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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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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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Will County family law attorneyFor many divorcing parents, decisions related to their children are not only legal matters, but extremely personal matters. This is especially true when it comes to what the children’s living arrangements will be after the divorce, as the outcome can have major ramifications on parent-child relationships and the day-to-day lives of both the parents and the children. As you attempt to resolve the question of parenting time in your divorce, you should consider a few important questions.

Can You Reach an Agreement With Your Spouse?

If you and your spouse are on fairly good terms, you can work together to create a parenting time schedule that meets the needs of the whole family. Doing so can help you save time and stress during the divorce process, and it can also help you be better, more cooperative co-parents after the divorce is complete. As you work toward an agreement, it may be important to discuss who, if anyone, will continue to live in the family home, how parenting time can be balanced with each parent’s work schedule, how you will share holidays and special occasions, and how you will resolve any future disagreements.

What Are the Children’s Best Interests?

When creating a parenting plan, your top priority should be your children’s best interests. If you and your spouse create an agreement together, the court will need to review it to determine whether your children’s interests are protected. If you are not able to agree with your spouse, you will need to prepare to demonstrate in court that your proposed arrangement best meets your children’s needs. Among other things, it is important to consider the living environment in both parents’ homes, the proximity to the children’s school and other important activities, the children’s preferences and unique care needs, and the ability for the children to maintain a relationship with both parents. In some cases, it is also important to consider whether time with a parent could put the children at risk of physical, mental, or emotional harm.

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Joliet family law attorneyThe prospect of getting a divorce can be daunting, not only because of the major life changes it will bring, but also because of the many expenses associated with the process. You may be concerned about how the divorce will affect your financial stability, especially if you are ordered to pay spousal support, otherwise known as alimony or maintenance. You should know that an attorney can help you avoid financial hardship related to a spousal support order both during and after the divorce process.

Will I Be Ordered to Pay Alimony?

Many people are under the assumption that alimony is a part of every divorce resolution, but in Illinois, this is not the case. You will not automatically be ordered to pay spousal support just because you are getting divorced, nor simply because your spouse asks for it. Furthermore, spousal support is not used as a punishment for something that either spouse did to damage the marriage, so you do not need to worry about your past behavior influencing the court’s decision on this matter.

Illinois spousal support is instead typically based on a spouse’s need, such as when they are unable to support themselves or maintain their accustomed standard of living on their own after the divorce. If your spouse is financially secure, it is unlikely that you will be ordered to pay support. Similarly, if you and your spouse both have limited means, the court may determine that a spousal support order is unwarranted. When support is ordered, the amount is usually based on a calculation involving a percentage of each spouse’s income, which may protect you from an order that is beyond your means.

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Joliet paternity lawyerWhen a child is born to unmarried parents, there is often uncertainty surrounding the father’s involvement in the child’s life, or even the father’s identity. Establishing legal paternity can remove much of that uncertainty and lead to many important benefits, including financial support for the child and parental rights for the father. Under Illinois law, there are several options for establishing paternity, and it is important to consider which one is the best choice for your case.

Methods of Establishing Paternity

Some ways of establishing paternity are more difficult than others, and the options available will depend in large part on the nature of the relationship between the child’s parents. The possible methods of establishing a man’s parentage in Illinois include:

  • Presumption of paternity - In Illinois, a man is presumed to be the legal father of a child if he was previously married to the child’s mother within 300 days prior to the child’s birth, even if he is no longer married to the mother when the child is born. Additionally, a man who marries the child’s mother after the child’s birth may be presumed to be the father if he agrees to be listed as such on the birth certificate. However, it is important to note that a presumption of paternity may be rebutted if there is evidence that another man is the child’s biological father.
  • Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity (VAP) - A man who is not presumed to be the father can still establish paternity with few obstacles if he and the child’s mother agree to sign a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity after the child’s birth. This form may be completed at the hospital where the child is born, or at a later time, and it must be filed with the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (DHFS) in order to take effect.
  • Administrative Paternity Order - If both parents are not in agreement regarding the child’s parentage, a VAP will not be a viable option. One alternative for a mother who is seeking to secure child support is to pursue an administrative order through DHFS. DHFS may order an alleged father to submit to genetic testing as part of this process.
  • Adjudication of Paternity - Another option for either parent is to petition for an adjudication of paternity in court. This process typically involves court-ordered genetic testing, and the court will consider the results and other evidence in determining whether a man should be adjudicated as the child’s legal father. After a judicial order of paternity, the legal father can also petition the court for parenting time and parental responsibilities.

Contact a Will County Parentage Attorney

Given the variety of options available for establishing paternity, you may have questions regarding the best way to proceed and what to expect throughout the process. At The Foray Firm, our experienced Joliet family law attorneys can help. Contact us today at 312-702-1293 to learn how you can get the legal guidance and representation you need to secure your parental rights and provide for your child’s needs.

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