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Joliet family law attorneysIn many cases, a move to a new location after a divorce can be an important step in starting a new life, especially if it comes with a major change of scenery or a promising career opportunity. However, parents who plan to move with their children after divorce may need to consider not only their children’s best interests, but also the impact of the move on their former spouse. Whether your relocation happens with the other parent’s consent or you need to seek approval from the court, you will also need to prepare to update your parenting plan to account for the change.

What Parenting Plan Modifications Will I Need to Make?

In an ideal scenario, a relocating parent can work with the other parent to modify the parenting plan in a way that protects both parents’ relationships with the children and allows the other parent to feel comfortable with the move. However, it is not always possible for parents to reach such an agreement. When the parents are in conflict, an Illinois court will need to decide on appropriate modifications that are in the children’s best interests. Some of the most important factors the court will consider include the opportunities for the children in the new location and the impact of the move on the children’s relationships with both of their parents.

Regardless of how the modifications come about, here are some ways that your parenting plan may need to change to accommodate for the relocation:

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Joliet family law attorneysWhen a child is being raised by a single parent, grandparents often play an important role in the child’s life by assisting with child care and financial support, and simply by being a loving and positive presence. Usually, even when grandparents are heavily involved, the parents still maintain parental rights and the authority to initiate legal proceedings regarding the child. However, there are some cases in which Illinois grandparents may seek legal rights regarding their grandchildren.

Can Grandparents Petition for Child Custody in Illinois?

Illinois now refers to child custody matters using the term “allocation of parental responsibilities,” and in most cases, a child’s parents are the ones with the authority to petition for legal action in this area, whether they are doing so as part of the divorce process or they have never been married. However, a grandparent may be able to do so if the child is not in the physical custody of either parent, or if the parent who is related to the grandparent is deceased, and one of the following is true of the other parent:

  • He or she has been absent from the home in an unknown location for at least a month
  • He or she is in federal or state custody
  • He or she has a criminal record that includes domestic violence toward the child or the child’s other parent

Are Grandparents Entitled to Visitation?

While it may be hard for grandparents to be prevented from seeing their grandchildren, in most cases, a child’s parents have the authority to decide how much time their children spend with their grandparents. However, grandparents can sometimes seek visitation rights if they can demonstrate that the child is harmed by a parent prohibiting visitation and any of the following is true:

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Will County family law attorneyDivorce is an emotionally-challenging life experience that, unfortunately, many couples go through. Regardless of the number of years that you have been married, recognizing that the promise of “till death do us part” has been broken can be devastating. This is especially true for those who share children together. Divorce does not just affect the married couple’s relationship, but also each parent’s relationship with their children. This decision does not need to have a damaging impact on your relationship as a parent, however, and the way that you choose to discuss this decision with your kids can be a key factor in the ramifications of your divorce.

Breaching the Topic

When you and your spouse have made the definitive decision to move forward with your divorce, it is important to be upfront with your children from the start. If they find out about your divorce through the grapevine before you have had the chance to talk to them, this can be damaging to your relationship and their trust in you. If you and your spouse are filing for divorce, it is highly unlikely that your child has not sensed your distance or tension in the past. They may even suspect that divorce is on the horizon. 

Before telling your kids the news, you and your spouse must be on the same page about how the discussion will go. Presenting the news as a united front will send the message that you are both their parents, despite your impending divorce. The details of the conversation will shift depending on your kids' ages, but be sure to stress that your decision to divorce is not reflective of your love for your child or a result of their actions in any way. 

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Will County paternity lawyerIf you have recently had a child, or simply never identified your child's father on their birth certificate, it is important that you legally recognize who the child’s biological father is. For some mothers, naming their child’s father may open a door for a contentious or abusive relationship between the child and their biological father. For others, they may not be certain about who the father is. A difficult situation that some mothers encounter is their child’s biological father passing away before they were able to name them on the birth certificate. Even if the child’s father is deceased, proving paternity can lead to a number of benefits, both financial and emotional. Luckily, those with male children still have the ability to do so with the help of modern technology.

DNA Testing on Family Members

For those who want biological proof of who their child’s father is, DNA testing is the manner in which this can be done. This is a common option for men who are uncertain about their biological connection to a child. Though it may seem far-fetched, this is also a way to prove paternity for a man who is deceased if you have a son. Modern technology has allowed lab technicians to determine a child’s father by analyzing the man’s blood relatives’ DNA. Such paternity testing will be conducted using DNA samples from the paternal grandparents or alleged father’s other children since this will reveal whether or not the genes actually match the deceased, alleged father. By looking at the chromosomes within the DNA, lab technicians can determine whether or not there is a biological connection between the child and the man in question.

Taking a closer look at the biology behind the testing, one must understand that men have an X and a Y chromosome while females have two X chromosomes. For male children, their Y chromosome will be compared to that of the paternal male relatives. Y chromosomes are passed virtually unchanged down the male line. By comparing the Y chromosome of the male child to the alleged father’s brother or father, one can determine whether they match—signifying their biological connection—or not—proving that they are unrelated.

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Is My Prenuptial Agreement Valid in Illinois?If you could protect yourself from an unpredictable future, would you do it? Many engaged couples have come to the realization that protecting yourself from the unknown is better than being unprepared. As a bright-eyed and recently engaged couple, divorce is likely not at the forefront of your mind. You are probably spending time thinking about the fun part of the engagement: planning a wedding and a future together. Just as nailing down the details of your wedding arrangements is critical for a successful wedding day, recognizing and preparing for the possibility of divorce can also lead to a better marriage. The unpredictability of an ending relationship can add anxiety and tension to marriage, whereas having things planned out with the help of a prenuptial agreement can ease your worried mind. If you are considering signing a prenup, you should be aware of the following mistakes that can make your agreement invalid in a court of law.

DIY Disaster

As is the case with most legal proceedings, generic legal forms can be found on the internet and filled out by each spouse to act as their prenuptial agreement. Rarely do these unsupervised and uninformed DIY prenups hold up in a court of law. Trying to cut out the cost of an attorney and create your own prenuptial agreement with your spouse can actually lead you to spend more time and money in court later on. Working with an attorney is critical for ensuring equality within the agreement, compliance with your state’s laws, and proper filing of the legal document.

Full Disclosure

The most common reason why couples decide to create a prenuptial agreement is to divide their assets and debts evenly before emotions are heightened by the stress and devastation of divorce. It is imperative that you and your spouse fully disclose your assets and debts in the agreement. Failure to do so can invalidate the entire agreement. If you do not disclose your financial background, the court may assume that you were trying to conceal assets and keep them out of the divorce and your spouse’s hands. Whether intentional or not, you could find yourself scratching your entire prenuptial agreement if things are left unsaid.

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