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IL divorce lawyerArguments about finances are common among married couples. However, there are some situations in which money becomes a tool that an abusive spouse uses to control and manipulate the other spouse. Financial abuse is not discussed as frequently as physical abuse, but the consequences of financial abuse can be just severe as physical violence. If you have been a victim of financial abuse and are planning to end your marriage, you should know about the ways that financial abuse can impact your divorce.

When Control Over Money Crosses the Line

Many people like to keep track of their income and expenses, stick to a budget, and have tight control over their finances. However, there are times when control over finances becomes abusive. Financial abuse is typically defined as controlling a person’s ability to obtain, use, or save money or property. It may also involve stealing or withholding funds or property from the rightful owner. Some signs that you may be a victim of financial abuse at the hand of your spouse include:

  • Your spouse spends money you have earned without your consent
  • Your spouse insists on having your bank passwords and other financial data
  • Your spouse demands that you turn over your paychecks to him or her
  • Your spouse requires you to ask permission to spend even a small amount of money or gives you an “allowance”
  • Your spouse does not allow you to work or make your own money
  • Your spouse makes all of the financial decisions without your input
  • Your spouse uses threats, intimidation, or violence in order to access or control your money
  • Your spouse sabotages your efforts to become more financially independent

Divorce Involving a History of Financial Exploitation or Manipulation

If you are planning to divorce and you have been a victim of financial abuse, you need to take steps to protect your rights during divorce. If it is safe to do so, gather copies of important financial documents like tax returns and credit card statements. Consult with a divorce lawyer experienced in handling cases involving financial intimidation or domestic abuse. Your lawyer can provide legal support throughout your divorce. He or she will protect your rights and make sure that you are not tricked into a divorce settlement that is lower than what you deserve.

Contact a Kane County Divorce Lawyer

If you are planning to divorce and you have been a victim of financial abuse, you need a strong advocate on your side. Contact a St. Charles divorce attorney from Shaw Family Law, P.C. for dependable legal guidance at every step in the divorce process. Our team can help with property and debt division, child custody, child support, and much more. Call our office at 630-584-5550 and schedule a free consultation.

 

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IL family lawyerIf you are currently divorced or soon will be, you probably have questions about the financial implications of your divorce. One issue that many divorced parents are concerned about is their child’s college expenses. The average tuition for an Illinois public college is just under $5,500 a year. For out of state schools, tuition can be upwards of $20,000 a year. The average cost for a private college education in Illinois is almost $30,000 a year. Understandably, most parents experience “sticker shock” when they realize how expensive their child’s college education will likely be. They may also wonder how this cost will be divided between them and their child’s other parent.

Allocation of College Tuition for Unmarried and Divorced Parents

As with many other child-related matters, divorced or unmarried parents in Illinois have the opportunity to determine their own arrangements for financing their child’s college education. If parents cannot reach an agreement, the court may intervene. Parents’ financial responsibility for their child after he or she has turned 18 and graduated high school is referred to as “non-minor support.” Typically, parents are only responsible for non-minor support during the child’s undergraduate degree.

Factors Considered by Illinois Courts

Illinois judges have the authority to allocate college expenses between parents who are unmarried or divorced. These expenses may include costs related to tuition and fees, on-campus or off-campus housing, textbooks, and healthcare. If a child is living with one of his or her parents while he or she attends college, the parents may still be jointly responsible for costs related to transportation, food, and utilities. Unlike child support, there is no statutory formula for determining college expenses in Illinois. The amount each parent must contribute to the child’s college tuition and living expenses is at the judge’s discretion. Courts consider the following factors when determining how to allocate college costs:

  • Each parent’s financial resources
  • The child’s financial resources
  • The standard of living the child would have experienced if the parents were married
  • The child’s academic performance

Illinois law uses the present costs of tuition, fees, and housing at the University of Illinois, Champaign / Urbana to set the maximum amount of money a parent can be required to contribute to their child’s college education. The parents’ obligation terminates if the child does not maintain at least a “C” average or turns 23 years old. Upon good cause, such as the child’s medical problems or military service, the parent’s obligation may be extended until the child’s 25th birthday.

