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Open vs. Closed Adoptions: the Pros and Cons for Adoptive and Biological ParentsWhen prospective parents consider adopting a child, they often think that the biggest question that they will need to answer is where they would like to adopt their child from. They may be considering the benefits and drawbacks of adopting internationally or staying more local to find their child. While this is an important question to consider before making your adoption decision, one of the most life-changing choices that will need to be made is how involved you would like your child’s biological parents to be in their life. This is usually not fully up to the adoptive parents — the biological parents may wish to discuss this before committing to giving you their child. Some biological parents may not wish to be involved in their child’s life, while others may not be able to give you their child without the promise of a relationship moving forward. Whether you are the biological parents or the adoptive parents, you should consider the pros and cons of each type of adoption.

Open Adoptions

The level of openness with your adoption can vary from family to family. Some wish to simply exchange information so that the child can reach out to their biological parents if they would like, while others may create an agreement with the child’s biological parents to determine what their relationship will look like and how frequently they will communicate. For adoptive parents, this line of communication can be helpful whenever they have questions for their child’s biological parents. This could be about medical history, family connections, or anything else about the child that they could not know without the biological parents’ help. Having an open relationship can be difficult but important for biological parents. They may spend their lives wondering whether or not they chose the right family or hoping that their child would reach out later in life. Deciding on an open adoption eliminates these questions and can help the biological parents know that their child is safe and healthy.

Closed Adoptions

In closed adoptions, the adoptive parents will receive little to no information about their child’s biological parents or their background. This will protect both sides’ privacy and will not allow contact with the biological parents after the child’s birth and adoption. Many adoptive and biological parents believe this is the best arrangement for their child. It will eliminate any contentious or forced relationships that may be expected in an open relationship. It can also be difficult for the biological parents to see their child grow up in a home that is not their own. While they may have made the decision to give their child to another family, they may not want to see them live a different life. Closed adoptions are also a good option if the child’s biological parents are abusive or unfit to foster a healthy relationship with their child.

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Should I Get a Home Appraisal Before Filing for Divorce?Deciding what to do with your family’s home after your divorce can be an emotional decision to make. You likely have a number of happy memories over the past years that are tied to your home. Oftentimes, one party will keep the home while the other will move out and find a new place to live. Deciding who will remain in the home may not be a hard choice, but divvying up your other assets and properties in a fair manner may prove difficult. A couple’s house is likely the most valuable asset that they have, both personally and financially, so the person who remains in the home is receiving the largest asset in the divorce. Since Illinois is an equitable division state when it comes to asset and property division, the other spouse must receive assets of similar value in return.

What is a Home Appraisal?

A home appraisal is a financial estimate of your home from a licensed professional. Appraisers will determine the fair market value of your home by looking at sales of similar properties in your area over the past few months. Typically, they will look at the selling price of three recently sold properties and the asking price of three properties currently on the market. The appraiser will average the costs, make adjustments based on characteristics of your home, and determine a fair market value for your property. 

Why Do I Need One?

Appraisals can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to several hundred dollars, and the price tag can often stray people away from getting their home financially evaluated. What many do not realize is that a home appraisal can save them thousands of dollars at the end of the day. It is important to know the true value of your home for equitable distribution during the property division process. Some couples may do their own property estimate by looking at the prices of properties nearby, but they fail to take into account the various other factors that can affect their home’s value. In contentious divorces, both spouses may consider getting their own appraisal done to ensure the accuracy of the presented value. If two appraisals are done, a judge will typically look at both numbers, see if they are different, and average the two.

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How to Conduct Yourself in Court During Your Parenting CaseFor many, a divorce may be their first experience in a courtroom with a judge making decisions for them. While you have probably seen television shows that depict court proceedings, this is not an accurate representation of court and the characters’ actions are likely something that you should avoid following. No matter the reason you are in court, your conduct can greatly affect the outcome of the case. This is especially crucial for those discussing parenting arrangements for their children. In these parenting cases, the way you hold yourself is your first impression on the judge and likely the most important. Courtrooms and legal proceedings often make those who are unfamiliar with the process nervous and uncomfortable, causing them to act differently than they do in normal life. While you may not be able to keep yourself from being on edge, keep in mind the following tips that can help you present yourself in a good light:

  1. Clothes Matter: In a similar fashion to a job interview, your outfit can be used to gauge your personality, commitment to the case, and overall capacity to appear professional when necessary. It is important to wear business attire to court — no jeans, t-shirts, or sweatpants. By dressing for the occasion, you are showing the judge that you take this court proceeding seriously and are able to put yourself together when necessary: an important parenting quality. It may be a good idea to show another person your chosen outfit before showing up in court.
  2. Timeliness Is Key: Being on time to your court hearing and being present shows your respect for the legal team working on your case and that you take the matters of parenting seriously. This is also reflective of your ability to make time for your children, even if it means showing up to court. The judge will be analyzing all of your words and movements, and being on time says “I care and I will be there for my child.”
  3. Respect the Judge: There are a few things that those involved in a court case should know before the hearing starts. Everyone in the courtroom should stand when the judge enters or leaves the courtroom. This is age-old etiquette that is still followed today. Anytime the judge speaks to you, stand and respond, calling them “Your Honor.” They will let you know when it is your time to speak, and you should avoid speaking out of turn. Showing disrespect to the judge will only work against you in the decision making process.

