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DuPage County DCFS adoption attorneyAdoption is a common way for many prospective parents to add to their family. The way the majority of adoptions in the United States take place is through a public agency, such as the foster care system. The public agency in Illinois that helps match children with families is called the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). DCFS places children in foster homes, and if they are not able to be rehabilitated into their original homes, they are placed for adoption. Many children who are waiting to be adopted through DCFS are part of sibling groups, or children from the same family who need to be placed in a home together.

Keeping Siblings Together

Children who are put into the foster care system go through a great deal of change in almost every aspect of their lives. These children’s siblings are often the only thing that has remained the same in their life. Children in foster care often come from abusive and neglectful homes where the parents might not have always cared for them in the same way that a sibling did. In these situations, it is important to keep siblings together, so they are able to develop and emotionally mature. Separating siblings leaves the younger sibling to fend for themselves in an unfamiliar environment, and older siblings tend to feel responsible for younger siblings, even if they are not placed together.

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Naperville divorce attorneyEvery time you appear in court, you are being analyzed. The judge will observe you to determine whether or not you should be taken seriously and if your arguments are valid. If you appear to be disrespectful and ignorant of courtroom rules and conduct, you might not be taken as seriously as you want to be. This can make a big difference in divorce cases, because those who are not taken seriously by the judge are less likely to receive a judgment that is in their favor. Understanding what is expected of you when you go to court to litigate your divorce is crucial to a successful outcome. Here are some tips for following proper etiquette when in divorce court:

1. Dress Appropriately

You want the judge to focus on your legal case, not your appearance, so it is important that you dress appropriately and respectfully when you go to court. The basic rule of thumb is to dress as if you were going to work in an office. Business casual attire means skirts or dress pants, blouses, button-down shirts, slacks, khakis, and nice shoes. You should not wear T-shirts, jeans, sneakers, dirty clothing, or clothing with holes in it. 

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Wheaton adoption lawyer consentAdopting a child is an exciting time in many prospective parents’ lives. Making an addition to the family through adoption can be a stressful and tedious process, especially since there are many legal steps that must be taken before the adoption can be finalized. One of those steps is gaining consent to adopt the child. The consent must come from the child’s birth parents or adoption agency and, in some cases, the child themselves. Giving consent means that the parents or agency responsible for the child relinquishes all rights and duties relating to that child to the adoptive parents. If you are planning to adopt in Illinois, it is important to understand how Illinois laws will affect your adoption.

Who Needs to Consent to Adoption?

Illinois law requires that the birth mother and birth father (who has established paternity) consent to the adoption of their child. In some situations, the birth parents no longer have legal rights to their child. In these cases, the legal requirement for consent can fall to other entities, such as:

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Wheaton contested prenup attorneyPrenuptial agreements are legal documents that are designed to help couples avoid contentious disagreements and extensive litigation if they decide to get a divorce. In reality, you may still need to go to court if your prenuptial agreement (or “prenup”) is contested, meaning that a spouse has challenged the terms or the validity of the agreement. It is important to understand what constitutes a valid prenuptial agreement and the potential reasons why a prenup can be found invalid, including:

1. It Is Not a Formal Document

Illinois law states that prenuptial agreements must be in writing for them to be acceptable and valid. Both parties must also sign the agreement for it to be valid. The best way to ensure that your prenuptial agreement is valid is to hire an attorney to draft the agreement for you. A skilled lawyer can ensure that your agreement meets the legal requirements for enforceability while including the terms that will provide you with the protection you need.

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Aurora divorce attorneyJust like people, divorces come in all shapes and sizes. There are multiples types of divorce that are recognized in Illinois, including mediated divorce, collaborative divorce, and litigated divorce. Each type of divorce has its own pros and cons, and each type can be right for the right couple. If you choose the right divorce for your situation, you can save yourself and your family an unwanted headache.