Contact a Kane County Child Support Lawyer

If you are unmarried, divorced, or considering divorce, contact Shaw Family Law, P.C. for help with issues related to child support, the allocation of college expenses, and much more. Schedule a cost-free, confidential consultation with a knowledgeable St. Charles family law attorney by calling our office at 630-584-5550 today.

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IL custody lawyerWhen you are a parent, getting a divorce does not only affect you and your spouse, it can also have a dramatic impact on your child. If your child has an intellectual or physical disability, you may wonder how you can minimize your child’s stress during this difficult transition. You may have concerns about the emotional effects the divorce will have on your child as well as the logistical and financial issues you will need to address. Although there is no perfect way to handle divorce as a parent of a child with disabilities, there are several steps you can take that may lessen the strain experienced by the whole family.

Minimize the Contentiousness Between You and Your Spouse

Numerous studies have shown that children are very sensitive to parental tension and hostility. One of the best things you can do for your child is to make your divorce as cooperative and respectful as possible. Many parents find that family law mediation allows them to resolve divorce issues such as property division and parental responsibilities without going through a stressful and contentious court trial. During mediation, you and your spouse will meet with a skilled mediator who helps keep discussions focused on solutions rather than accusations, blame, or irrelevant subjects.

Keep Your Child’s Routines as Normal as Possible

Whether your child has a physical disability or an intellectual disability like autism, one thing you can do to lessen the negative impact of divorce on him or her is to keep established routines and schedules the same. Your child’s life is about to change in countless different ways. One way to give him or her a sense of security is to keep morning routines, bedtime, mealtimes, and household rules as consistent as possible. You may be tempted to relax the rules or spoil your child during this tumultuous period in his or her life, but experts say that doing this may actually worsen your child’s stress.

Plan for Your Child’s Financial Future

Disabled children may need specific medical equipment, physical therapy, mental health counseling, and other specialized medical care. The costs of these special needs can certainly add up and will need to be addressed during your divorce. Typically, the parent with the majority of the parenting time receives child support from the noncustodial parent until the child reaches adulthood. Fortunately, Illinois allows children with disabilities to continue receiving child support even after they have turned 18 and/or graduated high school. This financial support may go to the child, the parent with whom the child lives, the facility in which the child lives, or into a special needs trust.

Contact a Kane County Divorce Lawyer

Having a child with special needs can complicate the already complex process of ending a marriage. For help with questions or concerns related to child custody, child support, property division, and much more, contact Shaw Family Law, P.C. Call our office today at 630-584-5550 and schedule a confidential consultation with one of our skilled St. Charles divorce attorneys to discuss your needs.

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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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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 lawyerIllinois child support payment amounts are typically based on the “Income Shares” model. This model uses each parent’s net income, the amount of parenting time each parent is responsible for, and a specially designed formula to determine how much child support an obligor parent must pay. However, this child support calculation method may not be reasonable or appropriate in certain circumstances. Illinois law gives courts the option to deviate from the Income Shares guidelines if the court finds that a deviation is in the best interests of the child.

Child Support Calculations

By law, Illinois courts must follow the Income Shares guidelines for determining child support unless the court finds that a deviation would be more beneficial to the child. Courts consider the following factors when determining whether or not to deviate from the guidelines:

  • The child’s financial resources
  • The child’s physical and emotional wellbeing
  • The needs of the child including his or her educational needs
  • The parents’ income, assets, and financial needs
  • The standard of living the child would most likely have experienced if his or her parents were married

If you or your child’s other parent has a very high income or other special circumstances that may necessitate a deviation from the Income Shares child support calculation method, contact an experienced family law attorney. Your lawyer can help you petition the court to disregard the usual calculation method and instead make a child support determination that takes into consideration your unique situation.

Modifying an Existing Child Support Order

Life is constantly changing and sometimes parents need to adjust their child support order to reflect those changes. In Illinois, the Department of Healthcare and Family Services Division of Child Support Services gives parents the right to request a child support modification review every three years. During the modification review, the court evaluates the parents’ financial circumstances and other information in order to determine whether or not the child support order should be adjusted. Parents may also be granted a child support modification if a “substantial change in circumstances” necessitates the modification or if the child support order deviates from the Income Shares guidelines by more than 20 percent.

