Posted on in Family Law

IL family lawyerChoosing to adopt a child is a life-changing decision for both the potential parents and the child. Though you may have made up your mind about adopting, the process involves much more than just a signature on paper. One of the first choices that must be made is the type of adoption you wish to have. Common misconceptions about domestic and international adoptions often lead people into selecting the latter; however, many people fail to realize that international adoption is not always the best choice for every family.

Cost

Many people believe that international adoption costs far less than domestic adoption, but this is often not the case. According to Adoptive Families’ 2016 survey, the average cost to adopt from China was $36,070, Ethiopia was $38,667, and South Korea was $46,412. These are three of the most popular countries to adopt from, with China taking the lead at 2,354 adoptions to the U.S. in 2015. That same year, the average cost for domestic adoption through an attorney totaled $34,594.

Many people fail to recognize the travel and medical expenses that are involved in international adoptions. Often times the adoptive parents must get vaccinated, along with their future child, and make multiple trips to their future child’s country of origin. Travel and medical expenses greatly increase the cost of international adoptions.

Timing

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 IL divorce lawyerWhen an individual is unhappy with his or her marriage, the obvious solution is for him or her to file for divorce. In some cases, the individual has another option: annulment. An annulment is different from a divorce in that it officially breaks down an invalid marriage, rather than legally dismantling a legitimate one. Annulments are rare in Illinois, but a judge may award one when an individual provides sufficient documentation to show that he or she is in an invalid marriage.

If you are in an invalid marriage, meaning that the marriage is not legally binding for some reason, an annulment is a way to officially recognize that the marriage is invalid and relieve you of any obligations you face related to it. In most cases, each party simply reverts to the lifestyle he or she led before the marriage, complete with his or her separate assets, after an annulment. When necessary, the court may create a property division or spousal maintenance order for a couple annulling their marriage. Any children born into an invalid marriage have the same rights as children born to married and unmarried parents.

Valid Reasons to Annul a Marriage in Illinois

In Illinois, a marriage may be annulled for any of the following reasons:

  • One spouse cannot engage in sexual intercourse;
  • The couple is closely related to each other;
  • One spouse or both spouses were already married to another person when the marriage was performed;
  • One or both spouses were underage and did not have parental permission to marry when the marriage was performed;
  • At least one spouse was unable to consent to the marriage due to mental incapacity, duress, or being under the influence of drugs when the marriage was performed; and
  • One or both spouses entered the marriage fraudulently. An example of a fraudulent marriage is one where a resident alien marries a citizen to avoid deportation.

Certain Grounds Have Time Limits for Annulments

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 IL divorce lawyerWhen you marry another single parent, you create a blended family. Whether you both have your children living in your house full-time or the children move in and out of the home according to their parenting time schedules, you and your spouse are the heads of a new family unit. Integrating your children into your new blended family is not always easy. The tips below can help you make the transition less stressful for you, your spouse, and your children.

Create New Family Hobbies and Traditions

Every family has their special traditions and hobbies they enjoy. Now is the time to cultivate the family traditions you and your spouse will enjoy with your children. Determine a few fun, age-appropriate activities the whole family can enjoy and make them part of your routine. They do not have to be expensive or complex – just enjoyable.

Maintain Consistent Household Rules and Expectations

If you and your spouse decide that all the children are expected to finish their homework before dinner, maintain this expectation equally for all children. Enforcing certain rules more strictly with one “set” of children and maintaining different expectations for them can cause conflict and make your children feel like you are showing favoritism.

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IL divorce lawyerIt is easy to feel inundated with information about what to expect when you are expecting. Few pregnant women expect to get divorced while they are expecting, but it happens. Here is what you can expect from your divorce and the months that follow when you are pregnant.

You Can Make Parenting Decisions, but you Cannot Establish a Parenting Plan Before Birth

Talk to your partner about the parenting plan you will put into place when the baby is born.

Though you cannot create an official parenting plan before birth, you can be ready with tentative agreements regarding parenting time and responsibilities after your child is born.

A parenting plan for a newborn is much different from a parenting plan for an older child, especially if you plan to breastfeed and thus will need to be present almost constantly. A newborn’s attachment needs and sleep schedule also need to be taken into consideration when developing a parenting plan. Keep in mind that the parenting plan you establish shortly after birth can be modified later as your child grows.

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Illinois divorce lawyerIn a healthy relationship, both parties can manage their own emotional and personal needs. In a codependent relationship, one or both partners cannot do this for themselves, so they rely on each other to manage all their personal needs. Do not confuse emotionally supporting a spouse with codependency – in a healthy marriage, both partners should be expected to be there for each other. Codependency goes beyond this level of emotional support. Codependency describes a relationship where one partner sacrifices his or her own needs to fulfill the other’s, causing him or her to suffer from the difficulties that come with poor coping mechanisms like internalized shame, people-pleasing behavior, and perfectionism to the point of fearing failure. A codependent relationship is not healthy for either party or if they have children, the children. Often, divorce is an important step toward recovering from codependency.

Recognizing Codependency in Your Marriage

Often, a codependent spouse is known as an enabler. The term “codependency” first arose to describe spouses of alcoholics, because often, they would exhibit this type of behavior and enable their spouses to continue to drink dangerously. Individuals in abusive relationships and relationships with addicts also frequently exhibit codependent behavior.

Codependency symptoms can be seen in the spouse who is not addictive or abusive. It is the enabler who suffers these symptoms, which include:

  • Low self-esteem;
  • Reactivity;
  • Little to no respect for others’ boundaries;
  • Internalized shame;
  • Learned helplessness;
  • Difficulty with communication;
  • A need to control others and situations; and
  • Denial that there is anything unhealthy about their relationship.

Preparing for Your Divorce

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