to take lightly. Whether you are a grandparent, brother, sister, step-brother, step-sister, aunt, uncle, or unrelated to the child you wish to adopt, once the adoption process is complete, you are responsible for making sound-of-mind decisions based on the best interest of the child.

However, if you have a criminal record, adopting a child may be more difficult, or in some circumstances, off the table.

What To Expect

According to the Illinois Adoption Act, the following is done during the adoption process:

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Reasons For Signing a Prenuptial AgreementPrenuptial agreements are not mandatory within an Illinois marriage, but any engaged couple that has personal or business assets may want to protect what is theirs before getting married.

A prenuptial agreement is a written agreement that both you and your future spouse construct before getting married. This agreement lays out how property and assets will be divided if divorce or death were to occur. Items that can be included within a prenuptial agreement include:

  • Division of property and/or assets
  • The right to manage and control property belonging to the other spouse
  • Changes or elimination of spousal support/maintenance 
  • Establishing a will, trust, or other arrangement or obligation to carry out the prenuptial agreements terms
  • The ownership rights in and distribution of the death benefit from a life insurance policy
  • Choice of laws that will be used for creating the agreement

Signing a prenuptial agreement may be beneficial for one or more of the following reasons:

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Understanding Why Older Couples Choose Grey DivorceGrey divorce, also known as Silver Splitter or Diamond Divorcees, refers to the older “grey-haired” couples who decide to file for divorce after being in long-term marriages.

According to the Pew Research Center, a study conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics and U.S. Census Bureau found that for every 1,000 married couples aged 50 and over, 10 of them ended in divorce.

Grey divorce entails many issues a traditional divorce carries, such as the division of marital property and assets and spousal maintenance, but is unlikely to include the allocation of parental responsibilities or child support.

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Tips for Surviving the Holidays After a DivorceGoing through a divorce is tough, but going through a divorce during the holidays can add to the hurt.

If this is your first holiday season since separating from your spouse, it is natural to feel lonely and sad. It is important to not let these emotions control you and prevent you from enjoying the holidays. Here are a few tips and tricks to help you maintain your mental health and manage your stress throughout the holidays:

  1. Take It One Day at a Time: It is only natural to want to rush through a time in your life that you would rather not be present for. Remain focused on the here and now, and take each holiday as it comes.
  2. Do Not Skip Out on Spending Time with Family and Friends: As much as you want to spend time alone, your family and friends are your support system and people you should lean on during this hard time. If an invite is offered, take it.
  3. Volunteer Your Time: The holidays are about giving, and volunteering at a soup kitchen or homeless shelter will take your focus off of your problems. Helping others who are less fortunate than you will make you realize how much you have to be grateful for.
  4. Make New Traditions: Avoid dwelling on the traditions you lost or will lose because of the divorce, and make some new ones. There is no better time than the present to begin anew.
  5. Take a Break from Social Media: Scrolling through social media and seeing other people’s “perfect lives” will only make you feel worse. Delete any social media app you may be tempted to use, and enjoy your mini social media cleanse. 
  6. Do Not Numb the Pain: Indulging in drugs or alcohol may seem like a quick and easy way to forget what you are going through, even if it is for a short amount of time. When emotions are high, mixing pleasure and pain can lead to tears, angry outbursts or worse. If you plan to drink, set a limit and stick to it. 

According to the American Psychological Association, there is a difference between being sad during the holidays because of personal issues and a serious emotional or mental condition. If you believe your holiday blues are lasting longer than the holiday season, immediately contact a healthcare professional.

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