Mediated Divorce

In a mediated divorce, a third party is brought in to act as a mediator to help the couple come to a divorce agreement. The mediator is responsible for identifying issues that need to be resolved and helping both parties come to an agreement. Benefits of a mediated divorce are plentiful, and this type of divorce can:

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Naperville divorce attorney child custodyThough not all married couples have children, a lot of them do. When these married couples get divorced, they will have different legal issues to address than couples who do not have children. All parents can agree that children are one of the top priorities in their lives, and they will want to protect their children’s best interests during their divorce. Here are three reasons why divorce with children is not the same as divorce without children:

1. There Are More Topics to Discuss Legally

Obvious issues that need to be discussed in divorces that involve children are custody arrangements and child support payments. These issues may also affect other decisions, such as who gets the house (since a parent may wish to continue living in their home with their children), vehicles (which are used to transport children), and other property (such as children’s toys).

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Glen Ellyn family law attorney grandparents' rightsDivorces are often difficult, and they can become even tougher when children are involved. Many times, for whatever reason, a parent can deny their child the right to visitation with a grandparent or other family member. Often, a child’s relationship with their grandparents, step-parents, or siblings is pertinent to their well-being. According to the state of Illinois, as long as visitation is in the best interest of the child, grandparents, siblings, and other non-parents have the right to seek visitation.

Who Can File a Petition for Visitation?

There are many instances in which a person might want to establish legal visitation with a child. In the state of Illinois, people who can file for visitation with a child are:

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Glen Ellyn divorce lawyerDivorce is stressful for everyone in the family, especially the children. Parents are not perfect--they can, and probably will, make mistakes. However, understanding common mistakes that parents make during a divorce can increase your chances of avoiding them.

1. Making the Child the Messenger

When you are going through a divorce, you probably do not want to talk to your ex. Since the child is the common factor between both of the parents, they are often told to deliver messages to the other parent. This can be stressful for the child and often makes them feel like they are in the middle of everything. Your parenting relationship will continue with your ex for a while, and maintaining decent communication between the two of you will make things easier for everyone.

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Naperville divorce and family law attorneyWhen a couple goes through divorce, the whole family is affected. Often, there are children involved in divorces, and because they are still developing physically and emotionally, they can be strongly affected by a divorce. While not every child is the same, and each child will react differently, there are some general tendencies that happen in children of specific age groups. Understanding how your child may react to the news of a divorce can help you comfort them through this tough time.

Infants

Even though infants are not completely aware of the situation, they do notice and react to the increased tension that a divorce can bring into a household. A stressed infant can exhibit symptoms such as:

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Wheaton adoption lawyerMore than 110,000 adoptions took place in the United States in 2014, according to the National Council for Adoption. Making additions to your family is an exciting time, and many Americans are choosing to make those additions through adoption. The adoption process can be overwhelming, stressful and emotionally draining, with long waiting periods and mountains of paperwork. However, the process can be broken down into simple steps, all of which an experienced attorney can guide you through.

1. Choose an Adoption Provider

There are many different outlets through which you can adopt a child in the United States. The most common outlets are:

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Posted on in Divorce

DuPage County divorce mediatorEnding a marriage is a complicated process, requiring spouses to separate nearly every aspect of their combined life and partnership. During divorce, couples must resolve a wide variety of legal issues, including how to divide marital assets and debts, how to allocate parental responsibility, and whether one spouse will pay spousal maintenance or child support to the other. Disagreements over these issues are likely to occur, and resolving these disputes in court can result in a great deal of financial strain and emotional difficulty. Luckily, there is another solution: mediation.

Successful Divorce Mediation

During mediation, spouses will work together with an impartial third party who will help them address and resolve the outstanding issues in their divorce. Mediation is completely confidential, and the decisions spouses make are only binding if both spouses agree to them in writing.

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DuPage County premarital agreement lawyerWhen a couple is planning to get married, the possibility of divorce is likely the last thing on their mind, and planning for what should happen if their relationship ever ends may seem distasteful. However, it is often a good idea to create a prenuptial agreement which can provide both spouses with legal and financial protections if they should ever decide to divorce. Here are some reasons that you may wish to have a prenuptial agreement before you get married:

