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Using Second-Parent Adoption to Establish Parentage in LGBTQ MarriagesIt has been a little over four years since the Supreme Court deemed it unconstitutional to prevent same-sex couples from getting married. Since then, thousands of members of the LGBTQ community have solidified their relationships and tied the knot – but they still face a number of issues when it comes to the legalities of family dynamics. Many LGBTQ couples have decided to have children, whether through adoption, surrogacy or a sperm donor. Many states still have laws that only pertain to a man and a woman having children, posing issues for same-sex couples. One solution that Illinois, along with many other states, has created is the practice of second-parent adoption. 

What is Second-Parent Adoption?

A second-parent adoption, also known as a co-parent adoption, is often used by same-sex couples to solidify both parents’ legal relationship to the child. Many states’ laws still rely almost entirely on biological connections to establish parentage. In many cases, one parent in the same-sex couple is the biological parent of the child. Even if the couple is married at the time the child is born, the child is not considered to be the legal child of the other spouse because the spouse is not the biological parent of the child.

The Purpose of Second-Parent Adoption

A second-parent adoption can help same-sex couples by establishing the non-biological parent as the child’s legal parent. The unique thing about second-parent adoptions is that the child’s biological parent does not have to relinquish any of his or her parental rights to the child in order for his or her spouse to adopt the child. 

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Understanding Illinois Domestic Violence Orders of ProtectionDomestic violence is all too common in the U.S. According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, more than 12 million people experience some form of domestic violence in any given year. In Illinois, domestic violence is defined as any act of abuse that is perpetrated toward a family or household member. Abuse can be emotional, physical or sexual in nature. Domestic violence can occur between parents and children, step-parents and step-children, romantic partners, people who have a child in common, people who are married or were once married or people who live together or once lived together. Domestic violence can put the safety of everyone in the family at risk, but fortunately, there are steps you can take to protect your family.

What is an Order of Protection?

An order of protection is a legal order that can help protect victims of domestic violence. The order is given by a judge and can prohibit an abuser from doing certain things and likewise can order an abuser to do certain things or face consequences. An order of protection can:

  • Prohibit an abuser from committing any further abuse;
  • Order an abuser to leave his or her home;
  • Prohibit an abuser from being near the victim and his or her children;
  • Require an abuser to attend counseling;
  • Order an abuser to pay child support or spousal maintenance;
  • Forbid an abuser from removing certain personal property from his or her shared residence; and
  • Temporarily allocate all parenting time and responsibilities to the victim or another person.

Types of Orders of Protection

In Illinois, there are three types of orders of protection recognized by law: emergency orders, interim orders, and plenary orders. Each order typically lasts for different periods of time and certain orders cannot provide certain remedies.

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Four Things You Should Know Before Signing a Prenuptial AgreementIn the past, prenuptial agreements have been a controversial topic. It was thought that you were planning for a divorce or that you were not serious about your marriage if you got a prenuptial agreement. In recent years, prenuptial agreements have become more popular for several reasons. One such reason is that younger generations are waiting until later in life to get married. This typically means they have more assets when they are going into their marriages.

Prenuptial agreements can be extremely beneficial if you do end up getting divorced because they can outline how property will be divided or how debts will be allocated. Before getting a prenuptial agreement, there are a few things you should know:

  1. Your Agreement Must Be in a Specific Format: In order for a prenuptial agreement to be enforceable, it must be in the correct format. This means your prenuptial agreement must be a legal document in writing; oral agreements do not count as prenuptial agreements. Your agreement must also be written in clear language and signed by both you and your spouse.
  2. You Have to Be Completely Truthful: When you are creating a prenuptial agreement, you are required to be fully transparent about your finances, including revealing your assets and debts. A prenuptial agreement is invalid if one of the parties withholds important information. You may need to make note of things such as a possible future inheritance. 
  3. There are Certain Things You Cannot Put in the Agreement: Contrary to what you may have heard, you are not allowed to put whatever you want into a prenuptial agreement. There are certain stipulations you must follow when you are drafting your agreement. For example, you can put clauses in your agreement pertaining to spousal maintenance, but you are not permitted to include any requirements about child support or other legal child-centered issues.
  4. Signing the Agreement Too Close to the Wedding Can Cause Problems: If you are thinking that a prenuptial agreement may be right for you, it is good to sign the agreement sooner rather than later. If you sign the agreement only a few days before the wedding, it could be argued that neither party had sufficient enough time to fully understand the terms of the document before you agreed to them. It is recommended that you sign the agreement no later than one month before the wedding. If it is too late, you can create a postnuptial agreement instead. 

