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What Does Joint Custody Mean?

An Updated Approach to Child Custody in Illinois

Joint child custody is now known as shared parental responsibilities in Illinois thanks to recent updates to the terminology in the law. It refers to a cooperative arrangement between divorced or unmarried parents regarding important decision-making for their children. Important decisions include those related to the child’s health care, education, religious training, and extracurricular activities.

According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, parental responsibilities regarding a child must be allocated between the parents in a manner that protects the child’s best interests. Formerly known as child custody, the allocation of parental responsibilities is an important element of any divorce involving the parents of minor children.

The authority to make important decisions may be granted solely to one parent or it may be shared by both parents based on the court’s consideration of all relevant factors. Joint parental responsibilities mean that each parent will have a say in how such decisions are made for his or her child. In some cases, both parents will make all important decisions together. In others, each parent may be responsible for different types of decisions. For example, if one parent is a teacher and the other is a nurse, the teacher-parent could be responsible for educational decisions while the nurse-parent manages the child’s health care.

Family Lawyers Protecting Parental Rights in DuPage County

The experienced family law attorneys at Anderson & Associates, P.C. understand that developing a shared parenting arrangement can be difficult. Doing so, however, is often in your child’s best interest as children tend to fare better when both parents are involved in their lives. We have the knowledge and skills to help you and your child's other parent come up with a plan for sharing important decision-making responsibilities no matter what challenges you may be facing.

Call 630-653-9400 Today

If you have more detailed questions about sharing parental responsibilities or any other element of child custody in Illinois, contact our office. Call 630-653-9400 to schedule a free initial consultation with a skilled family lawyer today. We serve clients in Wheaton, Winfield, Warrenville, Carol Stream, Glen Ellyn, DuPage County, and the surrounding areas.

Will I Have to Pay My Spouse Maintenance and How Much?

Understanding Spousal Support Laws in Illinois

Decisions regarding maintenance, also called alimony or spousal support, may be made by an agreement of the divorcing couple or by the court. Maintenance is not guaranteed in every divorce, and there are a number of factors to consider including the length of the marriage, the couple’s standard of living and each spouse’s age, health, and income.

When ordered by the court or agreed upon by the spouses, maintenance can help offset some of the financial effects of a divorce on the lower-earning spouse. According to Illinois law, there is no automatic entitlement to maintenance, and the court will only require you to pay if there is a proven need for such support.

If you and your spouse can reach an agreement on your own, the court will likely approve your agreement. If an agreement cannot be reached, the court will analyze your situation to determine if maintenance is appropriate and necessary. Illinois law requires the court to consider many factors in doing so, and maintenance cases can become extremely complex.

At Anderson & Associates, P.C., our experienced family law attorneys understand that every family is different. We are equipped to conduct a thorough evaluation of your circumstances so that your rights are fully protected when you are being asked to pay maintenance. If the court finds that maintenance is necessary, the law provides guidelines for determining the amount and the duration of support payments. Our lawyers will work hard on your behalf to ensure that the decisions made by the court are reasonable and do not compromise your own economic situation.

Schedule a Free Consultation

Divorce is rarely easy, and it is understandable that you might have many questions and concerns. The team at Anderson & Associates, P.C. can provide the skilled guidance you need. Contact our office to schedule an appointment with a compassionate divorce lawyer today. Call 630-653-9400 for a free initial consultation. With four convenient offices throughout the region, we serve clients in Wheaton, Downers Grove, Naperville, DuPage County, and the northwest Chicago suburbs.

How Do I Appeal an Indicated Finding By DCFS?

DuPage County Abuse and Neglect Investigation Attorney

If you have received notice of an indicated finding by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), you must complete and sign a notice of appeal and return it to the DCFS administrative hearings unit. The DCFS must then provide you with a complete copy of the investigative findings and a hearing date.

When the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) accepts a report that a child is being neglected or abused, the Department is required to conduct a formal investigation. Law enforcement and the DCFS often investigate the same claims and may share information, but a DCFS investigation is not a criminal inquiry. Rather, it is an attempt by the state to determine the level of danger that a child may be facing.

