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Will County family law attorneyOrders of Protection can be great tools for helping you keep yourself and your children safe during a divorce. However, what these orders can and cannot do is not always well-understood. Some people—women particularly—refrain from getting a protection order even though they are eligible for one, often due to misconceptions about how they work. While protection orders are civil, rather than criminal, your spouse can be arrested if they violate one. This is often enough of a deterrent to keep domestic violence offenders away from their victims.

However, civil protection orders should not be used as tools of manipulation during an ongoing divorce. If you are in need of protection from a violent spouse, you should urgently speak with your divorce lawyer so they can get the ball rolling. 

What a Civil Order of Protection Can Do

A few of the most important things that a civil protection order can accomplish 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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Orland Park child custody lawyerNo one wants to be involved in a child custody dispute, but if you have a difficult relationship with your child’s other parent, it can be tempting to resort to unsavory tactics to gain more parenting time. While many divorced or never-married parents dream of getting sole custody, it is rare in Illinois. Your desire to spend as much time as possible with your children is very understandable, but it is important to play by the rules. Here are some common tactics that you should avoid when you are involved in a child custody dispute. 

How Not to Fight a Child Custody Battle

You would do anything for your children, but some tactics are likely to backfire on you. Even if your child’s other parent is attempting these strategies, it is generally best to let your attorney handle it. It is easy for a guardian ad litem, judge, or child custody evaluator to tell when a parent is trying a tactic like: 

  • Coaching the child - “Coaching” a child means telling them what to say, either to the court or to the other parent. Some parents will train even very young children to say certain things that they think may sway a court. It is often very apparent to outside parties when a child has been coached. When a child is simply parroting what a parent has instructed them, they are often unable to provide consistent responses to other questions. 

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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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