il adoption attorneyThere are a number of reasons that a child may be placed in the Illinois foster care system. Some children are orphaned after their biological parents pass away. Other times, a child enters the foster care system because his or her parents lost their parental rights due to abandonment, abuse, or neglect. Choosing to foster parent a child gives him or her the loving home he or she deserves. However, it is also a tremendous responsibility. If you are interested in foster parenting a child or you want to adopt your current foster child, make sure you educate yourself about the person and legal implications involved.

Foster Parenting Versus Adoption

Being a foster parent and adopting a child are two totally different legal processes. When a child is adopted, his or her adoptive parents become the child’s legal parents and take on all of the rights and responsibilities associated with parentage. Adoption is also permanent. When you foster a child, you do not receive the same rights as an adoptive parent would receive. Depending on the situation, the child’s biological parents may still have involvement and decision-making authority in the child’s life. A foster child placed in your care may only stay with you for a certain length of time before he or she is returned to his or her parents or adopted by another family. Sometimes, foster parents are able to formally adopt their foster child and make him or her a permanent member of their family.

How Do I Become a Foster Parent?

Being a foster parent is likely to be one of the most rewarding and one of the most challenging experiences you will ever have. To qualify for foster parenting, you must be at least 21 years old. You may be married, single, divorced, or separated. Before you are cleared to become a foster parent, you will need to:

  • Pass criminal background check
  • Submit to a social assessment and home inspection conducted by the Illinois Department of Child and Family Services
  • Demonstrate that you are financially stable enough to care for a child
  • Complete a health examination and verify that your immunizations are up-to-date.
  • Complete 27 hours of foster parent training which will help you better meet the needs of the children placed in your care

Contact a St. Charles Adoption Lawyer

Being a foster parent and adopting a child are two completely different processes. If you are interested in learning what it will take for you to adopt a foster child in your care, Shaw Family Law, P.C. can help. Contact our skilled Kane County family law attorneys at 630-584-5550 for a free consultation.

 

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IL divorce lawyerIf you are a parent who is considering divorce, you are probably concerned about how divorce will affect your children. You may also be unsure of what steps you will need to take to establish child support or arrange a co-parenting schedule. Divorce involving children can often be complicated and emotionally-charged. Fortunately, you do not have to face the divorce process alone. A family law attorney can be a valuable resource during this challenging time in your life.

Creating a Parenting Plan

Divorcing parents in Illinois are asked to create a parenting plan or parenting agreement. In the plan, you will describe how you and your child’s other parent will handle child-related responsibilities. The parenting plan must include:

  • A parenting time (visitation) schedule or method for determining a parenting time schedule
  • Transportation arrangements for the child
  • How you will make important decisions about the child
  • Each parents right to be informed of child-related emergencies, healthcare, and other significant concerns
  • Information about any future parental relocations
  • And several other provisions

Reaching an agreement about all of the elements in your parenting plan may be quite difficult. One option that has helped countless parents resolve child-related disagreements is mediation. During family law mediation, you and your child’s other parent will work with a specially-trained mediator to negotiate parenting issues and reach an agreement that serves your child’s best interests.

Establishing Child Support

In the majority of divorce cases involving parents, a parent is ordered to pay child support. The parent with the majority of the parenting time is the recipient of child support and the other parent pays child support. The amount that payments will be is largely determined by the parents’ net incomes. If each parent has the child at least 146 overnights a year, this is a “shared parenting” arrangement. Because each parent has the child a relatively equal amount of time, child support is reduced accordingly.

Helping Your Child Cope With The Divorce

Children can have a wide range of reactions to divorce. If you and your spouse were obviously unhappy together, it is possible that the divorce may even be a relief to your child. It is also possible that your child will be very upset or angry when he or she learns of the divorce. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to help your child cope with the major changes taking place in his or her life. Experts encourage parents to avoid arguing or discussing legal issues related to the divorce in front of their children. Keeping your child’s routine as close to normal during the transition can also help lessen his or her stress. Above all else, make sure your child knows that he or she is still loved and cared about and that the divorce is not his or her fault.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_adoption_20200716-210037_1.jpgA person does not need to be a blood relative of a child in order to love and care about him or her. If you married someone who already had a child, it is very possible that you have spent a great deal of time getting to know the child and providing for his or her needs. You may even think of the child as if he or she was your own biological offspring. If this situation describes you, you may be wondering what it takes to adopt your stepchild. Stepparent adoptions can sometimes be complicated personally as well as legally. This is why it is a good idea to work with a skilled family law attorney who has experience handling stepparent adoption cases.

Stepparent Adoption Criteria

Stepparent adoption is a significantly different process than other types of adoption. In many cases, an investigation by the Department of Children and Family Services or background check is not required. In order to qualify for a stepparent adoption the following criteria must be met:

  • The stepparent is legally married to the child’s parent. Boyfriends and girlfriends cannot proceed with a stepparent adoption even if they have been heavily involved in the child’s life.
  • If the child is 14-years-old or older, he or she must agree to the adoption. Teenagers have the ability to block a stepparent adoption.
  • The parental rights of the child’s other parent have been terminated.