If a DCFS investigation determines that there is credible evidence of abuse or neglect against your child, you will receive a notice of an indicated finding. An indicated finding is not proof of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, but if left unchallenged, it will lead to you being listed on the State Central Register of indicated perpetrators of child abuse and/or neglect for at least five years and up to 50 years. Those who are on the State Central Register may be disqualified from certain occupations involving children, such as daycare workers and school employees.

Maintaining Your Good Name

At Anderson & Associates, P.C., we know that an indicated finding does not mean that you have abused or neglected your child, but it is important to work quickly to clear your name. An appeals process is available, and we will provide the skilled representation before, during, and after your appeal hearing. Our family law attorneys can help you present evidence and testimony, dispute that offered by the DFCS, and generally show that you have acted in your child’s best interests.

If you have received notice of an indicated finding by the DCFS, contact our office immediately. Call 630-653-9400 for a free initial consultation with a compassionate member of our team today. We have office locations in Wheaton, Schaumburg, Orland Park, and Chicago.

Where Can I File for Divorce?

Venue and Jurisdiction in an Illinois Divorce

Your petition for divorce should be filed with the circuit court of the county where either you or your spouse resides. It does not matter what county or what state you were originally married in, as the appropriate venue for your divorce will generally depend on where you or your spouse are currently living.

In the practice of law, “venue” refers to the location where legal proceedings are held. Illinois law provides that the appropriate venue for a divorce case is, in most situations, the county in which at least one of the spouses resides. The proper “venue” is different from the idea of “jurisdiction,” which refers to a particular court’s authority over the subject matter of the case and the parties. Every county court in Illinois has the appropriate jurisdiction to hear a divorce case involving at least one Illinois resident, but the ideal venue is often in question.

When you file your divorce petition, you have the right to choose the county where you want the proceedings to be held. Your spouse, however, has the right to object to your choice, especially if you choose a county where neither party lives. The court has the authority to transfer the proceedings to any other county deemed to be appropriate.

At Anderson & Associates, P.C., we recognize the importance of choosing the right venue for your divorce. Each county often has slightly different processes and requirements for divorce, and we can help you understand your rights and obligations. If you move to a new city or county after your divorce is finalized, our experienced family law attorneys can help get your case transferred so that you can deal with post-decree matters more easily.

Call 630-653-9400 Today

To learn more about choosing the right county for your divorce, contact our office. Call 630-653-9400 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our seasoned divorce lawyers today. We represent clients in Wheaton, Warrenville, Winfield, Carol Stream, Downers Grove, and the greater Chicago area.

What Are the Most Common Field Sobriety Tests and Are They Required?

Understanding Your Rights During an Illinois DUI Stop

Three separate sobriety tests are sanctioned by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration for use during DUI stops. These tests include the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, the walk-and-turn test, and the one-leg stand test. Despite being sanctioned by the NHTSA, these tests are extremely subjective, and you have the right to refuse to take them.

The standardized field sobriety tests include three assessments. During each test, the officer conducting the test looks for various indicators that suggest that the subject may be under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, the officer looks for involuntary jerking of the eyes while the subject follows a moving pen or another stimulus. The walk-and-turn test requires the subject to walk heel to toe along a straight line while counting the steps, turn 180 degrees, and walk back while the officer looks for struggles with balancing or counting. Finally, during the one-leg stand, the subject must raise one foot off of the ground and stand on the other foot while counting until the officer says to stop. Again, the officer is primarily looking for the subject’s trouble with balance.

We Help With DUI-Related Concerns

At Anderson & Associates, P.C., we understand that field sobriety tests are entirely dependent on the observations and opinions of the attending officer. A suspect’s performance can also be affected by weather conditions, location, stress, injuries, and preexisting medical conditions. Therefore, it is possible to fail field sobriety tests even if you are not under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In most cases, it is recommended that you politely decline when asked to take such tests.

However, if you have failed field sobriety tests and have been arrested on charges of driving under the influence (DUI), our skilled attorneys can provide the guidance you need. Contact our office to schedule a free initial consultation. Call 630-653-9400 for an appointment today at any of our four convenient locations. We serve Wheaton, DuPage County, Cook County, Will County and Kane County.

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