Contact a Kane County Child Support Lawyer

Child support issues can be especially complex when one or both parents have a high income or other extenuating circumstances. For help establishing child support, enforcing a current child support order, modifying child support, and more, contact Shaw Family Law. Set up a free initial consultation with an accomplished St. Charles family law attorney by calling our office at 630-584-5550 today.

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IL divorce lawyerWhen divorcing spouses share children together, the divorce process is often much more involved than divorces not involving children. This is especially true if the spouses are not able to reach an agreement about the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time. In some divorce cases involving child-related disputes, a guardian ad litem (GAL) is appointed to act as a child representative. The judge may assign a GAL to the case or a spouse may request for a GAL to be assigned. The opinion of a guardian ad litem can have a major impact on the outcome of a child custody case.

Understanding the Role of a Guardian Ad Litem

Unfortunately, in many custody disputes, one or both parents are more interested in “winning” the case than working toward a custody arrangement that is in the child’s best interests. During a contentious divorce case, the wishes and needs of the children can become obscured. A guardian ad litem is a lawyer who represents the child’s best interests. He or she is tasked with investigating the facts of the case and eventually developing an opinion about what type of child custody arrangement is best for the child. This may be accomplished through evaluating the child’s residence as well as interviewing parents, siblings, teachers, daycare workers, and other people involved in the child’s life. The GAL will also look for evidence that suggests a living environment may be unsafe for the child. He or she may analyze criminal records, health records, school records, and any past or present Child Protective Services cases. The GAL then shares his or her findings and overall opinion with the judge. Although the judge is not required to follow the GAL’s recommendation, this recommendation will most likely carry substantial weight.

Should I Request a GAL?

Some divorcing spouses misunderstand the purpose of a guardian ad litem. They assume that the GAL is an additional attorney who will help them argue their side during the divorce process. However, the GAL does not “work” for one spouse or the other. His or her only allegiance is to the child or children involved in the dispute. You should only request a GAL if you are prepared to be honest and fully cooperate with his or her investigation. If the GAL catches you in a lie, this could significantly reduce your credibility. Many parents request a guardian ad litem because they have concerns that the other parent is not capable of providing a safe, loving home for their child. If you want to learn more about requesting a guardian ad litem, speak to an experienced child custody attorney.

Contact a St. Charles Child Custody Lawyer

A guardian ad litem is a lawyer who is responsible for investigating the facts of a child-related legal dispute and presenting a recommendation to the judge. To discuss whether or not assigning a guardian ad litem to your case may be right for you, contact Shaw Family Law, P.C. Call our office today at 630-584-5550 and schedule a free consultation with an accomplished Illinois family law attorney from our firm.

 

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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 family lawyerIf you are getting divorced or you are an unmarried parent, you may have questions about how child custody, called the allocation of parental responsibilities in Illinois, is handled. You have probably seen phrases such as, “The court will determine a parenting time schedule that is in the child’s best interests.” You may have wondered what the phrase “best interests” actually means in this context.

Determining What is in a Child’s Best Interests

When a married couple with children gets divorced or an unmarried couple has a child together, they have the option of creating their own arrangement for parenting time and parental responsibilities. Parents who need help negotiating a parenting plan may benefit from the help of a qualified mediator. However, even with mediation, coming to an agreement about the allocation of parental responsibilities is not possible for some parents. In cases like this, the court will consider a number of factors to determine a parenting arrangement that is in the child’s best interests. These factors include but are not limited to:

  • Each parent’s wishes regarding custody
  • The mental and physical health of the parents
  • The wishes of the child if he or she is old enough to express these wishes
  • The relationship the child has with his or her parents, siblings, and any other individuals who may affect his or her best interests
  • Each parent’s ability to facilitate a good relationship between the child and the other parent
  • The child’s adjustment to his or her home, school, and neighborhood
  • Any domestic violence or abuse that has occurred and
  • Whether or not either of the parents is a sex offender

Unless there has been ongoing abuse as defined in the Illinois Domestic Violence Act of 1986, Illinois courts typically assume that it is in the child’s best interests to have both of his or her parents highly involved in his or her life.

