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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Posted on in Paternity

IL family lawyerFinding out that you are about to become a parent should be a fun and exciting time; however, this is not always the case. For some men, they have to prove that they are the father, rather than being told by their soon-to-be co-parent. Proving that you are or are not the father of a child is a medical and legal process which can be more involved than just going to the doctor. Continue reading to learn more about the process of proving paternity.

The Need to Know

There are many reasons why people will seek to find out the identity of the biological father of a child. Many mothers and potential fathers want to know the child’s father because of the need for monetary and parenting support. If the father and mother are not married, the parent without primary custody, in which case is usually the father, will be required to pay child support. Many mothers also want help from the father in regards to raising their child. Knowing the identity of both parents is also important in regards to health benefits and insurance. The child will be covered by his/her father’s health insurance, social security, inheritance, and veteran’s benefits. It is also crucial to know a father’s identity to have a better understanding of the child’s health background as well as the child’s own sense of identity.

The Procedure

Paternity proceedings are not always filed by the father, but rather can be filed by the father, mother, or child. Many paternity tests are performed without the intervention of the court. If not done voluntarily, a court can mandate for the test to be taken thus making the mother, father, and child all submit to testing. There are multiple types of tests that can be performed including a blood or swab test to collect DNA samples. Funding for the tests depends on the results. If the testing for the father is positive, the man will pay for the test. On the other hand, if the testing for the father is negative, the mother will be responsible for the payment.

Contact an St. Charles, IL Family Lawyer

Though paternity tests are fairly easy and harmless, getting the process moving is not always so simple. It is common to have a refusal to take the paternity test from either party involved. To ensure that you and your child’s rights are met, it is important to have a parentage lawyer on your side. At Shaw Family Law, P.C., we understand the high stakes involved in parentage cases and we have extensive experience in this field of law. Contact our Kane County paternity attorneys at 630-584-5550 for a free consultation regarding your parentage situation.

 

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IL divorce lawyerDivorce is difficult no matter the circumstances. While divorce may have been legally difficult in the past due to societal values, divorce in the digital age can prove just as troublesome. Social media can become a face-less platform for one to publicly or privately vent about their marriage difficulties or impending divorce based on their account privacy settings. Whether your account settings are placed on private or not does not necessarily mean you are fully protected from your spouse or their attorney discovering your posts.

Privacy Protection

Switching your profile from public to private does not guarantee that your social media posts will not make it into your divorce proceedings. Use the following tips to better protect yourself in the digital age:

  1. Change your passwords often: Many use similar passwords for all of their accounts because they are easy to remember. Though this tactic may make logins easier for the account’s owner, it also makes it easier for others to hack into their account, especially those who are close to them. Changing passwords frequently is an easy way to block intruders from hacking into bank accounts, emails, and social media platforms.

  2. Look at your security settings: Though making your account private does not guarantee complete safety, it is a step in the right direction. Onlookers can misconstrue comments and posts for their advantage even if you believe that your social media is “clean” for others to look at.

  3. Watch your words: Email communication may not be as commonplace; however, it can still lead to your downfall in court. A judge can request email history for evidence, making anything you have said through the online forum public to your spouse.

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Posted on in Family Law

IL divorce lawyerAn order for protection is commonly known as a restraining order. Through the Illinois court system, one can file various different types of restraining orders based on the threats of violence that they are experiencing. Minors, those under the age of 18, can petition for a restraining order despite not being a legal adult. This is allowed simply because abuse does not discriminate based on age. Teens and women ages 16-24 have the highest risk rate for intimate partner violence. Continue reading to learn what is classified as abuse and which situations can be used to petition for an order for protection.

Types of Restraining Orders

Many incorrectly believe that an order of protection can only be filed if proof of physical abuse is present. Abuse can take many forms such as physical, emotional, and psychological. Anyone who violates orders of protection receives a Class A misdemeanor for the first offense and a Class 4 felony for any other violations. There are various types of restraining orders to accommodate for the different types of abuse that occur.

  1. Domestic Violence and an Order of Protection: This form of restraining order can apply to any living situation. This includes those related by blood or marriage, cohabitants, those who share children, people in romantic relationships, and those who have disabilities.

  2. Sexual Assault and a Civil No Contact Order: For those who have been victims of sexual assault, a civil no-contact order can not only protect the victim but also family/household members of the victim and rape crisis center employees/volunteers.