  • Income disparity - When one spouse earns a higher income than the other, this may put the lower-earning spouse at a disadvantage if they decide to divorce. A prenuptial agreement can be used to decide whether one spouse will pay spousal maintenance (alimony) to the other if their marriage ends.
  • Ownership of assets - The property that a person owns prior to getting married is considered non-marital property that is not subject to equitable division between spouses during divorce. However, marital and non-marital property can often become commingled, making it difficult to determine what should be divided between divorcing spouses. A premarital agreement can be used to specify how ownership of certain assets will be handled during divorce.
  • Significant debt - If either spouse has a large amount of debt when they are getting married, a prenuptial agreement may specify that the other spouse will not be responsible for paying any of this debt after divorce.
  • Business interests - A business owner will want to ensure that they will be able to continue operating their business, no matter what happens during their marriage or divorce. A premarital agreement can determine how business ownership will be handled if the marriage ends.
  • Blended families - Spouses who have children from a previous relationship will want to be sure their children are provided for. In these cases, they may use a prenuptial agreement to safeguard certain assets and ensure that they are used to support their children.
  • Inheritances - If either spouse expects to receive an inheritance from a family member during the course of their marriage, they may use a premarital agreement to protect inherited assets from division during divorce.
  • Reputation - In today’s connected world, information posted online can have consequences to someone’s personal life and career. Spouses may wish to use a prenuptial agreement protect their reputation by stating that they are not allowed to post disparaging comments, pictures, or videos about each other on social media.

Contact a DuPage County Family Law Attorney

If you are planning to get married, and you have concerns about what will happen if you ever get divorced, the attorneys of Anderson & Associates, P.C. can help you create a prenuptial agreement that protects your rights and financial interests. Contact a Wheaton prenuptial agreement lawyer at 630-653-9400 to schedule a free consultation.

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Wheaton divorce attorney equal parenting timeDuring divorce, many of the most contentious disputes between spouses involve decisions made about their children, including how they will share parenting time and parental responsibility. For many years, it was presumed that living primarily with one parent was in children’s best interests. However, a number of recent studies have found that it is beneficial for both parents to be closely involved in their children’s lives. With that in mind, many states, including Illinois, have passed or are considering legislation that would presume that children should spend equal amounts of parenting time with each parent following divorce.

Illinois’ Possible Equal Parenting Law

The Illinois House of Representatives is currently considering a bill which would affect the decisions made about parental responsibility and parenting time in divorce cases. HB 4113 would make the following changes to Illinois’ divorce laws: 

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Wheaton divorce attorney reducing stressEnding a marriage is a difficult process. As you come to terms with the break-up of a long-term relationship, deal with complicated legal issues, and adjust to new living situations and changing relationships with your children, family members, and friends, you will likely experience a great deal of stress. The following tips can help you reduce the effects of this stress and prepare for your new life following your divorce

  • Join a support group - Meeting with others who are going through the same thing you are is a great way to help you understand that you are not alone and learn strategies for coping with the difficulties you are going through.
  • Spend time with friends - It can be easy to withdraw from contact with others during divorce, but reaching out to close friends and family can help you avoid becoming lonely and provide some much-needed support.
  • Consider your emotional needs - It is okay to feel sad or angry about your situation, but you should avoid becoming consumed by negative emotions. Work to let go of what you cannot control and focus on the positive aspects of your life.
  • Exercise - Being active is a great way to relieve stress, and it can also help improve your mood. Whether you are regularly working out at the gym or simply taking walks around your neighborhood, focusing on your physical fitness can give you goals to work toward and help you maintain a consistent routine.
  • Eat well - Maintaining a healthy diet is another good way to elevate your mood and help you feel good about yourself following divorce. Exploring new foods and cooking techniques can also help you broaden your horizons and connect with others who have similar interests.
  • Avoid being hasty - Before making any significant changes to your life, such as beginning a new relationship or making a major purchase, take time to consider whether it is the best decision for you. Rather than acting out of emotion, try to be patient and rational, ensuring that you maintain the stability you need and avoiding stressful situations.

Contact a Wheaton Divorce Attorney

The decisions you make as you set out on the next phase of your life following divorce will affect your life for years to come, so it is important to protect yourself and build an environment that allows you to thrive. If you need help resolving any legal issues in your divorce and establishing a foundation for success in your new life, Anderson and Associates, P.C. can work with you to help you reach a positive resolution to your divorce case. Contact our DuPage County divorce lawyers at 630-653-9400 to schedule a free consultation.