Contact an Aurora Child Custody Lawyer

When parents cannot agree on child custody issues, the court will decide for them. The parents’ wishes, the wishes of the child, any history of abuse, the health of the parents, and many other factors are considered by Illinois courts when making child custody determinations. If you are in a custody dispute, contact Shaw Family Law, P.C. for help. Schedule a free consultation with a proficient Kane County family law attorney by calling us at 630-584-5550.

 

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IL family lawyerOrders of protection, sometimes called restraining orders, are court orders designed to prevent an abusive or harassing individual from further harassing his or her victim. The directions contained in a protection order vary, but many prohibit the person named in the order, the respondent, from contacting or coming within a certain distance of the person who requested the order, called the petitioner. If you or your children are victims of domestic violence, an order of protection may give you the space you need to escape the abusive situation. An order of protection is also a critical step in creating a formal record of the respondent’s harmful actions with the court.

Emergency Orders of Protection Can Be Obtained Without a Hearing

There are three main types of protection orders available in Illinois: an emergency order of protection, interim order of protection, and plenary order of protection. An emergency order of protection (EOP) can be obtained without the respondent’s participation. This is called an 'ex parte' hearing.

To obtain an EOP, you will submit a petition for an emergency order of protection with your local county courthouse. In your petition, explain why you are seeking a protection order and describe the abusive or threatening actions the respondent has committed. An EOP lasts up to 21 days. The order can prohibit the abusive person from coming within a certain distance from or contacting you and/or your children.

The order may also require the person to surrender his or her firearms. The judge can set any other restrictions that he or she finds appropriate. When the court grants an EOP, it also sets a hearing date for a more permanent protection order called a plenary order of protection.

Interim Orders of Protection and Plenary Orders of Protection

A plenary order can last up to two years. You will need to attend a hearing in order to be granted a plenary order of protection. During the hearing, you will need to justify why you are requesting protection from the court. The respondent will have the chance to respond to the accusations leveled against him or her.

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Posted on in Divorce

IL divorce lawyerAlthough we generally think of divorce as the main way to end a marriage, there is technically another means of “undoing” a marriage in Illinois. Annulment is a legal process through which an individual’s invalid marriage is canceled. Unlike a divorce, an annulment makes it as if a person was never married. In Illinois, annulment is referred to as a Declaration of Invalidity. Not just anyone is eligible for a Declaration of Invalidity. You must meet certain criteria in order to have your marriage annulled in Illinois.

Why Do People Get Their Marriages Annulled?

There are a wide variety of reasons that a person may wish to get their marriage annulled. A person may decide to get married on a whim and then later realize that getting married was a mistake. Sometimes, spouses seek an annulment because they learn information about their partner which makes their marriage unreasonable or legally unenforceable. Other times, a person seeks an annulment because they could not legally consent to the marriage in the first place. Many people also seek annulments for religious reasons. However, it is important to note that an annulment through a church or other religious institution is not the same as a legal annulment through the courts.

Grounds for Annulment in Illinois

You must meet certain criteria in order to qualify for an annulment in Illinois. You may be able to have your marriage annulled if:

  • The marriage is prohibited by law because you and your spouse are close relatives.
  • The marriage is bigamous because one of the spouses is still legally married to another person.
  • You or your spouse cannot physically engage in sexual intercourse and the other spouse was unaware of this inability at the time of the marriage.
  • You or your spouse were under age 16 when you got married or were aged 16 or 17 and did not have the required parental permission to marry.
  • You or your spouse were unable to consent to the marriage because you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol or were otherwise incapacitated at the time of the marriage.
  • The marriage was entered into through fraud. For example, someone who gets married for the sole purpose of avoiding deportation is in a fraudulent marriage.
  • You or your spouse entered into the marriage through force or coercion.

There are certain statutes of limitations that restrict when a person can get an annulment in Illinois. If you are seeking an annulment due to mental incapacity, fraud, duress, force, or intoxication, you must file a petition for annulment within 90 days of learning of the issue. If the marriage is invalid because the spouses are underage, the spouses have until they are 18 years old to seek an annulment.