A Will County Prenuptial Agreement Attorney Can Answer Your Questions

Though it may seem completely unromantic, it would be naive to go into a marriage thinking there is an absolute zero percent possibility of getting a divorce in the future. Planning by getting a prenuptial agreement can save you a major headache if you do end up getting divorced. At The Foray Firm, we have more than 10 years of experience helping couples draft prenuptial agreements that they are happy with. Our knowledgeable Markham, IL, prenuptial agreement lawyers can ensure that your prenuptial agreement contains everything that you want it to contain and that it will hold up in court, should it be contested. Get in touch with our office today by calling us at 312-702-1293 to schedule a consultation.

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Key Things to Know Before Pursuing Stepparent Adoption in IllinoisIn Illinois, related adoptions are the most common type of adoption that takes place. Stepparent adoption, specifically, is the most common type of related adoption. Typically, a stepparent adoption takes place when one of the child’s parents is married or remarried to a person who is not the child’s biological parent. The spouse of the child’s parent would legally assume the rights and responsibilities to the child, but in some cases, it is easier said than done. Many children who have stepparents also have both biological parents who play a role in their lives and who might object to the adoption. Any type of adoption can be a complicated legal process, but in some ways, a related adoption can be even more difficult.

Facts to Consider Before Adopting

Many families pursue stepparent adoption because it gives the stepparent a way to formally and legally declare him or herself a parent to a non-biological child. Other families may pursue stepparent adoption as a way to establish two legal parents for a child if one parent is not involved in the child’s life. Either way, here are a few things you should consider before you begin the adoption process:

  • A child in Illinois is permitted to have only two legal parents at a time. If you are trying to adopt your stepchild, you will have to make sure that your child’s other parent either relinquishes his or her parental rights or petition to have his or her parental rights revoked.
  • Judges only grant stepparent adoptions to the stepparent who is married to the parent that the child spends the most time with. In other words, if a child’s father remarries and his new wife wants to adopt the child, but the child lives with his mother 75 percent of the time, the judge will probably not allow the adoption.
  • Typically, adoptions require a home study to be completed, which assesses the relationships and inner workings of the family that will adopt the child. Since stepparent adoptions are related adoptions, the home study requirement is waived.
  • Consent with related adoptions and stepparent adoptions can become complicated. Not only do you have to gain the consent of the child’s other biological parent, but in some cases, you may also have to gain the consent of the child. In Illinois, any child who is 14 or older must give their consent to be adopted.

Complete Your Family With Help From a DuPage County Adoption Lawyer 

In some ways, a stepparent adoption can be an easier process to go through than the traditional adoption process. In other ways, the stepparent adoption process can prove to be even more legally challenging. If you want to adopt your stepchildren but their other biological parent is objecting to the adoption, contact our knowledgeable Bolingbrook, IL, stepparent adoption attorneys today. At The Foray Firm, we understand that adoption is not only a legal process but an emotional challenge, as well. Contact our office today at 312-702-1293 to schedule a consultation.

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Four Tips For Successful Co-Parenting After Your Illinois DivorceWhen you have children, one of the hardest aspects of life after a divorce is figuring out how to be a successful and effective co-parent. This can be especially difficult for couples who no longer get along with one another or who had a very contentious divorce. Though you may wish you were rid of your spouse, having children with them prevents that from being possible. It is your job to work together with your ex to make sure you can provide a secure and loving childhood for your kids. Co-parenting after your divorce is one of the toughest things you will learn to do, but it is also one of the most important. Here are a few tips to help increase your chances of co-parenting success:

  1. Put Your Feelings Aside: This is perhaps the most important tip of all. You and your spouse need to make sure you are putting your feelings to the side and focusing on the wellbeing and happiness of your children. Your children should be the most important part of your life, and ensuring their happiness is more important than the issues you have with your ex.
  2. Work on Communication With Your Ex: Though it may be tough, communication is key when it comes to co-parenting. You should be aiming for peaceful and purposeful communication between you and your ex, all for the benefit of your children. You should keep your ex in the loop when it comes to your child and you should make sure you are including them in any major decisions involving your child.
  3. Stay as Consistent as Possible: It is also important to keep a sense of consistency between the two households for the sake of your children. Obviously, not everything will be the same at both your and your ex’s homes, but general routines and rules should stay the same so your child has a sense of consistency and familiarity.
  4. Remind Your Children That You Love Them: This is also important because it is common for children to blame themselves for the divorce. You should reassure your children every now and then that both you and their other parent still love them very much and that your issues have nothing to do with them.

Hire a Compassionate Will County Family Law Attorney 

At The Foray Firm, we understand that it is often difficult for divorcing parents to transition to life as a single parent, while still taking into account the other parent. Our skilled Joliet family law lawyers can help you and your spouse have a solid and comprehensive parenting plan in place to help reduce any uncertainties after the divorce. Call our office today at 312-702-1293 to schedule a consultation.

Sources:

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BBA Of Will County Illinois State Bar Association Cook County Bar Association The National Bar Association BWLA
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