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DuPage County divorce attorney parenting planWhen parents decide to end their marriage, they must resolve a number of issues related to their children in order to complete their divorce. The decisions they make will be set down in a parenting plan that will be incorporated into their divorce decree. In Illinois divorce cases, a parenting plan should include:

  • Allocation of parental responsibilities - Illinois law identifies four areas of decision-making responsibility for children: education, healthcare, religion, and extracurricular activities. A parenting plan will specify whether each of these areas will be shared between parents or allocated to one parent.
  • Parenting time - A parenting plan should contain a specific daily schedule for the time children will spend with each parent. It should also specify how holidays will be divided between parents, along with provisions for how parents will divide vacation time during the summer, winter, and spring breaks from school.
  • Transportation - Parents should determine who will be responsible for transporting children between their homes, to school, or to other activities and include these agreements in the parenting plan.
  • Communication - A parenting plan may include provisions defining when a parent may contact their children during the other parent’s parenting time.
  • Right of first refusal - Parents may wish to agree that if one parent will not be available to care for children during their scheduled parenting time, they must contact the other parent and give them the option of caring for the children before making other arrangements for child care.
  • Contact information - The parenting plan must include both parents’ home addresses and phone numbers, as well as the names, addresses, and phone numbers of their employers. The parenting plan should specify children’s residential address for purposes of school registration, and it should require parents to notify each other about emergencies, health issues, and travel plans.
  • Relocation - A parenting plan should include a requirement that a parent will notify the other parent at least 60 days before moving to a new home.
  • Future modifications - A parenting plan should specify that parents will use mediation to resolve proposed changes to the allocation of parenting time or parental responsibility. The plan may also include provisions for how modifications will be made if certain events occur.
  • Other provisions - A parenting plan can include any other decisions made between parents to protect children’s best interests or encourage parents’ cooperation in raising their children. For instance, it may state that parents are prohibited from drinking alcohol or using drugs during their parenting time.

Contact a DuPage County Divorce Attorney

Illinois law requires parents to submit a parenting plan (either together or separately) within 120 days of filing a petition for the allocation of parental responsibilities. If you need help reaching an agreement on any parenting issues during your divorce, the attorneys of Anderson & Associates, P.C. can work with you and your spouse to resolve outstanding issues and create a parenting plan that protects your rights and meets your children’s needs. Contact a Wheaton divorce lawyer today by calling 630-653-9400 to arrange a free consultation.

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Wheaton divorce lawyer unallocated support alimony taxesWhen spouses divorce, they will both often struggle to support themselves financially as they adjust to living in on a single income rather than two combined incomes. In some cases, a person may be able to receive financial support from their former partner. This support may include either child support meant to provide for children’s needs or spousal maintenance (formerly known as alimony in Illinois) meant to help a spouse maintain a similar standard of living to what they were accustomed to while married. In some cases, unallocated support may be beneficial for both parties, but divorcing spouses should be aware of how recent changes to the law affect this type of support.

What Is Unallocated Support?

Under current laws, spousal support payments may be deducted from the payor’s taxable income, and they must be reported as taxable income by the recipient. Child support is taxed in an opposite manner: it is not tax-deductible for the parent paying support, nor is it taxable for the parent receiving support.

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DuPage County divorce attorney parents childrenThe breakdown of a marriage is a stressful, difficult experience, not only for the spouses, but also for their children. When parents decide to get divorced, it may ultimately be the best decision for their family, but it can also affect their children in a variety of ways. In order to protect children and provide them with the support they need, it is important to understand the impact that divorce can have on them and how these effects vary depending on children’s age.

Babies and Toddlers

Small children are still developing cognitively, and they will struggle to understand what is happening when their parents break up. However, they do recognize emotions, and they will be affected by the tension and conflict between parents. They may become irritable, they might have difficulties eating and sleeping, and their development may slow or regress.