According to the law, a child can only have two legal parents. If your stepchild’s other parent is still alive, he or she will need to terminate his or her parental rights in order for you to be able to adopt the child.

Reasons for the Termination of Parental Rights

In some cases, a parent may voluntarily terminate his or her parental rights in order to allow a stepparent adoption. However, if the other parent does not consent to the adoption, the process becomes more complicated. If you wish to adopt your stepchild but your child’s other parent objects to the adoption, the only way you can adopt the child is by having the other parent’s parental rights involuntarily terminated. The court will terminate the parent’s rights if it determines that the parent is “unfit.”. According to Illinois law, a parent may be considered unfit if he or she:

  • Has abused the child physically, sexually, or psychologically
  • Has abandoned or severely neglected the child
  • Has failed to protect the child from danger
  • Has shown a marked disinterest in the child’s wellbeing
  • Has a major substance abuse problem
  • Has certain criminal convictions on his or her record

Once the other parent has terminated his or her parental rights and the child, if old enough, has consented to the adoption, you may file your adoption request in the county circuit court.

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IL divorce lawyerIf you are thinking about adopting a child, you probably have many questions about what the process entails. The steps involved in an Illinois adoption vary dramatically depending on the type of adoption being pursued. Whether you are interested in adopting a relative such as a stepchild, an infant through an adoption agency, an international child, or you are interested in another adoption avenue, getting quality legal support is essential.

Types of Adoption

Relative adoptions: In some cases, a person or a couple may want to adopt a child who is related to them. Many relative adoptions involve a stepparent who wishes to adopt his or her spouse’s child. A child can only have two parents according to the law, so some relative adoptions may require the child’s biological parent to give up his or her parental rights. If the parent is unwilling to do so, the court may involuntarily terminate the parental rights if the parent is found to be “unfit” due to abuse, abandonment, or other issues.

Agency adoptions: Many adoptions take place through private or public adoption agencies.. Public adoption agencies usually care for children who are wards of the state due to abandonment, abuse, or because they are orphans. Many private adoption agencies are managed by charities and social service organizations. Children in private adoption agencies may have been placed for adoption by their parents because the parents believed that adoption would give their child a better life than they could provide on their own.

Private adoptions: Not all non-relative adoptions involve an agency. In a private adoption, adoptive parents work directly with the biological parent. However, there are still a number of legal procedures and requirements that must be met. It is especially important to work with an experienced lawyer during a private adoption. It is also essential to note that the biological mother of a child in a private adoption may change her mind up until the baby is born and she legally signs her consent for the adoption.

International adoptions: Adopting a child from another country comes with a variety of unique legal and financial complications. You will need to be in compliance with U.S. laws as well as the adoption laws in the country you are adopting from. Parents will also need to get an immigrant visa for their child through the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

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IL divorce lawyerDomestic violence is surprisingly common both in the state of Illinois as well as around the country. Sadly, many victims of abuse stay silent because they do not realize that there are programs that can help them leave an abusive relationship. In Illinois, victims of abuse and stalking have the ability to get a legal court order called an “order of protection.” Protection orders, also called restraining orders in some states, may prohibit the subject of the order from contacting certain protected individuals or going to certain locations. If you have suffered from domestic violence or you are worried that a family or household member may attempt to harm you or your children, you may want to consider obtaining an order of protection.

Emergency Orders of Protection

A protection order can be customized based on your unique needs. It may protect you, your children, anyone who lives or works in your house, adults with disabilities, and your pets. An Emergency Order of Protection (EOP) can include many different types of provisions. The EOP may prohibit the abuser from contacting the victim(s) of the protection order including calling, emailing, or texting them. It may also require the abuser to stay a certain distance away from the victim(s) and their home, school, or workplace. Depending on your situation, the protection order may also result in the revocation of the abuser’s Firearm Owner Identification Card which takes away his or her legal right to possess a gun. An EOP can be obtained without the abusive person’s presence and lasts up to 21 days.

Interim Orders of Protection and Plenary Orders of Protection

When someone obtains an Emergency Order of Protection, they will typically schedule a court date for a Plenary Order of Protection hearing. During the Plenary hearing, a judge will listen to your reasons for requesting the protection order and examine evidence that supports your side of the story. Your abuser will also be notified of the hearing and given an opportunity to tell his or her side of the story. If the judge grants the Plenary Order of Protection, it can last up to two years. If you need protection between the termination of the EOP and the start of the Plenary Order of Protection, you may be able to receive an Interim Order of Protection. If an abusive person violates any of the terms of a protection order, he or she is subject to immediate arrest and a variety of criminal consequences.

Contact a Kane County Protection Order Lawyer

Leaving an abusive spouse or escaping other forms of abuse can be a very daunting endeavor. Fortunately, you do not have to face the process alone. Shaw Family Law, P.C. can help you with obtaining a protection order, represent you during the Plenary hearing, and ensure that your rights are not violated. Call our office at 630-584-5550 today to schedule a free, confidential consultation with an experienced St. Charles family law attorney from our firm.

 

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