Contact a St. Charles Family Law Attorney

If you want to learn more about declaring your marriage invalid, contact a qualified Kane County divorce lawyer from Shaw Family Law, P.C. today. We can help you determine whether or not your marriage qualifies for annulment and explore all of your legal options for ending your marriage. Schedule a confidential consultation by calling us at 630-584-5550.

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IL custody lawyerA child’s well-being should be the top priority for parents going through a divorce. They should want their child to have everything they need throughout the stages of their life. However, often one parent can be substandard in their compliance with the parenting plan agreed upon with their former partner.

After a while of trying to get a co-parent to show up for visitations, send support payments, or just call to talk to a child, they may give up and choose to have a new partner - the child’s stepparent - adopt the little one.

Stepparents adopting their stepchild is not uncommon especially when a biological parent:

  • Is abusive
  • Is an alcoholic or a drug addict
  • Does not show up to scheduled visitations
  • Does not financially support a child
  • Is convicted of a crime that will see them in prison for a long period of time
  • Abandons their child

Being married to the primary decision-maker of the child can give a step-parent some rights, but they are still limited in their own decision-making because there is no biological relationship to the child. If an adoption occurs, the stepparent can then be included in major life choices for the minor including school plans, financial responsibility, and medical procedures.

Each state has a different process when a step-parent wants to adopt a stepchild. Also, each case is sensitive to each particular family since everyone has a different situation they are living through. The state of Illinois requires a step-parent to be a resident of the state for six months before filing for adoption. This is because the adoption will go through a family court locally so no one needs to travel for any reason. After that, the process should take three months to complete.

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IL custody lawyerWith summer over, the holidays are just around the corner and families are starting to make their holiday plans. Parents who have recently divorced often worry that they will not get to share in the bonding moments with their children because of custody reasons.

The state of Illinois does not restrict parental visitations unless they are not in the child’s best interest. The topic of holiday celebrations is left up to the parents’ decision which can be talked about through mediation or on their own.

There are several strategies to come to an agreement that everyone can be happy with:

  • Alternate who the child(ren) spend the holidays with from year to year - make sure to specify which holidays are in question.
  • Split the day; for example, Mom spends Christmas morning with the children and Dad spends Christmas evening with the children.
  • Celebrate each holiday twice on separate days; for example, the children spend Christmas Eve with Mom and Christmas Day with Dad.

These strategies can also be used for personal holidays such as a child’s birthday.

Allocation of Parental Responsibilities

Illinois law does divide parenting time that is suitable for the child’s best interest. The court will assume that both parents are fit to spend time with their children unless one parent brings evidence to the family court judge to prove that the other is not fit to satisfy the child’s mental or physical needs.

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IL family lawyerIn 2017, Illinois lawmakers changed the way family courts determine child support payments. These changes followed some other significant modifications to the state's laws which redefined child custody and visitation as the allocation of parental responsibility and parenting time. Divorcing parents should be sure to understand their child support obligations and the methods used to determine the amount of child support payments.

Parents’ Combined Income

Before the change in the law, child support payments were determined using a fairly simple calculation that was based on a fixed percentage of the income earned by the non-custodial parent. Under the new laws, child support payments are calculated based on the combined income of both parents. The courts will determine a child support obligation based on what a married couple who earns that combined income would typically spend to care for their child or children. Each parent will be responsible for a certain portion of that obligation based on their percentage of the combined income.

Parenting Time

In many cases, the majority of parenting time will be awarded to one parent and the other will need to make child support payments. If parenting time is split equally, or nearly so, then child support payments are not only based on the income of each parent but also the expenses of each parent in supporting the child. For example, only one parent may pay health insurance premiums. When the income and expenses of each parent are compared when they are both awarded equal parenting time, one parent may be obligated to make child support payments to the other.

Parental Responsibility

There can be many expenses when raising a child which is why it has been reported that it can cost upwards of $230,000 to provide for a child and nurture them to the age of 18. Just some of these expenses that are a large part of parental responsibility include:

  • Health insurance
  • Childcare
  • Extracurricular activities such as sports or clubs
  • School expenses such as uniforms, shoes, fees for trips, etc.