  3. Stalking and a No Contact Order: This action is for those who fear for their own safety or the safety of another due to someone else’s actions. Action can be taken for threats of stalking or evidence of stalking.

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Posted on in Divorce

IL divorce lawyerMilitary marriages experience strains and stresses in greater capacity than other marriages due to the complications that their jobs put on both spouses. Though these marriages can be extremely stressful and difficult, the overall divorce rate among both male and female service members only averaged 3 percent in 2017. To be more precise, about 21,290 of 689,060 married troops divorced in 2017. The divorce process for members of the military is relatively uniform to those who are not in the service. The main difference for these individuals is how to divide their retirement plans.

Typical Military Retirement Plans

Retirement for members of the military is radically different for each member since not many individuals serve for 20 years, the requirement to get the normal retirement benefit. As a result, military retirement plans are made up of 3 components:

  1. Defined Benefit: Retired pay is 2 percent times the number of years of service. For example, if you retire after 20 years you get 40 percent of your final base pay and if you retire after 30 years, you receive 60 percent.

  2. Defined Contribution: The military contributes 1 percent of a member’s base pay to their Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) account. Each member is automatically enrolled with a 3 percent base pay contribution to their TSP and the government will match up to 5 percent of their contribution after two years of service. A member of the military must complete two years of service to receive government contribution.

  3. Continuation Pay: After 12 years of service in the military, active duty service members receive a bonus equal to 2.5 months basic pay if they commit to four additional years of service.

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Posted on in Property Division

Il divorce lawyerFamily businesses can be difficult to successfully maintain. Some believe that mixing family and business is a recipe for disaster; however, family businesses often become the pride and joy of the owners. Because the businesses are often built from the ground up, it is much more difficult to let them go. This is often a problem that divorced couples who own a family business face. Not only do they have a personal connection to their workplace, but those involved in family businesses often have often invested a lot of time and money into their business. Continue reading to learn about the various options divorced couples have when deciding what to do with their family-owned business.

Your Options

There are a variety of options available to those trying to figure out what to do with the family business while going through a divorce. Every couple’s divorce is different, some being a mutual decision while others happen by surprise. Regardless of the situation at hand, sometimes one has to separate emotions from business no matter how much time and energy they have put into their job.

  1. Continue Owning the Business Together: Though this option does not work for everyone, some choose to continue running their family business in a similar manner. This is more common in couples that are mutually ending their marriage amicably. While you may decide to work different schedules and keep business meetings to a minimum, keeping the family business within the family is an option for some.

  2. Buy Out Your Ex-Spouse: For most couples, working together post-divorce is unhealthy and unreasonable. An option for those who no longer want to be tied together personally or professionally is to have one spouse buy out the other. This will require legal assistance on both sides but is often a relatively quick and easy solution.

  3. Sell the Business: Family-owned businesses are more than just a business to those involved. Memories become tied to the building and the business as a whole, making it extremely difficult to continue working in the environment. Many decide to sell their family businesses and have a fresh start. This can be due to the personal connection or financial burden that the business has once a marriage comes to an end.

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Posted on in Divorce

IL ivorce lawyerPrenuptial and postnuptial agreements have become much more common in today’s society. Many attribute this to the median age at which most couples get married. Since 1990, the average age for marriage has risen from 26 to 29 for men and 23 to 27 for women. Rather than getting married right out of high school or college, as most people did in the 20th century, many couples opt to get married later in life. Not only does this add a level of age maturity to each spouse, but it also allows for more capital to be built up by each individual before getting married. As a result, many couples have decided to sign prenuptial or postnuptial agreements to better protect themselves in their marriage.

What Makes Up the Agreement?

A prenuptial or postnuptial agreement is a legally binding contract that states the division of assets between each spouse. This includes their finances coming into the marriage, what property each spouse has, and how they would split their home in case of a divorce. One of the main aspects missing from a prenup and postnup is child custody. While it is clearly impossible to plan this ahead of marriage if a couple does not have children yet, it is also illegal to do so. Child custody cannot be determined by the parents. This decision is entirely up to the court.

