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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 lawyerDivorced and unmarried parents in Illinois are required to submit a parenting plan, or parenting agreement, to the court. The plan describes how the parents will allocate parental responsibilities and share parenting time. A shared parenting arrangement can leave one parent with significantly less parenting time than he or she would prefer. If you are looking for ways to increase your parenting time, one way to do so may be through the “right of first refusal.”

Understanding Your Right to Enjoy Additional Parenting Time

The right of first refusal refers to a parent’s right to gain additional parenting time when the parent who is assigned parenting time cannot fulfill this commitment. Consider the following example: A father is assigned parenting time, formerly called visitation, every other weekend. He misses his children and wishes he could spend more time with them. On one of the weekends that the children’s mother is assigned parenting time, she must leave town for a work obligation. Because the parents included directions about the right of first refusal in their parenting plan, the mother is required to notify the father about her work trip and give him the opportunity to care for the children during her absence. If the father cannot take on the additional parenting time, then the mother is permitted to find a third-party such as a babysitter or grandparent to care for the children.

Deciding How The Right of First Refusal Will Apply

Parents will need to decide how the right of first refusal will apply to their particular situation and include this information in their parenting plan. Parents should consider:

  • How long a parent’s absence must be in order for the right of first refusal to apply
  • How much advance notice the parent who is originally assigned parenting time should give the other parent if he or she will be absent
  • The amount of time that the other parent has to accept or refuse the additional parenting time
  • Transportation arrangements for the children

It is not always easy for parents to reach an agreement about the right of first refusal or the other terms of their parenting plan. Many parents find that mediation and guidance from an experienced child custody attorney are extremely helpful during the creation of a parenting plan.

Contact a St. Charles Child Custody Lawyer

Illinois parents who are planning to divorce will need to create a parenting plan that describes each parent’s child-related rights and responsibilities. If parents cannot reach an agreement about these issues, the court may need to intervene. For help negotiating the terms of your parenting plan and zealous representation during court proceedings, contact Shaw Family Law, P.C. Schedule a free, confidential consultation with a Kane County family law attorney from our firm by calling us at 630-584-5550 today.

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Posted on in Child Support

Illinois child support lawyerWhen a child support order is created, it is created to provide for the child’s needs effectively based on his or her parents’ income level. It is rare for a child support order to remain appropriate until the child turns 18, the point at which most child support orders terminate. If you are currently paying or receiving child support and your order no longer covers your child’s needs, you can modify your child support order.

Child Support Orders Are Eligible for Review Every Three Years

In Illinois, a child support order can be reviewed every three years to determine if it still meets the child’s needs without creating an undue burden on the child’s parents. During this review period, you and your former spouse have the right to request a modification to your order. After requesting a modification, the court reviews your request to determine whether it is appropriate and applicable.

If you receive child support enforcement services from the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services, you must prove that a modification would result in a difference of at least 20 percent of your current child support amount and one created with an updated application to state guidelines during this review period.

If an Immediate Change Is Necessary, You Will Have to Prove Why It Is Necessary

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Yes. But you cannot officially establish your child’s parentage until he or she is born. In other words, though you might know who fathered your unborn child, that man does not have parental rights until the child is born and if you are not currently married to him or were not married when the child was conceived until he officially acknowledges his parentage or the court makes this determination.

It is important to note that although the term “paternity” is often used in this type of discussion, the Illinois Parentage Act contains gender-neutral language. When a child is born, any individual who was married to the child’s mother at the time of conception or birth has automatic parental rights to the child, regardless of his or her gender.

Prenatal Paternity Testing

There are a few different ways to determine paternity before a child is born. The most accurate method is known as Non-Invasive Prenatal Paternity (NIPP). It can be performed any time after the eighth week of pregnancy by taking a sample of the alleged father’s blood and the mother’s blood and comparing it to the fetus’ DNA that can be found in the mother’s bloodstream.

Other methods of prenatal paternity testing include amniocentesis and chorionic villus sampling.

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Posted on in Mediation

illinois divorce attorneyIf you and your spouse decide to complete the divorce process through mediation, you will work with a divorce mediator to reach an appropriate, equitable divorce settlement. Although many divorce mediators are lawyers, your divorce mediator will not act in this role. Rather, he or she will act as a neutral third party who does not work “for” you or your spouse, but for a fair resolution to your divorce.

The Mediator Is There to Guide You Toward a Fair Settlement

In mediation, you and your spouse work with the mediator to reach agreements about your divorce settlement. The mediator acts as a guide to these conversations, asking questions about your marriage and divorce goals and helping you and your spouse work through your disagreements. You and your spouse will negotiate with each other under the mediator’s guidance.

A Mediator Asks Questions to Provoke Thought and Gain Insight

Arrive at your mediation sessions prepared to answer questions. The questions you could receive include:

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Posted on in Divorce

Illinois divorce attorneyWhen you are facing difficulties in your marriage, do not jump immediately to divorce. If you and your spouse are willing to put in the work, you can overcome your difficulties and emerge as a stronger couple than you were previously. But this is only possible if you are both committed to trying to save the marriage and even then, sometimes it is simply not possible.

The following four questions can help you and your spouse determine if you can save your marriage. Your answers might surprise you – you could learn something new about yourself or you could find that divorce is the right way to go.

Are You Both Willing to Take Action?

You cannot just stand back and wait for your problems to resolve themselves. You also cannot expect your spouse to do all the work to repair your marriage, even if he or she was the one who cheated or committed another transgression. You both have to be willing to make changes to your lifestyle and seek professional help if necessary.

Are You Both Willing to be Honest?

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyerIt is decidedly common for a noncustodial parent to be dissatisfied about the amount of child support that a court has ordered them to pay. However, this does not excuse them from paying it, even while a modification may be pending. If you are owed child support by your former spouse, this is referred to as an arrearage, and it must be paid, regardless of what other obligations your ex-spouse may have. In Illinois, there are various ways to collect on the debt.

Penalties for Non-Payment

If you owe child support and fall behind in payments without working out an alternative with your ex-spouse (or the court), the state of Illinois will be informed, and possibly federal authorities, depending on your location and the amount owed. If you attempt to disappear to avoid obligations, there are entities such as the Federal Parent Locator Service (FPLS) which exist to track down deadbeat parents, and you may be penalized more for attempting to shirk your commitments. In extreme cases, you may be jailed under the Illinois Non-Support Punishment Act.

If you are located, there are multiple ways in which the state or federal government may obtain the amount owed (in addition to any penalties assessed for your failure to pay), including withholding your tax refund to put toward the arrearage or garnishing your wages. In Illinois, a program called the Family Financial Responsibility Act (known colloquially as the “Deadbeats Don’t Drive” program) also has the power to suspend or revoke your driver’s license until arrearages are paid. It is important to remember that these methods are intended to collect the back child support owed, while any penalties assessed on top of that may have to be paid in a different manner.

When Support Ends

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