IL custody lawyerThere are several ways that parental rights can be terminated in Illinois. For example, a father may lose his parental rights if the court finds that he is not the true biological or adoptive father of the child. The involuntary termination of parental rights may be a result of a parent being deemed “unfit” due to abuse, neglect, abandonment, or another issue. However, there are also circumstances in which a parent may choose to give up his or her parental rights. Voluntary termination of parental rights is often an important step in the adoption process. For help with issues related to the relinquishment of parental rights in Illinois, contact an experienced family law attorney.

Voluntary Relinquishment of Parental Rights Requires Court Approval

A parent who has terminated his or her parental rights loses the right to spend time with his or her child or have any decision-making authority regarding the child’s upbringing. Additionally, the parent will no longer be required to pay child support. However, a parent cannot simply give up his or her parental rights to avoid a child support obligation. Illinois courts make all child-related decisions based on what is in the child’s best interests. Therefore, courts usually only grant a voluntary termination of parental rights if there is another individual, such as a stepparent, who wants to adopt the child. If there is not an adoptive parent who is prepared to take on parenting responsibilities, a hearing must be held to determine whether or not the termination of parental rights is in the child’s best interests.

Relinquishment of Parental Rights For the Purpose of Adoption

Children can only have a maximum of two parents according to Illinois law. A parent may be asked to terminate his or her parental rights so that another parent can adopt the child. If the biological parent agrees to the adoption, he or she will fill out a Consent to Adoption form as well as an affidavit asserting that:

  • He or she is, in fact, the child’s biological parent
  • He or she understands that the child is being considered for adoption
  • He or she agrees to the adoption

A voluntary termination of parental rights may be eligible for reversal if the termination was the result of duress or fraud. The decision may also be reversed if the Department of Family Services files a motion to restore parental rights based on the best interests of the child.

Contact a St. Charles Child Custody Lawyer

Parents automatically have certain rights and responsibilities under Illinois law. However, these parental rights may be voluntarily or involuntarily terminated in certain circumstances. If you want to learn more about adoption or the termination of parental rights, contact a seasoned Illinois family law attorney at Shaw Family Law, P.C. Call our office today at 630-584-5550 and schedule a confidential consultation to discuss your needs.

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IL family lawyerDivorcing and unmarried couples with children often struggle to reach an agreement about child custody and visitation, called “the allocation of parental responsibilities” and “parenting time,” in Illinois. Divorcing parents are asked to create a “parenting plan” that addresses how the parents intend to share child-related duties. The plan contains information about which parent the child will spend time with and when, how parents will make major decisions about the child’s upbringing, transportation arrangements, and more. When parents cannot agree on one or more elements of a parenting plan, one option that may help them reach a resolution is family law mediation.

Parents May Be More Likely to Comply with Parenting Plans They Helped Create

During child custody litigation, the court considers arguments from each party and then decides on a parenting plan that is in the child’s best interests. During family law mediation, parents are encouraged to negotiate the unresolved issues and find solutions that both parents can agree to. This means that if the parents are successful in creating a parenting plan during mediation, the plan will contain input from both parents. It is much more likely that a parent will comply with a parenting plan that he or she helped create than a plan that was decided by the court.

Mediation Can Help Encourage a Positive Co-Parenting Relationship

Courtroom litigation can create an atmosphere of “us versus them” that may increase the level of bitterness and resentment between parents. On the other hand, mediation is designed to be a cooperative, respectful process in which both parents have the opportunity to voice their opinions. Parents who learn how to work out parenting issues during mediation build a strong foundation for amicably resolving co-parenting disagreements in the future. In the end, the people who often end up benefiting the most from family law mediation are the children.

Mediation is a Confidential, Cost-Effective Process

Statements made during litigation are a matter of public record. However, anything said during mediation is confidential – save for certain statements involving abuse or illegal activity. Parents can speak freely without worrying that private information will be shared with the public or that their statements will be used against them in court. Furthermore, family law mediation tends to be much less expensive than litigation.

Contact a Kane County Mediation Lawyer

For many parents, mediation is a great way to resolve child custody disagreements cooperatively and without the need for litigation. If you are considering mediation for your child-related legal dispute, Shaw Family Law, P.C. can help you determine whether mediation is the best choice for your unique situation, choose a quality mediator, and understand your rights during mediation. Call our office at 630-584-5550 to schedule a free consultation with a St. Charles family law attorney to discuss your needs.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_parenting_20200302-171405_1.jpgIf you are planning to divorce and you share children with your spouse, you will be required to create a “ parenting agreement” or parenting plan as part of your divorce. The parenting agreement will include key information about how you and your child’s other parent plan to share parental responsibilities and make important decisions about your children. Many divorcing spouses disagree regarding the terms of their parenting agreement. In these cases, mediation and assistance from an experienced family law attorney can be valuable resources.