Common Reasons for the Contract

While getting married at an older age does have a correlation with signing a pre- or post-nuptial agreement, there are various other reasons why couples decide to choose the legally safe route.:

  • A Previous Marriage - For couples who have been married before and will be bringing previous “baggage” into the marriage, a legal agreement is often signed as a precautionary measure.
  • Wealth/Debt Division - Many spouses come from different economic statuses. This can mean one person has a substantial amount of wealth or debt. In cases such as these, many couples will decide that a prenup or postnup is the best decision.
  • Only One Spouse Is Working - In case of a future divorce, some couples decide to have a safety net in place for the non-working spouse. Making this decision before or right after getting married can eliminate hashing things out if divorce is in their future and emotions run high.

Contact an Illinois Attorney for Legal Assistance

Signing a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement is a good way to protect you and your spouse in the future. If you have decided to take these precautionary measures, a skilled marital agreement attorney is crucial to best divide and protect your assets. Contact our Kane County prenuptial and postnuptial attorneys for a free consultation at 630-584-5550 to help you and your spouse decide what is best for your future.

 

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IL family lawyerLife after divorce is filled with various changes. Not only do couples have to learn how to live on their own, but many feel as if they are completely starting over. Though spouses may be adjusting to doing things on their own, parenting does not normally fall under this same category. Parenting after finalizing a divorce is not meant to be done alone. In most cases, judges rule in favor of joint custody in order to keep both parents in the child’s life. Though co-parenting can make things easier for both spouses, it does require adjustments from both parents.

Parenting Styles

There are four different types of parenting styles. Often times people do not realize which parenting style they use until they are parenting primarily alone. Understanding and recognizing your parenting style versus your ex-spouse’s is important in learning how to adjust the ways in which you parent after your divorce.

  • Authoritarian: This style of parenting puts all of the power into the hands of the parents while giving none to the children. Those who use authoritarian parenting are often strict with discipline and communication is primarily one-sided.
  • Permissive: Permissive parents take on a role that is similar to friendship. Though they offer some guidance, these parents allow their children to make many decisions for themselves.
  • Uninvolved: This parenting style does not involve much guidance or “parenting”. These children have complete autonomy and make their own decisions.
  • Authoritative: This style of parenting is known as the happy medium. Parents who utilize this form have a balance between strict discipline and nurturing guidance.

Co-Parenting Tips

While identifying you and your ex’s parenting techniques can be helpful with co-parenting, there are a variety of other ways in which co-parenting can run smoothly.

  • It is important to have uniformity across households. Though your parenting styles may be different, consistency is beneficial in a child’s life. Having the same rules in both houses eliminates many problems regarding what is expected of the child and how you both wish to raise him/her.
  • Agreeing on positive discussion is crucial. Neither spouse should express their negative personal feelings for their ex. This can force children to feel divided between both parents and cause a child to adopt one parent’s opinion of the other.
  • Stay in contact with your ex-spouse. Though there may be tension between you two, it is important to communicate with your child’s other parent to remain fully knowledgeable about their lives. This communication does not necessarily have to be done in person. Many divorced couples rely on phone calls and emails. The form of communication is less important than the overall need to talk.

Contact an Illinois Parenting Agreement Attorney

Co-parenting is a skill that must be learned after the logistics of a divorce are settled. Written parenting plans are an Illinois requirement for those who are granted joint custody. It is important to have an experienced attorney to help make these decisions concrete in the eyes of the court. Shaw Family Law, P.C. has experience in all aspects of the divorce process. Contact our Kane County divorce attorneys for a free consultation at 630-584-5550.

 

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IL family lawThe holiday season has its own difficulties for everyone. For some, family parties and the amount of money being spent on gifts become their source of stress. While for others, December becomes breakup season. It is fairly common for couples to decide that divorce is best amidst the holidays. Due to the additional amount of time that couples spend with their families and each other, along with the financial pressures that the holidays can bring, divorce decisions are often made during or immediately following festivities. The idea of “new beginnings” can also spark a need for change. Breakups that occur during the holiday season can be difficult; however, those going through their first holiday season after a recent divorce often struggle the most.

