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The Foray Firm

Il divorce lawyerIt is often said that around 50 percent of all marriages end in divorce. The actual statistics are unknown, but even if the divorce rate is not that high, the fact remains that a significant percentage of marriages do not last. For those who are planning to get married or who are in a happy relationship, divorce may not seem to be likely. However, it can be a good idea to consider the possibility that a relationship will end, and by making decisions ahead of time through a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, a couple can help avoid conflict and uncertainty in the future.

Prenups Vs. Postnups

A prenuptial agreement (prenup) will be signed by a couple before their wedding, while a postnuptial agreement (postnup) can be created at any time after spouses become legally married. Both types of agreements can address the same issues, including detailing how certain issues may be handled during a couple’s marriage and making decisions about what will happen if their marriage ends through divorce, legal separation, or the death of either spouse.

Generally, prenups and postnups will be limited to addressing matters related to a couple’s property and finances. An agreement may specify that certain assets owned by the spouses will remain separate property rather than marital property, or it may decide on how different assets and debts will be divided in the event of a divorce. A prenup or postnup may also include details about spousal maintenance, including specifying whether one spouse will pay support to the other or deciding on the amount that will be paid and the duration that payments will last. However, prenuptial or postnuptial agreements generally cannot make decisions about child custody, and they cannot reduce the amount of child support that a parent would be required to pay by law.

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IL family laywerBeing a single parent can be extremely difficult. Your child’s needs do not decrease just because they only have one parent to care for them and provide for them. In Illinois, children have the right to be supported financially by both of their parents. This typically takes the form of child support payments. One problem that many single mothers face is that the father of their child refuses to acknowledge that he is indeed the child’s other parent. This can create a roadblock, but with the help of a skilled attorney, it is often a very surmountable roadblock.

Even if the father refuses to acknowledge paternity voluntarily, Illinois state law provides a mechanism for establishing paternity involuntarily. If you are faced with this difficult situation, you should strongly consider speaking to an attorney about your options.

How Can Paternity be Established if My Child’s Father Will Not Cooperate?

Even if your child’s father refuses to accept or admit that he is the father, there are still ways to establish paternity. In many cases, the Department of Healthcare and Family Services will intervene and try to resolve the situation before involving the court. They may be able to conduct a paternity test or create a legal presumption of parentage if the father fails to show up.

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IL family lawyerSome mothers in Illinois are reluctant to name their child’s father on a birth certificate and for good reason. Their child’s father may be abusive, angry, or an alcoholic and the mother may fear that by establishing paternity, she is exposing her child to a lifetime of a relationship with a poor caregiver. A mother may also be reluctant to try to establish paternity because she is not sure who the child’s father is. Others still may want to legally name their child’s father but feel unable because the father has passed away.

Yet legally establishing paternity is important for many reasons. Single parenthood is a daunting task that poses a difficult financial and emotional burden. If you are on the fence as to whether or not you want to establish paternity, here are five great benefits that you, your child, and their father could enjoy if you do.

Benefits of Establishing Paternity

  • Simplified child support and parenting agreements - Before a father can get parenting time or can be ordered to pay child support, a legal relationship with a child must be established. Even if parents already have a verbal agreement about child support or a co-parenting schedule, not establishing paternity can make these impossible to enforce.
  • Social Security and Veterans Administration benefits - Children can get Social Security and VA survivor benefits from parents who have passed away, but only if there is a legal child-parent relationship. These can include cash payments, life insurance, and money for education.
  • Health insurance coverage - If a father has insurance through his job, his child may be covered up to age 26. Having good health insurance is essential for helping a child grow up happy and healthy.
  • Parent-child relationship - Research shows that children do best when they have a positive relationship with both parents. Of course, certain fathers behave in ways that make co-parenting impossible. But for most of us, imperfect parenting is the name of the game - and although a young child may not have questions about their father yet, they are bound to when they are older.
  • Knowledge of family history - Adults sometimes need to know their family history for many reasons. Health questions, genetic risks, and curiosity about heritage and genealogy are all good reasons for having relationships with members of both sides of a child’s family.

Call an Experienced Will County Paternity Lawyer

Proving legal paternity can be difficult, but it can have major payoffs. Although it may not be easy, an experienced Joliet paternity lawyer with The Foray Firm can help you and your child get the benefits of establishing paternity. No matter the situation, we are here to help you establish paternity in a friendly, non-judgmental environment. Call us today at 312-702-1293 to schedule a confidential consultation and learn more.

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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 lawyerFor many couples, a prenuptial agreement is a useful tool to help each partner define and protect their interests in property and assets. Agreements that are written and willingly signed by both partners are generally legally binding and enforceable, including in the event of a divorce. However, they are not necessarily permanently set in stone. There are many reasons why you may wish to modify a prenup at some point during your marriage, and you should know that it is possible to do so.

How Do I Modify a Prenup?

In Illinois, the primary legal requirements for modifying a prenuptial agreement are the same as the requirements for creating a prenup in the first place. Namely, the modifications must be set down in writing, and both you and your spouse must sign the document indicating your agreement. You can also revoke a prenuptial agreement entirely through the same process. The most challenging part of modifying a prenup may be finding terms that you and your spouse both agree to. However, there are situations in which updating your agreement can be beneficial for both of you.

Reasons to Update a Prenuptial Agreement

You and your spouse may want to update your prenup if one of the following applies to you:

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