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Homewood divorce lawyerOne of a parent’s most important responsibilities and legal obligations is to provide financially for their child’s basic needs. Many Illinois parents who are no longer married, or who were never married to their child’s other parent, rely on court-ordered child support to ensure the other parent’s fair contributions. However, married couples are typically left to manage child-related expenses on their own. This can make things difficult for a parent who is still legally married but in the midst of the divorce process, especially if their spouse is withholding income and assets.

If you are trying to get a divorce from a spouse who has abandoned you and your children, or who has cut you off financially, you may be able to petition for temporary child support before your marriage has been legally dissolved. An experienced divorce lawyer can help you understand your options.

Petitioning for Temporary Child Support

Providing for your children’s needs during the divorce process can be challenging, especially with the legal costs you are likely to incur. If you are struggling to provide and your spouse is not contributing, you can request a temporary child support order by filing a petition with the court that has jurisdiction over your divorce. Your petition will need to include a financial affidavit using a standard, statewide form, through which you will have the opportunity to explain your circumstances. You should also include any relevant evidence that supports your affidavit, including your bank statements, pay stubs, and recent tax returns.

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Will County family law attorneyFor divorced and unmarried parents in Illinois, a parenting plan is crucial to establish the terms of the co-parenting relationship and ensure that the children’s best interests are protected. Like many other family law orders, the terms of a parenting plan are legally binding once they are approved by the court. Parents should be sure to abide by them, both for their children’s sake and in order to avoid legal consequences. If your child’s other parent has violated your parenting agreement, you can take action to enforce the order.

Parenting Plan Violations in Illinois

Illinois parenting plans must be fairly comprehensive when it comes to addressing parenting time, decision-making responsibilities, and communication between co-parents. As such, there are many ways that a parent could violate the terms of the agreement. For example:

  • Keeping the children beyond the end of their scheduled parenting time

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Will County family law attorneyLegal matters related to a child’s paternity rarely exist in a vacuum. Often, they are accompanied by questions regarding the extent to which the father will be involved in the child’s life. For example, will the relationship be limited solely to financial support, or will the child be spending significant time with the father? The answer varies from case to case, and regardless of the method you use to establish paternity, you should be prepared for the possibility of a court case addressing parenting time and parental responsibilities.

What Comes With the Establishment of Legal Paternity in Illinois?

In many cases, the primary purpose of establishing legal paternity is to ensure that the father is obligated to contribute to child support. This, of course, benefits the child, but it also helps the mother or whoever has custody of the child. Additionally, when a legal parent-child relationship has been established, the child is eligible for other financial benefits from the father, including inheritance, health insurance coverage, and benefits from life insurance, Social Security, and Veterans Affairs.

A child’s legal father also must be notified if the child is involved in an adoption proceeding, giving him the opportunity to consent or contest the adoption. However, the establishment of paternity does not, in and of itself, give the father rights or obligations regarding the exercise of parenting time and parental responsibilities. Rather, defining these arrangements requires additional action in family court.

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Joliet family law attorneyThe stigmatization behind the term “mental illness” has been greatly reduced over the past few decades. Unlike in the past, being diagnosed with a mental illness is fairly common, and contrary to popular belief, the diagnosis does not necessarily impact your ability to perform everyday activities or hold responsibility. In the U.S. alone, nearly one in five adults live with a mental illness. 

If you are a parent whose former spouse or co-parent has a mental illness, you may be concerned about their ability to be there for your child. While having a mental illness is not enough to be considered incapable of parenting, if you have seen your co-parent’s mental health get in the way of their parenting capabilities, you may be wondering how to address this in court and have these concerns reflected in your parenting plan. With the help of a reputable attorney, you can have your concerns heard by the court and keep your child in safe hands. 

Levels of Mental Illness

Mental illnesses can come in many forms and levels of severity. The National Institute of Mental Health recognizes two categories of mental illness: any mental illness (AMI) and serious mental illness (SMI). AMI is defined as a behavioral, mental or emotional disorder that can vary in impact from mild to severe impairment. SMI is a behavioral, mental or emotional disorder which results in serious functional impairment and which greatly interferes with or limits major life activities. According to 2019 data, an estimated 20.6 percent of all U.S. adults have AMI, while only 5.2 percent of U.S. adults have SMI. As you can see, only a small number of Americans suffer from SMI, and in order for your co-parent’s mental health to weigh into your parenting plan, they will likely need to have severe impairment from AMI or be diagnosed with a SMI.

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