Survival Tips

Whether you are considering divorce, are in the process of one, or have just come out on the other side, it is important to keep the following things in mind throughout the holidays:

  1. Validation: Many try to ignore their pain or sadness thinking that it is wrong to be depressed during a time when everyone else appears to be jolly. It is important to remember that your feelings are valid under such circumstances. The pain of divorce does not take a break just because Christmas is around the corner.
  2. Remember Your Children: In the midst of divorce, holidays often become irrelevant; however, those with children cannot cancel the holidays. While you may be lacking holiday cheer, it is important for your children’s lives to remain relatively similar as before. This includes the celebration of holidays as a family, whether or not this includes your ex.
  3. Create New Traditions: Continuing to celebrate with old traditions can cause old sentiments to resurface. Discontinuing old traditions and creating new ones is a good remedy, especially for those traditions that include your former spouse.
  4. Volunteer: Many families volunteer their time throughout the holidays whether they find themselves in a tough place or not. Volunteering is a great way to keep your mind off your own matters and also reminds you of the great things you have in life.

Contact a St. Charles, IL Divorce Attorney for Help

Deciding divorce is the correct path during the holidays can be difficult for all parties involved. It is important to have an experienced divorce attorney help you through this difficult time. At Shaw Family Law, P.C., we work with our clients to make the process as painless as possible. Contact our Kane County divorce attorneys for a free consultation at 630-584-5550.

 

Sources:

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Posted on in Family Law

IL family lawyerAll new parents experience nervousness before finally having their child, especially with a 9-month waiting period. Adoptive parents have the same pre-day jitters though they usually have a much longer waiting period. This additional time can intensify the anxiety since adoptive parents are not actively involved in the child’s birth. Though the preparation may be slightly different for adoptive parents, there are measures that can be taken to fill the time spent waiting for their child.

  • Enjoy your child-less freedom while you can: Many couples look forward to the change in lifestyle that a child will bring to their relationship. Though adopting a child is an exciting new addition to a relationship, many parents do not realize just how much their lives will change once a child is added to the mix. Go on the vacation you have always dreamed of or throw a loud party at your house because soon your life will become less selfish and more selfless for the sake of your child.
  • Spend time getting to know your child: This may seem like a silly thing to do since you will get to know your child when your adoption is official; however, it is important to know your child’s previous life and background. Having a good understanding their background aids adoptive parents in formulating their parenting styles and having a greater understanding of their child.
  • Set up a support system in advance: Many new parents do not realize how difficult raising a child can be. While parenting is extremely rewarding, it can be a challenge to manage alone. It is important to have a support system in place before you pick up your child in order to make the lifestyle transition easier.
  • Mentally prepare yourself for the child’s adjustment: Adopting a child is one of the most exciting days of a parent’s life. Though you may be ready for your child to come home, children usually take time to adjust to the new lifestyle. Being mentally prepared for slight discomfort from your child is crucial in handling the situation as it happens. Some parents will send the child care packages before the adoption day to begin the acclimation process.

Contact an Illinois Adoption Attorney for Help

If you are considering adoption, legal help is necessary to ease the sometimes lengthy process. At Shaw Family Law, P.C., we understand that adoption can be a difficult and emotional process for all the people involved. Our firm helps relieve the stress of the legal portion of the process so that families can enjoy the rest of it. Contact our Kane County adoption attorneys for a free consultation at 630-584-5550.

 

Source:

https://www.webmd.com/parenting/features/essential-tips-for-adoptive-parents#1

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IL divorce lawyerThe rights of the LGBTQ community and same-sex relationships have greatly evolved in the United States within the last 20 years. Unlike many countries, the United States has legalized same-sex marriage throughout all 50 states. Learn about how historical changes can result in difficult divorces and dissolutions:

Making History

Same-sex marriage officially became legal across the country just three years ago. The 2015 decision of Obergefell v. Hodges resulted in the highly anticipated legalization of marriage. Before permitting same-sex marriage, the various states across the country allowed for “civil unions.” A civil union is a legally recognized arrangement that is similar to marriage. The first civil union was offered by the state of Vermont in 2000. The legal trend spread throughout the United States, including in Illinois in 2011. Though civil unions did recognize same-sex relationships, many people within the LGBTQ community did not view civil unions as having the same power and meaning as marriage. Obergefell v. Hodges put an end to marriage inequality, making the loving agreement legal in all 50 states.