Defining Each Parent’s Rights and Responsibilities

The parenting agreement is not simply another piece of divorce paperwork. This agreement will act as the main authority regarding each parent’s child-related responsibilities, expectations, and rights after the divorce. Illinois law identifies the elements that must be addressed in the parenting plan. These elements include:

  • How the parents will make significant decisions about the children
  • Each parent's parenting time (formerly called visitation)
  • Transportation arrangements
  • Each parent’s responsibility to notify the other of child-related emergencies, medical care, travel plans, or other significant matters
  • Each parent's right to access children’s school reports, extracurricular reports, medical records, and child care records
  • Directions for mediation if a parent wants to reallocate parenting time or parental responsibilities
  • Information about any future modifications of the parenting plan
  • Requirements regarding any future parental relocations or disputes about potential relocations
  • Directions regarding parent communication with the child during the other parent's parenting time
  • Each parent’s “right of first refusal” meaning each parent’s right to gain extra parenting time when the other parent cannot fulfill his or her parenting time obligation
  • The children's residential address for the purpose of school enrollment
  • Each parent's residential address, contact information, place of employment, and employment contact information and
  • Any other provision that addresses the children’s needs or that will help facilitate cooperative co-parenting

At a minimum, parents are required to adequately address the mandatory elements in their parenting plan. However, it may also be a good idea for parents to include additional information about how they plan to co-parent after their divorce. Voluntary elements in a parenting plan may not be legally enforceable, but this information can go a long way in helping parents avoid child-related disputes in the future.

Contact a Kane County Child Custody Lawyer

Understandably, divorcing parents may not always agree regarding child-related issues. If you are planning to divorce and you and your spouse are struggling to reach an arrangement about child custody or other child-related issues, Shaw Family Law is here to help. We have helped countless divorcing parents resolve divorce-related issues and protect the best interests of their children. Schedule a confidential consultation to discuss your needs with an experienced Illinois family law attorney from our firm by calling us at 630-584-5550 today.

 

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IL custody lawyerIt has been slow going, but the LGBTQ community is steadily gaining more and more equal rights as everybody else. It has been three years now since marriage between same-sex partners has been legal nationwide, but some legal issues are still more difficult for an LGBTQ couple than a heterosexual couple. In the case of divorce, the process of child custody determination is more difficult for a same-sex couple especially if the child is being shared by two fathers.

Illinois Parentage Act of 2015

When same-sex marriage became legal in 2015, the state of Illinois also passed the Parentage Act which provides a guideline when it comes to child custody. The act includes changes in language to suit same-sex marriages; now, there is a gender-neutral presumption of parentage in that a child can have a relationship with another parent other than its mother, but that adult does not have to be male.

Adoption makes the presumption of parentage a little more tricky, but for same-sex marriages that consist of two males, it is one of the only options if the pair want children. If an adoption occurs, both parents should legally adopt the child so that both can be considered parental figures in the minor’s life.

According to the Parentage Act, a person can be presumed parents of the minor if:

  • The child was born during a civil union or marriage
  • The child was born within 300 days of the end of the civil union or marriage
  • The child was born during a civil union or marriage even if the union is later considered invalid
  • After the child is born, the other person enters into marriage - even if invalid - with the minor’s mother

Any of these conditions can be rebutted as long as the attorney has sufficient evidence to fight the presumed parenthood.

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IL divorce lawyerFamily vacations are a common occurrence in the summertime. Your children have time away from their academics and the beautiful weather typically motivates families to spend time away from their home state. Whether or not you and your family regularly took vacations, your summer will probably look different post-divorce. It is important to reflect on summer plans in light of your divorce with summer vacation beginning in a few weeks. Continue reading to help plan your summer and spend quality time with your children.

What You Need to Consider

  1. Financial Planning: For most families, money is set aside to pay for family vacations. The planning is done well in advance to avoid budget issues and travel restrictions. Family vacations after divorce will problem happen less frequently due to the supply of funding coming from a single income rather than two. If you would like to take a vacation, it would be advantageous to plan it out well in advance.

  2. Look at your Parenting Plan: You will now have to verify your plans with your former spouse if you share custody. Most parenting plans will have specified rules about which holidays are spent with which parent. The plans also have legal requirements on how much time must be spent with each parent. If you plan on taking your child for more than your usual time allotted, you will have to run this by your former spouse. This can typically be done without the intervention of an attorney depending on your relationship.

  3. Traditions May Be in the Past: Many families have the family tradition to go on one vacation every summer. This can be difficult to let go of but is not always feasible for divorcees. A good outlook on things is to end old traditions and start new ones. You may have to trade in your tradition vacation spot for a newer, more economical option. Not only will this be helpful for your wallet, but it can also feel like a fresh start for many parents.

Contact a Kane County Divorce Attorney for Help

Family vacations may not be on your mind while you are involved in the divorce proceedings; however, this can be very important for some families. Discussing this with your spouse during the divorce process can help alleviate the stress once the paperwork is finalized. It can be helpful to divide holidays and vacations in the contract to avoid discussing this afterwards. If you are considering divorce and need assistance, contact our experienced St. Charles, IL divorce attorneys at 630-584-5550 for a free consultation.

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