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Arlington Heights family law attorney sole child custodyWhen parents break up, decisions about who children will live with can often lead to highly contentious disputes. While a court is more likely to recommend joint, or shared, child custody, it is not impossible for a parent to get sole custody in the right circumstances. 

Shared vs. Sole Custody

In Illinois, custody is referred to as allocation of parental responsibility. When a parent has sole custody, the child is his or her total responsibility, and the parent will have the right to make decisions about the child’s education, medical care, religious training, and extracurricular activities. The other parent may be granted visitation rights (known as parenting time under Illinois law). 

Shared custody means that both parents will share in making decisions about how the child is raised, and the child will typically divide his or her time between parents. This split is rarely 50/50, but even if one parent has the majority of the parenting time, the parents will share responsibility for the child’s upbringing.

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Posted on in Family Law

Palatine paternity attorneyEstablishing paternity benefits a child by giving him or her the right to receive support from and have a relationship with both parents. However, it is important for parents to understand how Illinois law defines and determines paternity.

What Is Paternity?

Paternity is the identity of a child’s legal father. This is established through the marital status of the parents, a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity, a court-ordered DNA test, or adoption. If a woman is married or in a civil union within 300 days before the birth of the child, then her partner is presumed to be the child’s legal father. 

When paternity is established for a child, it gives him or her certain legal benefits based on their legal relationship with both parents, including:

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Palatine military adoption attorneyMilitary life is not always the most stable--those who are in the military or grew up in a military family can attest to that. But now, more adoption agencies and child welfare groups are recognizing that military families are just as capable of providing a loving and welcoming home for children as any other family. Though being in the military does pose unique circumstances, it also means that you may be able to receive certain benefits when adopting a child that are not available to anyone who is not in the armed forces.

Complications With the Adoption Process for Military Families

Military life is unique and brings with it many specific circumstances that other families may not experience or have to deal with, especially when they are going through the adoption process. These include:

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Rolling Meadows adoption attorneyFor some people, having a child naturally is not in the cards. Many married men and women have trouble conceiving and turn to adoption as a choice for starting a family. Many gay and lesbian couples also choose adoption as a way to grow their family, rather than using other methods, such as a surrogate or donor sperm. However, a bill that is being considered by the U.S. House of Representatives could result in gay and lesbian couples, among other groups, having a more difficult time finding a child to adopt.

Bill Disallows the Federal Government to Discriminate Against Agencies

The 2019 Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education funding bill is in its drafting stages right now, but a recent amendment to the bill, which was passed by the House Appropriations Committee, says that state and local governments cannot discriminate against child welfare service providers based on their religious beliefs or moral convictions. Republican Rep. Robert Aderholt introduced the amendment, which was passed on a vote of 29-23.

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Rolling Meadows step-child adoption attorneyOne of the most common forms of adoption in the United States is step-parent adoption. This type of adoption takes place when either the child’s biological mother or father is married to someone other than the child’s biological parent and that person wants to assume legal rights and responsibilities of the child. Step-parent adoption can be a step that some families take to solidify their relationships with one another, or to establish two parents for a child if one biological parent is not involved in the child’s life. 

Factors to Consider

It is important to understand that a related adoption is a little different from an unrelated adoption. In some ways, it can be easier to adopt a child that is related to you, but it can also have its challenges. Some factors to consider in step-parent adoptions include:

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Barrington DCFS adoption attorneyAdditions to your family can come in many forms, and adoption is one method that is beneficial for both parents and children. One great option for many families is adopting a child through the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). However, a DCFS adoption is a bit different than other types of adoption. Before beginning the process, you should determine if a DCFS adoption is right for you and your family.

DCFS Adoptions Are Unique

One of the basic differences between a DCFS adoption and a private agency adoption is that children who are adopted through DCFS are in the foster care system. According to the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System, there were 117,794 children in foster care throughout the United States who were waiting to be adopted in 2016. Children who are placed in a foster home have been removed from their families for a variety of reasons, including abuse or neglect, which may have resulted in trauma. These children also range in age from babies to teenagers, and if they are available for adoption, their birth parents’ rights have already been terminated.