Divorce and Dissolution

Like all other relationships, just because one can get married does not mean it will always work out in the end. Divorce between same-sex couples is often easier said than done. Before the legalization of same-sex marriage, many couples had been together for 10, 15, even 20 years. This means their life together is often much longer than their marriage certificate recognizes. As a result, it can be much more difficult to determine parental rights, alimony payments, and various other aspects that are decided in a divorce. Some courts will recognize prior years of cohabitation; however, this is not always the case. On the other hand, some couples decided never to say “I do” and simply stuck to their legally recognized civil union. As is the case with marriage, a civil union is a binding contract. Thus, more goes into the ending of a civil union than simply walking out the door. The dissolution of a civil union is very similar to the procedure for divorce. Assets get divided, parental rights must be decided, and spousal maintenance is allocated if necessary. Though the words divorce and dissolution may be different, the result is the same: a terminated contract with loose ends to tie up.

Legal Help for Illinois Divorce and Dissolution

Divorce and dissolution when it comes to same-sex couples is an extremely complicated process. It is difficult to divide the assets and results of a relationship that has not been legally recognized for the length of time that it has existed. At Shaw Family Law, P.C., we understand that the delay in legal recognition should not mean an unfair divorce or dissolution. Contact us at 630-584-5550 for a free consultation with a seasoned Kane County divorce attorney so that you can have a fair ending to your marriage.

 

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IL divorce lawyerFor those who have children and choose to get divorced, child support payments are inevitable. The parent who holds primary custody will often receive the child support payments since they spend the most time, and thus the most money, with the child. These payments are no longer percentage based. The court determines the amount of money needed to care for the child based on his/her parents’ income then divides this amount between the parents. The details of these payments are determined before the divorce papers can be made official; however, certain situations and life-altering events can result in necessary changes being made.

Recent Unemployment

Unemployment does not result in the ending of child support payments. The payments will simply no longer be taken out of your paycheck. If approved for unemployment benefits, the parent should then contact the unemployment office regarding their mandatory child support payments. These payments will then be deducted from their unemployment benefit wages.

Incarceration

If a parent becomes imprisoned and is required to pay child support, the parent can petition for his/her payments to be altered. Some courts will allow for the payments to be reduced or suspended while the parent is in prison. This is not always a guarantee. Often times, the judge will decide that the payments must continue to be paid throughout the parent’s sentence.

Death of a Non-Custodial Parent

The death of a non-custodial parent can cause extreme stress for a parent relying on this extra income to raise their child. There are multiple solutions that can be considered. If the deceased parent has a life insurance policy with the child as the beneficiary, the parent can begin collecting this money for the child immediately. Depending on the deceased parent’s previous employment, the child may also be subject to benefits from the Social Security Administration.

Death of a Custodial Parent

After deciding who will take primary care of the child, the payments will be determined. Payments from the parent's estate or a child support modification may be made if the other parent receives full-custody. If the child is placed into the hands of another relative, the payments should remain similar to their previous amount.

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IL divorce lawyerDivorce comes with hundreds of life-changing questions that must be answered in a matter of months. Add children to the mix and things get even more complicated. If you and your former spouse have decided on joint custody, an agreement will be written for you to follow after your marriage has been officially ended. This agreement will include details about each parent’s rights and responsibilities, information about the child, and a parenting time schedule. This schedule breaks down who the child will be with at each hour throughout the week and weekend. The purpose of the parenting time schedule is to avoid having further disputes about time spent with the child. Although a parenting time schedule can be different for each family, there are common schedules that many families choose to follow.

  • The 50/50: This plan is pretty straight-forward. Your child will spend 50 percent of his/her time with mom and the other 50 percent with dad. Some families choose to alternate custody on a weekly basis while others select a biweekly schedule.
  • The 60/40: This can be broken down in two ways. Some families decide to have an “every extended weekend” schedule in which the child spends a long weekend with one parent every week and the remaining four days of the week with the other. Others decide to spend four days with one parent and three days with the other, not necessarily lining their plans up with the weekend.
  • The 70/30: In the 70/30, a child spends five days with one parent and the remaining two days with the other. This is most often done by having one parent take weekends and the other take weekdays.
  • The 80/20: This plan gives one parent primary visitation hours. Under the 80/20 plan, a child will live with one parent most of the time, while seeing the other parent on a bi-weekend basis. In other terms, one parent will see their child every other weekend while the other has their child the rest of the time.

