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When to Prepare for Divorce Litigation

Posted on in Divorce

Will County divorce attorneyA significant percentage of spouses who divorce in modern times are not required to engage in a courtroom battle in order to terminate their marriage. Many elect for cooperative divorce techniques including but not limited to mediation and attorney-facilitated negotiation. Cooperative divorce is often employed regardless of the level of amicability, as the issues incident to divorce can be resolved by mutual agreement even without bringing the spouses face to face. Yet, certain circumstances can render collaborative divorce impossible or impracticable. 

If your spouse is unwilling or unable to cooperate with these alternative dispute resolution mechanisms, it may be prudent to prepare yourself for litigation. If you begin to suspect that litigation is inevitable, it would be prudent to address these concerns with a divorce attorney. It is inadvisable to enter litigation or negotiations that could lead to litigation without the assistance of a qualified lawyer. 

Circumstances That May Suggest the Inevitability of Litigation

A frequent roadblock in the path to uncontested divorce is the refusal of one spouse to compromise and communicate effectively. The following signs may indicate that you will require the use of traditional courtroom hearings to resolve the issues in your divorce case include: 

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Joliet divorce lawyerAs you might imagine, money is a huge factor in any divorce case. This is especially true in contested divorces. When a spouse gets divorced, he or she is expected to provide financial information in a financial affidavit. In Illinois, this document helps to determine things like child support and property division during divorce.

Unfortunately, some spouses lie on their financial affidavits. They may intentionally undervalue their assets or fail to list all sources of income to make their financial situation appear bleaker than it actually is. Spouses may also inflate debts and expenses to reduce financial obligations like child support or spousal support. If you are getting divorced, make sure you understand how this important means of financial disclosure will influence your case.

Financial Disclosure is Crucial During Divorce

It may feel uncomfortable to list personal financial information on your divorce paperwork. However, the court needs this information to make informed decisions during the divorce process.  Even if your case settles before trial, you and your spouse can only reach an agreement on divorce terms if you are both honest about your financial circumstances.

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What Does "Unfit Parent" Really Mean?

Posted on in Divorce

Will County child custody lawyerDuring a divorce, it is not uncommon for one parent to claim that the other is an unfit parent in an effort to get sole custody. You may be reading this because your (soon to be ex) spouse has called you an unfit parent and threatened to take sole custody of the children. If this is your situation, you should know that your spouse is not very likely to succeed. Unless you have truly endangered or harmed the children and there is proof, it is exceedingly rare for a court to deem one parent unfit and award the other sole custody. However, hearing your spouse refer to you this way can be incredibly hurtful and alarming. Our attorneys are ready to step in and fight for you and your children. 

Defining “Unfit Parent” in Illinois

In Illinois, the definition of an unfit parent is relatively vague. Our state law says that an unfit parent is one who cannot be trusted to take care of a child. For you to lose custody and visitation rights, your child’s other parent would have to prove that there is a specific reason that you should not have access to your children. Reasons a parent may be deemed unfit include: 

  • Abuse - A parent who is physically, sexually, or emotionally abusive or otherwise cruel towards the child, such that the child is not likely to benefit from a continued relationship with that parent

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Joliet paternity lawyerIt is common for the mother of a child to initiate a parentage case, hoping to positively identify her child’s father and seek child support. It is a bit less common for such a case to be opened by a father, but in Illinois, either parent - or alleged parent - can petition a court to declare parentage. Fathers often do so when the mother of the child they believe is theirs is not letting them see the child. Establishing paternity opens the door for a father to seek court-ordered time with his child. This sometimes happens when the mother and father have broken up or were never romantically involved beyond a casual sexual relationship. If you believe that you are the father of a child, you do have the right to seek a court order declaring you are the parent. An attorney can help you take the right steps. 

How Can I Ask the Court to Declare Parentage as a Father?

Establishing yourself as your child’s father is the first step toward gaining the legal right to be a part of their life. Once you are declared the father, you can start seeking joint custody rights so that you can enjoy a meaningful relationship with your child. 

 Illinois offers two different forms for those seeking to open a parentage action - one for mothers, and one for fathers. You will start by completing this petition form asserting that you are the child’s father. Your attorney will help you file it with the right court. 

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illinois divorce lawyerThis is a fairly common question - and the answer is yes, you can divorce your spouse while they are incarcerated. There may be a few extra steps and some complications, but it can be done. In fact, you may have somewhat of an advantage in your divorce if your spouse is currently locked up. Prisons and jails rarely, if ever, allow inmates to appear in divorce court. Your spouse can retain their own attorney to represent them, however. Especially if your spouse is incarcerated for a crime against you or your children, like domestic violence or child abuse, it may be much safer to get your divorce while they are locked up. An attorney can help you through the process of divorcing an inmate in prison or jail. 

How Can I Divorce Someone Who is Locked Up?

Your spouse can be served with your divorce papers while they are incarcerated. In fact, it is even easier to serve an incarcerated individual - they will not be able to claim that they did not receive the divorce petition. Your attorney will need to find your spouse’s inmate number in order to do this. 

After that, you will largely proceed with the divorce as you usually would. If your spouse retains an attorney, almost all of your communication with your spouse will go through their lawyer. 

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