Call a Naperville Parenting Attorney Today

The best way to prepare for your courtroom hearings is to speak with an experienced attorney. They will be able to provide you with the basic etiquette information as well as any additional tips for the particular judge working on your case. Because they are familiar with the judges in the area, they will likely have some hidden tips that they can provide you with that cannot be found elsewhere. The Foray Firm has extensive experience working in the family courts throughout the south suburbs of Chicago and we assist our clients before every courtroom appearance. If you are fighting for your rights as a parent, contact our Joliet divorce lawyers at 312-702-1293 to schedule a free consultation.

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Three Signs That You Should Create a ‘Postnup’Prenuptial agreements are known to have a certain stigma to them. When someone says the word “prenup,” you often think about wealthy, Hollywood couples who are not meant to last together or people getting married for the second time who have significant assets from their previous marriage. This stereotype is far from the truth as more and more couples are selecting to sign a prenup before saying “I do.” These legal agreements have become more normalized in the past decade as couples decide to get married later in life, with more financial assets in tow. What you may not have heard of is a postnuptial agreement. This serves the same purpose as a prenuptial agreement, but it is signed after the marriage has begun. You may think that it seems crazy to sign a “divorce agreement” before or after getting married, but there are situations where it benefits you to have a postnup:

  1. You Own a Business: One of the most uncomfortable and unfair properties to divide in a divorce is a business. For families who open a business together, the company will need to be bought out by one party or divided between both spouses. This can be a difficult division since you both built the business together. In the instance where one spouse comes into the marriage with a successful business, this division can seem unfair since the other spouse had no part in its creation. Business owners may decide to sign a postnuptial agreement to protect their business in case of a divorce. If the couple does not get divorced, both spouses will continue to reap the benefits from their business.
  2. You Have Children From Your First Marriage: Individuals who get married later in life may have already been married previously and have children. Prenups and postnups are more common with second marriages since the couples have seen how divorce can lead to a contentious legal battle without one. Those who have children from their first marriage should consider signing a postnup to designate the division of assets in the event of his or her divorce or death. You and your second spouse may or may not be considering having children, but naming what is owed to the children of your first marriage is a good idea regardless of any new children that may or may not come along the way.
  3. You Received an Inheritance: It can seem uncomfortable to onlookers for those who are married to allocate what is theirs when they are not considering divorce. However, it is not a good idea to allow this stigma to result in your spouse receiving half of a large inheritance that has been indebted to you your entire life. For those who receive an inheritance in the middle of their marriage, it may be a good idea to write up a postnuptial agreement and make it clear that they intend to protect their inheritance during a divorce. 

Call a Joliet Postnuptial Agreement Lawyer

There has been some deliberation about the validity of postnuptial agreements, especially since they are signed after the start of a marriage. Illinois recognizes them, but there are a number of factors that could invalidate your entire agreement if they are included. It is important to seek out the assistance of an experienced attorney who is well versed in Illinois family law. The Foray Firm has a team of legal professionals who are waiting to assist you and your spouse with the creation of this legal agreement. If you are considering signing a prenup or would like more information about what this legal document can do for you, contact our Homewood prenuptial agreement attorneys at 312-702-1293 for a free consultation. 

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Will County family law attorney adoption

Adopting a child can be one of the most rewarding decisions you can make. Not only are you giving a child a home, but you are also expanding your family and building a special bond with another child. There are a number of things that you should complete before you finalize the adoption. Of course, there are fun things to do, like build a nursery and pick out baby clothes, but there are also a number of practical things that you should consider. These may not be as exciting as decorating the home your baby will come home to, but they are exceedingly important since the first year with a new child can be a busy one.

Talk to Your Workplace

There are a few things that you should hammer out with the company or business that you work at. In the same way that new biological mothers get maternity leave, you should discuss your options to have a similar experience as a new mom. Nowadays, many companies even allow men to have paternity leave to help care for their newborn. You should also ask the appropriate staff member about your healthcare plan if your employer provides it to you. For brand new parents, you must make sure your healthcare plan will cover your new child. This is crucial to do before your child comes home since there will likely be many doctor visits in their first year with you.

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