Parenting Agreement Help

Selecting a parenting agreement that works best for your family can be a stressful and difficult decision to make, especially if you and your spouse are not on the best of terms. Our seasoned Kane County parenting agreement attorneys have experience with creating parenting time schedules, whether it follows a common format or not. At Shaw Family Law, P.C., we spend time working with both spouses to come to a conclusion that works best for your family. Contact us to receive your free consultation at 630-584-5550.

 

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?DocName=075000050HPt%2E+VI&ActID=2086&ChapterID=59&SeqStart=8350000&SeqEnd=10200000

Posted on in Divorce

IL divorce lawyerDivorce is commonplace in today’s society. Many families go through this legal process and some even have to sign the papers multiple times. Like the statistics say, 50% of marriages end in divorce. Though high-conflict divorce is seen on television and social media every day, divorce is not always conducted through a screaming match. Some couples divorce due to infidelity or constant arguing; however, two of the most common reasons for divorce are lack of intimacy and not being prepared for marriage. Divorce may not be pleasant for any of the parties involved, but getting a divorce does not mean you hate your spouse. Learn about the two types of divorce and the common options available to those going through the ending of a marriage.

Contested Divorce

This is the type of divorce often televised or included in movie plotlines. A contested divorce occurs when neither party can come to an agreement about the terms and details of the divorce. This includes the division of assets, allocation of debts, alimony, child support, or child custody. Those going through a contested divorce will find themselves arguing in court, in front of a judge. Because of the lack of agreement between the parties, a judge will make the decisions for the couple, by taking all aspects of their relationship, family, and financial situation into consideration. This takes away all forms of decision making from the divorcing couple and places it into the hands of the judge. Often times, couples will begin the divorce process in a contested manner but eventually come to agreement to save themselves from enduring a divorce in front of a court.

Uncontested Divorce

An uncontested divorce is one of agreement and compromise. Those going through an uncontested do not necessarily have to “get along” but they do need to be able to come to a conclusion on matters such as division of assets, allocation of debts, alimony, child support, or child custody. Though this may not be an easy task, learning to compromise can save couples from wasted time and money. Many couples going through an uncontested divorce seek divorce mediation. The purpose of divorce mediation is for the couple to decide on the terms of their divorce with the helping hand of a divorce attorney. The lawyer is not there to act as a referee between arguments, but rather to legally record the terms of the divorce while acting as a neutral negotiator between the two parties. Though mediation does not work for all couples, it is a good option for those going through an uncontested divorce. Not only does it save time and money, but it also allows for the couple to sustain an amicable relationship after the ending of their marriage.

Legal Assistance

Regardless of the type of divorce you and your spouse are involved in, an experienced divorce attorney is necessary to ensure fairness and equality in the terms of the divorce. At Shaw Family Law, P.C., we have experience with both contested and uncontested divorces. We also have mediation attorneys available to couples seeking a conversational format for their divorce process. Contact our skilled Kane County divorce attorneys at 630-584-5550 for a free consultation to discuss your options for divorce.

 

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IL family lawMany people decide to move after finalizing their divorce because starting over is done much easier in a new place surrounded by new people. However, divorces involving children are much more complicated than simply packing a suitcase and signing an apartment lease. Before getting divorced, many people do not realize how much control the court system can have over you and your familial decisions. Though you may want to start you and your child’s life over in a new place by relocating, there are many steps that must be taken before the house hunt can begin.

The Process

Moving from one area to another is stressful enough. Adding a divorce and child into the mix only further complicates things. Follow these three steps to get yourself on the path of relocation:

  1. Choosing your location: Moving from one house to another within the same area is not considered “relocation” under Illinois law. However, if you plan to move over 25 miles from the child’s current residence, your former spouse and courts may become involved in the process.
  2. Speaking with your ex-spouse: One of the first steps that must be taken is discussing your decision with your ex-spouse. Whether you have primary custody of your child or not, you are not legally allowed to relocate your child without your ex-spouse’s permission.
  3. Notify the court: The court and your ex-spouse must receive a written notice 60 days prior to relocating. If your spouse agrees to the relocation and signs it, no further court action is required; however, without this written permission, you will have to petition the court to move without your former spouse’s permission.