Some parents, depending on their income, are also required to pay some or all of their child’s college costs. These are calculated based on the income of the parents so long as the child is still considered dependent, which is usually until the age of 24. If a student can prove they support themselves independently of their parents, a waiver may be approved. The cost of school or schools the student is applying to is also considered.

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IL divorce lawyerThere are various situations in which grandparents take on the parental role for their grandchildren. Sometimes the child’s parents pass away, some are unfit to raise children, while others are simply absent in their children’s lives. While many grandparents will take their grandchildren in as a result of their own child’s neglect or absence, this can be a difficult task for older people to take on. Dreams of travel, spending time with their spouse, or a relaxing retirement can get put on a temporary or permanent hold. Many grandparents willingly adopt their grandchildren but the transition is not always so easy.

Tips for Easing the Transition

  1. Feelings First: Both you and your grandchildren will feel a mix of emotions about the huge life change. You may be feeling a combination of happy and sad feelings: pleased to be able to provide your grandchild with a loving home but upset that your life plan took an unexpected turn. Your grandchild will most likely be experienced similar sentiments. For children, these feelings can often be displayed through aggressive or inappropriate behavior. Talking to your grandchildren about their feelings is the first step towards creating a sense of normalcy. Looking for grandparent support groups is a good way to get a hold on your feelings without taking them out on your grandchild accidentally.

  2. Make Your House Their Home: Children thrive off of stability which can seem impossible to create in the midst of a parental change. However, there are steps that can be taken to help build this new home. Creating a schedule or routine helps form a new sense of normalcy as does setting house rules for the child to abide by. The best way to make your home feel like their home is to give them their own space. Having their own bedroom can make your house feel less temporary, allowing the child to see your home as their home.

  3. Encourage Parental Contact: Many situations make this impossible and sometimes contact with the parents is not in the child’s best interest, but this is not always the case. If the child’s parent is still able to be contacted, it can be advantageous to the child to maintain that relationship, even if the relationship is different than it was before. It is important to avoid showing your grandchild any disappointment or anger that you may have towards their parents. Keeping the child from communicating with their parents can create a sense of resentment towards you, even if you are the one taking care of them day to day.

Contact a Kane County Adoption Attorney for Help

Becoming a parent for a second generation can be difficult physically and emotionally. Some grandparents feel as if they have no other choice while others fight to remove their grandchildren from an unhealthy or unsafe home. At Shaw Family Law, we understand that every family’s situation is unique and deserves the utmost attention to do what is best for the child. If you are considering legally adopting your grandchild, contact a St. Charles, IL adoption attorneys at 630-584-5550 for a free consultation.

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IL divorce lawyerParenting has evolved over time, especially with the integration of technology into most aspects of life. Rather than going outside to play with their friends, many children play video games together. Puzzles and painting are sometimes done digitally instead of at the kitchen table. Games and trends for children may have changed, but parenting styles follow certain patterns regardless of the generation. Each parent leans towards a particular style of parenting regardless of their marital status. This can become difficult to balance for couples going through divorce. Raising children using different styles can be easier while still living under the same roof. Couples usually perform a parent balancing-act while they are married; however, good-cop-bad-cop can be unproductive when you no longer take care of the children at the same time.

Authoritarian Parenting

This is often known as the strictest form of parenting. Authoritarian parents see their children as rule-followers at all times. These parents set rules for their children without their input and expect them to follow the rules without protest. A common phrase from these parents is “I told you so.” Authoritarian parents usually use punishments instead of discipline.

Authoritative Parenting

Authoritative parents also use discipline, but to a smaller extent than authoritarian parents. Authoritative parents have rules and consequence, but they spend more time explaining the reasoning behind their rules. These parents also place greater emphasis on their child’s emotions and feelings. They have firm rules and expect their child to follow them but also care for their feelings about those rules.

Permissive Parenting

Permissive parents put up a facade of rules but rarely enforce them. These are the lenient parents that every child is envious of their friend for having. Permissive parents allow their child to make a mistake and believe that they will learn best primarily by making their own decisions with slight guidance to lead them along the way. They take on a friend-role rather than a parental one.