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Rolling Meadows prenuptial agreement attorneyWhen you are engaged, there are so many things to talk about--the honeymoon, the dress, the reception--but one of the not-so-fun things that you should discuss is getting a prenuptial agreement, or prenup. Doing so may save you in the event your marriage does not work out.

What Is a Prenup?

A prenuptial agreement is a contract that a couple signs prior to getting married that lays out terms for how certain matters will be handled in the event of a divorce. The agreement may state how couples will split their finances, what each person owns coming into the marriage, and how property acquired during the marriage would be divided. A prenup can cover everything from debt to retirement funds and how those are allocated.

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Palatine divorce lawyer emotional abuseMarriage is hard work, and it requires spouses to form a committed partnership and work together, treating each other with respect and making an effort to put their family’s best interests first. Unfortunately, there are many situations in which one spouse takes advantage of the other and commits acts of abuse designed to give them control in the relationship. While many people are aware of the signs of physical abuse, emotional abuse is often harder to recognize, but it can also be very damaging. If you are unhappy in your relationship, you may want to consider divorce if you are experiencing any of the following signs of emotional abuse:

  • Oversensitivity - Abused people are often in constant fear of upsetting their partner or feel that they need to be careful of what they say to avoid provoking anger.
  • Criticism - Emotionally abusive people will often tear down their victims in a variety of ways, including blaming them for things that are not their fault, making them feel like they cannot do anything right, making disparaging statements while claiming that they are joking, or offering backhanded compliments.
  • Distrust - An abuser will often act jealous if their partner spends time with someone else, or they may want to know where their spouse is and who they are with at all times and require them to follow certain rules regarding what types of activities they are allowed to do and how often they should check in.
  • Manipulation - Emotional abuse often takes the form of behavior designed to give a person control in a relationship. An abuser may withhold affection unless they get what they want, act in a passive-aggressive manner, refuse to acknowledge others’ feelings, or make their victim feel guilty for standing up for themselves. In some cases, they may “gaslight” their victims, lying to them about things that were done or said and making them question own memories or sense of reality.
  • Isolation - Abusers will often attempt to control those they are abusing by not allowing them to spend time with friends or convincing them to cut ties with family members. They may also take control of finances or other resources, creating a sense of reliance on them.

Contact a Rolling Meadows Family Law Attorney

When a person is in an abusive relationship, their abuser often exerts a level of control that makes them feel that they have no other options but to remain in a bad situation. However, nobody deserves to be subjected to abuse. If you notice any of the above signs in your own marriage, you may want to consider divorce. The compassionate attorneys of Anderson & Associates, P.C. can help you understand your rights and options, and we will advocate for you to receive the financial resources you need to escape an abusive situation. Contact a Schaumburg divorce lawyer at 847-995-9999 to schedule a free consultation.

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Schaumburg family law attorney, college expenses, 529 college savings account, college savings plans, college and divorceDivorce can cause a great deal of financial upheaval in a couple’s lives, and as parents seek to restructure their finances following the end of their marriage, they will need to continue to provide for their children.

One financial aspect of divorce that parents sometimes neglect is how to pay for their children’s college expenses, especially if they divorce when their children are still young and college is several years in the future.

However, as college approaches, and families begin the process of applying for financial aid, they can take certain steps to ensure that children will be able to receive a college education without breaking the bank:

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unmarried couples, Schaumburg family law attorney, cohabitation agreement, Illinois Supreme Court, common-law marriageToday, many couples choose to live together before getting married or even forego marriage altogether, while still combining their finances, intermingling their property, and raising children together. While this type of living arrangement has become more and more common over the past several decades, unmarried couples should understand their rights and take steps to protect themselves in case their relationship ever ends.

Legal Decisions Regarding Cohabitation in Illinois

Illinois does not recognize common-law marriage, and a 1979 decision by the Illinois Supreme Court found that an unmarried person does not have any rights to his or her domestic partner’s property after the relationship ends. When this decision was made, the court stated that it was intended to discourage cohabitation and avoid weakening the institution of marriage.

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