In the Eyes of the Court

If you failed to receive permission for your relocation by your former spouse, court action will be required. Rather than choosing between one parent or another, most courts make their decision based on what they think is best for the child. There are a number of factors judges consider including the following:

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b2ap3_thumbnail_marijuana.jpgLots of people use marijuana. As more and more states legalize cannabis use for medicinal and recreational purposes, more adults openly admit to using the plant to relieve their stress and pain. In family court, marijuana use is a touchy subject. In Illinois, it is legal to use cannabis medicinally through the Illinois Medical Cannabis Pilot Program. Possession of a small amount of marijuana has been decriminalized throughout the state, but this does not mean it is actually legal to possess and use marijuana without a valid prescription. Simply using marijuana will not result in having your parental rights terminated, but it is important for you to understand that many judges are biased against marijuana use and that it can impact your parenting plan. If your former partner alleges that you are addicted to drugs or that your cannabis use negatively impacts your ability to parent your children, work with an experienced family lawyer to show the court the truth.

Keep your Medication and your Children Separate

Do not give your former partner any possible “ammunition” to use against you. If you are a medical marijuana user, keep your medication out of your children’s reach at all times. Do not use marijuana while your children are with you, and if you consume cannabis in the form of edibles, keep them in a secure place where there is no chance of your children accidentally consuming them. Failing to keep medication securely out of children’s reach is poor parenting and can be grounds to limit the time you spend with your children.

Another tip to keep in mind is to keep discussions of your medical marijuana use off social media. Posts and images can be taken out of context and used to create a narrative that is not actually true, a narrative that casts you as an unfit parent. Do not post any content that can be used against you this way.

Be Prepare to Show the Court the Truth

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Posted on in Family Law

b2ap3_thumbnail_domestic-violence_20180918-213803_1.jpgBattered wife syndrome, also known as battered woman syndrome, does not only affect women. It can affect any domestic violence victim, male or female, who lives with an abusive partner. Domestic violence knows no gender.

Despite the law and the medical community recognizing that a person of any gender can perpetuate and suffer domestic violence, the term “battered woman syndrome” is still frequently used to describe the psychological effects domestic violence can have on a victim.

The Stages of Battered Wife Syndrome

When an individual faces domestic violence, he or she can internalize it and feel like he or she caused it to happen. This internalization and sense of responsibility for the violence is battered wife syndrome. Generally, it follows this pattern:

  • Denial. The victim refuses to accept that he or she is being abused;
  • Guilt. The victim recognizes the abuse and feels he or she caused it;
  • Enlightenment. When the victim realizes he or she did not cause the violence to happen, he or she is in the enlightenment stage; and
  • Responsibility. In this stage, the victim recognizes that only his or her abuser is responsible for the violence. This is where the victim leaves the relationship.

Not all victims make it to the enlightenment stage. Many stay in the guilt stage, feeling like they caused their abuse to happen and trying to be better partners to make the violence stop.

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Posted on in Family Law

b2ap3_thumbnail_rape.jpgMany people are familiar with the various types of domestic violence, such as physical abuse, psychological abuse, and financial abuse. Not quite as many are familiar with the term “spiritual abuse,” which refers to the use of religion as a way to control another individual’s actions and diminish his or her agency. Spiritual abuse can be perpetuated by a church leader against a congregation member, a parent against a child, or a spouse against a partner.

Signs of Spiritual Abuse

Spiritual abuse can be difficult to recognize because it often invokes religious principles as justifications for violence and control. Individuals who practice any religion can face spiritual abuse. In a marriage, spiritual abuse can arise out of the gendered power imbalance many religions perpetuate.

A few examples of spiritual abuse include:

  • Prohibiting a spouse from working, opening a credit card, or accessing funds with religious justification;
  • Using one’s role as the home’s “spiritual leader” to exert authority over how a spouse speaks, dresses, interacts with others, and practices religion;
  • Using religion to isolate a spouse from his or her friends and family;
  • Exerting sexual control over a spouse, citing religious justification for doing so; and
  • Using guilt and shame to coerce a spouse into behaving in a specific way, claiming that he or she is not living according to their religion if he or she does not obey.

Read these statements again but this time, remove any reference to religious justification. If something is abusive when it happens without religious justification, it is just as abusive when it is done in the name of religion.