Uninvolved Parenting

This is the most hands-off parenting style. These parents are even further down the spectrum from permissive parenting. Uninvolved parents are distant with their child and are often more of a stranger than a parent. These parents rarely know where their child is, hardly ever ask for details about their lives, and do not spend ample amounts of time with them. Uninvolved parents allow their children to raise themselves and do not provide much parental guidance at all.

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 IL family lawyerOne of the most difficult decisions when going through a divorce is what your parenting arrangement will look like. This is often known as custody arrangements; however, parenting consists of many more details outside of where your child will be sleeping each night. Continue reading to learn about the different types of parenting plans and what details are included in them.

What Should Be Included in Your Parenting Plan?

When making a parenting plan, the following should be considered:

  • Living arrangements and parenting schedules: In most cases, the child will spend time between each home. One of the main considerations that parents should think about is the distance between each household. Many former spouses will decide to move far from their original home to place a large distance in between them and their former spouse; however, they fail to realize the difficulty that this poses in terms of visitation.
  • Vacations and holidays: It is better to divide vacations and holidays between each parent before the divorce is finalized to avoid future conflicts. This can be one of the more difficult decisions to make as it is much different from the life you previously lived with your child and former spouse.
  • Healthcare details: This portion of the parenting agreement often depends on each parent’s occupation and the coverage that they receive. Parents should come up with plans in regards to doctor visits, adjust medical record access, and decide who will care for the child if he/she is sick.
  • Education: Decisions made regarding education are dependent on the type of school your child attends. For those who attend public school, education costs are not up for debate. However, those who are enrolled in private schools will need to determine the allocation of tuition payments. This is also true of children who hope to pursue higher education.

Contact a St. Charles, Illinois Divorce Attorney for Help

Making decisions regarding your child can become difficult without a third-party present to ensure that emotions affect the legal decisions being made. At Shaw Family Law, we understand that determining child custody is a difficult choice to make and we plan to help you at each step of the way. If you are considering divorce and are trying to determine child custody parameters, contact our Kane County divorce attorneys at 630-584-5550 for help.

 

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 IL family lawyerDeciding to get a divorce is often discussed at length by both spouses. Many couples will make a pro-con list to compare the good things in the relationship to the bad ones. Most parents think that getting a divorce will adversely affect their children; however, this is often not the case. Studies have shown that it is better for children to grow up in a household where they have examples of healthy relationships, even if this means realizing that what is best for their parents is to be apart. Just because this is usually best does not make breaking the news to your children any less difficult. Continue reading to learn about the best way to tell your child that you and your spouse are getting divorced.

Telling Tips

Telling your children that you and your spouse are filing for divorce is difficult no matter the circumstances. The following tips may not make it easier to tell your children the truth; however, it will help your child in the long-run.

  • Tell Your Kids Together: This is a fairly obvious tactic that is crucial while talking to your children about divorce. It can be confusing if one parent shares the information with the child without the other parent being present. This can give children the idea that they are losing a parent rather than adjusting lifestyles.
  • Provide Your Child with Details: Before you have this conversation with your child, the details of the divorce should already have been discussed. For instance, you should be able to tell them who will be living where, what your parenting schedule might look like, and how day-to-day life will go. These do not have to be set in stone but they can help make the child feel less unstable.
  • Rehearse Your Lines: It is advantageous to plan out what you are going to say before speaking to your children. If you do not think about it beforehand, your emotions can get the best of you and you and your spouse’s decision may not be clear enough for the child.
  • Utilize Your Weekends: Hearing the news that your parents are filing for divorce can be confusing and devastating to children. It is best to tell them the news on a weekend day when they can have time to digest and reflect on the information they just received without having to worry about attending school or extracurricular activities.

Contact a St. Charles, IL Divorce Attorney

Divorce is difficult on the personal lives of all those involved. For this reason, it is important to find an experienced divorce attorney to take the legal stresses off of your shoulders. If you are considering divorce, contact a skilled Kane County divorce attorney at 630-584-5550 for a free consultation.

