IL divorce lawyerDomestic violence is a hidden epidemic in Illinois and throughout the country. Millions of men and women suffer silently in abusive marriages because they are unaware of the resources they have at their disposal. In fact, the Illinois Coalition Against Domestic Violence served over 45,000 adults and nearly 9,000 children in the year 2019 alone. If you are ready to leave an abusive marriage, you should know that there are several steps you can take to protect yourself and your children.

Protecting Yourself and Documenting the Abuse or Harassment

In Illinois, what are often referred to as “restraining orders” are called orders of protection. An order of protection is a court order that prohibits an abusive person from further abuse or harassment. If the subject of the order, called the respondent, violates any of the terms of the protection order, he or she may be arrested and charged with a criminal offense. Furthermore, a protection order serves as a crucial record of the abuser’s actions that will be very important during any subsequent divorce or child custody cases.

Prohibiting your Spouse from Coming Near You

An emergency order of protection (EOP) is often issued on the same day on which it is requested. You do not have to wait to attend a hearing with your spouse in order to get an EOP. You must simply fill out the proper form and file it with the circuit clerk at your county courthouse. You will then attend a hearing and answer any questions the judge has about your request for protection. Your spouse does not have to know about the hearing.

The EOP may:

  • Prohibit your spouse from coming to your work or your children’s school
  • Force him or her to surrender firearms
  • Require your spouse to move out of your house
  • Prevent your spouse from contacting you or your children

An EOP lasts 10 days, however, you may be able to get a plenary order of protection if you require a longer protection period.

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IL family lawyerWhen most people think about child custody issues, they assume that the issue involves the child’s biological parents. However, non-parents such as grandparents can also be important figures in a child’s life. If you are a grandparent, you may be curious about your right to see your grandchild. You may wonder if there is any way that you can be granted visitation rights the way that a biological parent would be. In Illinois, grandparents can be issued visitation rights, but only in certain circumstances.

Grandparents Rights in Illinois

The Illinois state government generally assumes that parents know what is best for their child. However, if the wellbeing of the child is questioned, the government can step in. If a parent does not want their child to spend time with his or her grandparents, it is assumed that the parent has a good reason for doing so. However, this is a rebuttable presumption. If a grandparent can prove that spending time with a grandchild is necessary to protect the child’s wellbeing, the court may grant visitation rights to the grandparent.

Petitioning the Court for Grandparent Visitation

Sometimes, parents refuse to let their children see their grandparents. If you are a grandparent who has been denied access to your grandchild, you may want to gain court-ordered visitation. To do so, you will need to file a petition with the court. Because it is assumed that parents have their children’s best interests in mind, you will need to show evidence that the parents’ denial is causing undue physical or psychological harm to the grandchild. Additionally, you will need to show at least one of the following:

  • The parents are divorced or separated and at least one parent agrees to grandparent visitation
  • The parents are unmarried and living separately
  • One of the child’s parents is deceased or missing
  • One of the parents is “unfit” to care for the child
  • One of the parents has been incarcerated for 90 days or more

When deciding whether to grant grandparent visitation, the court will also consider the child’s preferences, the grandparent’s health, the quality of the grandchild – grandparent relationship, and several other factors.

Contact a Kane County Grandparents’ Rights Attorney

At Shaw Family Law, P.C., we understand how important grandparents are in the lives of their grandchildren. For help petitioning the court for grandparent visitation, contact a skilled St. Charles family lawyer from our firm today. Call 630-584-5550 for a free, confidential consultation.

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IL family lawyerExpanding your family through adoption can be one of the most rewarding choices you ever make. However, it is important to remember that adoption is a complex legal procedure. This is why individuals wishing to adopt are highly encouraged to work with an experienced adoption lawyer. Your lawyer can explain what is expected of you and can help you avoid obstacles that will hinder the adoption process. The type of adoption you are pursuing will determine the specific steps you will need to take in order to add a child into your family, however, there are some aspects of adoption that are the same for all Illinois adoptions.

Eligibility Requirements

In order to adopt a child in the state of Illinois, you must meet certain criteria. Typically, you must be 18 years old or older to adopt. The court may make exceptions to this requirement in some cases. Unless you are planning to adopt a relative, you must also have lived in Illinois for at least six months. The residency requirement is reduced to 90 days for those in the military. If you are pursuing any type of adoption other than a relative adoption, you will also need to pass a criminal background check.

Options for Adopting a Non-Relative

There are several avenues for adopting a child in Illinois. The most common is through a public or private adoption agency. You may also adopt a child through the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). Many of the children available for adoption through the DCFS have been removed from their original homes because of abuse or neglect. You also have the option of adopting a child directly from the birth parent(s) through a private adoption.

Steps Involved in Adopting a Child in Illinois

The first step in the legal adoption process is filing a petition or request to adopt with your local circuit court. Next, a guardian ad litem is appointed. This individual represents the child’s best interests and will oversee much of the adoption process. Adoptive parents seeking a non-relative adoption will be subject to a home study and background check. During the home study, an investigator will visit your home and ensure that it is a safe environment for children. The investigator may ask you questions about your reasons for seeking adoption, your thoughts and feelings about the potential adoption, and your finances. The investigator may also interview other household members. If the child’s biological parents still have their parental rights, the court will need to hold a hearing to determine if the biological parents’ rights should be terminated. You may be granted temporary custody of the child until the adoption is finalized. If the court finds that adoption is in the child’s best interests, the court will enter a judgment in your favor and grant the adoption.

Contact a St. Charles Adoption Lawyer

If you are interested in adoption, contact an experienced Kane County adoption attorney from Shaw Family Law, P.C. We can assist with relative adoptions, agency adoptions, private adoptions, and adoptions through the DCFS. Call our office today at 630-584-5550 and set up a free consultation to learn more.

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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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