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IL family lawyerOver the years, legal separation has gained popularity. This has nothing to do with love and everything to do with money. A legal separation is a court order that specifies the rights and responsibilities of each spouse while they remain married yet apart. This can be a “loophole” from losing lots of money in a divorce case. Though there are other reasons for separation, such as religious beliefs or hope for improvement in the future, many have discovered the money-saving capabilities that legal separation can have and decided this was the best option for them and their family. Read about the various financial stipulations that a legal separation can eliminate before deciding to choose divorce.

  • Social Security Benefits: By law, a marriage must last at least 10 years to receive social security benefits that coincide with your spouse. Though these benefits do not begin until you reach 62 years of age, many couples think of this before signing the divorce papers, especially those who are close to the finish line. Many couples will choose to be legally separated until the 10-year mark, then use their legal separation agreement as an outline for their divorce.
  • Health Insurance Benefits: Whoever is the “breadwinner” of the household usually holds the health insurance benefits; however, some employer’s health plans allow spouses that are legally separated to continue with the benefits. This is a case-by-case basis and is dependent on the employer’s contract and plan.
  • Tax Benefits: Some choose legal separation in hopes that they will save money if they file their taxes together. This is also dependent on a case-by-case basis. Because of the complexity of tax law at the state and federal level, some states allow legally separated couples to file their taxes together while others do not.
  • Personal Finances: It is no secret that divorce is an expensive life adjustment. Some couples simply cannot afford to move out on their own and buy everything needed to start a new life. In this case, couples will get legal documents stating their separation and “divide” the belongings in their household.

Discuss Your Situation with an Attorney

Legal separation changes state to state, making it necessary for a detail-oriented lawyer who knows the federal and state regulations inside and out. Our Kane County legal separation attorney has extensive experience throughout Northern Illinois, serving clients in St. Charles, Geneva, Aurora, Batavia, Wheaton, Yorkville, Elgin, and the surrounding areas of Kane, DuPage, DeKalb, and Kendall Counties. Call the office of Shaw Family Law, P.C. to receive your free consultation, educating you on the legal separation process and the benefits involved.

 

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Posted on in Mediation

IL family lawyerDivorce mediation is an alternative to battling out your divorce agreements through the court system. This is a good choice for those who find that they can talk their divorce through in a peaceful and non-argumentative manner. Couples who decide that mediation is best for them are not those going through a divorce because they have personal issues with their spouse, but rather it is for couples who amicably agree that their marriage is no longer the best option. Selecting mediation as your divorce method forces both partners to put emotions aside and be mature about every aspect of the ending to their marriage. It is done in a neutral setting with a lawyer present and encourages both parties to talk out their differences rather than arguing in front of a judge. While divorce mediation does have benefits, it can also result badly for some couples.

Advantages of Mediation

  • Less expensive: Divorce mediation is often less costly. Usually one attorney will be present throughout the mediation process and rather than paying to wait in court, spouses will be paying for time allotted solely to their mediation session.
  • You have control: A typical divorce procedure leaves little to no control in the hands of those getting divorced. Though they have some say in the matter, a judge makes the final decisions. Mediation allows for the couple to make decide what is best for the both of you, with a mediation attorney there to keep things on track.
  • Greater confidentiality: Because divorce mediation occurs in private, your business stays your business. Those who decide against divorce mediation will have their marriage problems being discussed in front of a courtroom of legal employees.

Disadvantages of Mediation

  • Waste of money: Though mediation can be a cheaper option for couples seeking a divorce, it can result in wasted time or money. If the two parties cannot come to an agreement within the time set aside, they will have to start all over with the little progress that has been made.
  • Allow the partnership’s behavioral patterns to take over: Every couple has certain traits common to each member, usually resulting in one partner having more control than the other. If one partner is more submissive than the other, it will likely result in the other spouse receiving what they want more frequently.
  • Emotions running high: Divorce is an emotional time for all parties involved, making it difficult to set emotions aside. Though mediation is a successful alternative to many couples, others can find that putting control into their hands can lead to emotional results.

Contact Our Kane County Mediation Attorney

Our Kane County mediation attorney has experience helping couples come to an amicable agreement in regards to their divorce. If you are considering mediation, call our office at 630-584-5550 to discuss whether or not you would make a good candidate for divorce mediation. Though mediation may not be for everyone, we find that with the help of our mediation attorney, many couples successfully talk through their divorce without involving a judge.

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