 

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IL divorce lawyerWhen married relationships are no longer working for either spouse, most couples separate for a period of time before seeking out divorce. Most states require a couple’s separation, that is living under separate roofs, for a specific period of time before divorce can be initiated. The purpose of this forced separation is to allow each spouse to see what their life would be like without their significant other in order to decide if this is the best choice for them. While divorce is one of the most common answers if a couple is unhappy in their marriage, legal separation is also a valid response.

Legal Separation

If a couple is considering separation for a long period of time, a written agreement regarding their assets, debt, alimony payments, child custody, and visitation rights is advantageous for both spouses. While living under separate roofs and leading different lives may seem like a good way to move on, without legal documentation both spouses are still on the hook for the other’s finances. This includes debt incurred by either spouse.

Many couples decide to become legally separated for financial reasons as separation can have financial benefits for both parties. Some couples will use a legal separation agreement to reach the 10-year marriage requirement for social security benefits. If a marriage has lasted 10 years, a divorced spouse who has not remarried is eligible to receive such benefits later in life. Continuing under the same health insurance is also another advantage of legal separation. Many businesses will continue covering a separated spouse; however, it is crucial that you check the fine print of your healthcare plan as this is not always a guarantee. Legal separation can also lead to potential benefits when filing taxes. Sometimes couples, or ex-couples, can save money by filing their taxes jointly. This is also not always a guarantee but can be better determined with the help of an attorney.

Divorce

Divorce agreements include much of the same details regarding assets, debt, alimony payments, child custody, and visitation rights, yet all ties between the spouses become severed. Divorce agreements are also immutable. Once the papers are signed by both parties, the marriage is officially done. Divorce is most common because many couples wish to meet someone new after the ending of their marriage. If a couple is legally separated, they cannot get remarried and remain separated. A divorce is required. Many opt for divorce in order to completely disconnect themselves from their spouse and move on from their previous marriage.

Contact a St. Charles, IL Family Lawyer for Help

Divorce is a common result of unhappy marriages everywhere. However, many couples opt for legal separation because of the personal and financial benefits. Simply living in different houses does not qualify as legal separation. Couples must seek out an experienced legal separation attorney to hammer out the details. If you are looking to formulate a legal separation agreement, contact a skilled Kane County legal separation attorney for professional help at 630-584-5550.

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Posted on in Family Law

IL divorce lawyerDeciding to take responsibility of and care for a child without parents is a life-changing gift for children in the foster care system. Children within the foster care system range from the age of birth to 18 years old and many stay in the system until they reach adulthood. These children have been placed into the hands of the state as a result of abuse, neglect, or abandonment by their biological parents. While it is in the best interest of the child, being placed in foster care can be a traumatic and difficult way to live out their years of adolescence. Continue reading to better understand the foster care system and the legal process that goes along with it.

Fostering vs. Adoption

Though fostering and adopting a child can be similar, the two social services do not always go hand in hand. Adopting a child permanently removes the legal rights and responsibilities of the child’s biological parents and hands them over to the adoptive parents. An adoption also involves the changing of the child’s legal name. Adoptive parents can also receive financial aid from social services throughout the adoption process and after the adoption has been completed.

Fostering a child does not have the same permanence that adoption does. Foster parents are not given the same legal rights to the child as adoptive parents are. The child can still maintain a relationship with their biological parents who can also be involved in decision-making some of the child’s needs. Foster parents are also provided monetary aid to be used in taking care of the child. Though fostering a child does not have the same permanence as adoption, some parents foster a child from birth until their 18th birthday and maintain their relationship into the child’s adulthood. This is known as long-term fostering. Foster parents also undergo regular training and support that adoptive parents do not. This allows for their parenting to be assessed to protect the child.

Contact a St. Charles, IL Adoption Attorney for Help

Adopting a foster child is a legal process similar to any other adoption. It is known as an agency adoption since the parents will be working with the Department of Child and Family Services. The process can take multiple months to officiate and involved a lot of legal paperwork and various home inspections. Though adoption can be a rather smooth process, it can become complicated if biological parents get involved. It is crucial to have a professional family law attorney involved in the adoption process. At Shaw Family Law, P.C., we have experience with the various forms of adoption, including agency adoptions. Contact our skilled Kane County adoption attorneys at 630-584-5550 for a free consultation regarding adoption.

 

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