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Wheaton divorce lawyer marital difficultiesFew people enter a marriage expecting their relationship to end, but unfortunately, divorce is all too common. Marriage takes a lot of work, and spouses will need to put in time and effort throughout their years of partnership if they want to keep their relationship strong. There are a wide variety of reasons why marriages break down, but here are some of the most common issues that can lead to marital difficulties, and eventually to divorce:

  • Money problems - Financial issues can be one of the primary sources of disagreement in a marriage. When couples do not discuss their outstanding debt, including student loans and credit card debts, before getting married, they may find that these obligations affect their plans for buying a house, having children, or maintaining the standard of living they expect. Couples also often disagree about budgeting, expenses, and purchases, and this can be a major source of stress in their relationship.
  • Changing plans and expectations - People’s ideas of what they want out of their life can often change as they get older, and this may lead spouses to grow apart as they discover they have differing goals or plans for the future.
  • Failure to stay connected and committed - A healthy relationship requires commitment from both parties. Unfortunately, people often become complacent in their marriage, failing to regularly communicate with their spouse and be there for them. 
  • Lack of intimacy - A failure to regularly communicate often leads to a lack of a physical and emotional connection as well. When a couple becomes little more than roommates rather than partners, this can make divorce likely.
  • Religion - Spouses who do not share the same beliefs may be able to overcome these differences early in their relationships, but these issues can create a rift later in a marriage, especially when disagreements arise related to family expectations, holiday celebrations, traditions, and how children will be raised.
  • Family issues - Relationship issues can result when a spouse does not get along with their in-laws or when they are not prepared for a certain level of involvement in their lives from other family members. Children can also affect a marriage, especially when parents focus on their children at the expense of their own relationship.

Contact a Wheaton Family Law Attorney

Each of these issues on their own may not spell the end of a marriage, but the combination of multiple factors, along with other reasons that may be unique to each individual situation, can cause the irretrievable breakdown of a relationship. If you have reached the point where you feel that ending your marriage is the best solution for you, the attorneys of Anderson & Associates, P.C. can help you understand your rights and work with you to complete the legal requirements for dissolving your marriage. Contact a DuPage County divorce lawyer at 630-653-9400 to schedule a free consultation.

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Wheaton divorce preparation attorneyThe end of a marriage is a difficult prospect for many people to come to terms with, but getting out of a relationship that is no longer working is often best for everyone involved. However, determining the best path to take and understanding the issues that must be resolved during divorce can be a daunting prospect. If you are considering divorce, or if you are ready to begin the process of ending your marriage, be sure to take the following steps:

  1. Understand your options - Are you ready to end your marriage as soon as possible, or would you prefer legal separation while you attempt to repair your relationship? Will you be able to resolve issues amicably through mediation, or do you expect any contentious disputes to arise? Are you able to reach an agreement regarding parental responsibility and/or parenting time? Addressing these issues will help you know what to expect during divorce and ensure that you are prepared to meet your legal requirements.
  1. Get your finances in order - Be sure you fully understand your finances, including the income you earn, the assets you own, the expenses you must pay, your credit card debt, and any other relevant aspects of your situation. Open bank accounts and credit cards in your own name, giving you complete control of your own finances. Document your assets and valuable possessions to ensure that they will be divided equitably during divorce.
  1. Consider your living situation - Will you or your spouse continue living in your marital home, or do you plan to sell the house? Will you be able to continue living together until the divorce is finalized? Do you know where you will be living, and will you be able to pay expenses such as rent and utilities? Answering these questions will help you prepare for success in your newly single life.
  1. Set rules for communication - Your relationship with your spouse is probably already strained, and communication with them will likely only become more difficult during divorce. Creating rules for when and how you will contact each other and what is appropriate to discuss can help you avoid emotional conflicts and reach a resolution to your divorce more effectively. Work on keeping communication brief and businesslike, avoiding arguments over who is to blame for the failure of your relationship.
  1. Determine how to talk to children - Telling your children about your divorce can be difficult, but ideally, both parents should talk to children together, letting them know that the divorce is not their fault and that you will always love them, no matter what. Before having this conversation, it is a good idea to speak to your spouse to ensure that you are both on the same page and agree to keep children out of any conflicts between you.
  1. Speak to an attorney - Even if your divorce is amicable and you expect to be able to reach a resolution with minimal conflict, you should work with a divorce lawyer to draft a settlement that meets the legal requirements for dissolving your marriage. This will ensure that no unexpected issues arise and provide you with a legal framework for any disputes that may come up in the future.

Contact a DuPage County Divorce Attorney

While divorce can be complicated, proper planning and preparation will allow you to reach a favorable resolution. At Anderson & Associates, P.C., our attorneys can help you meet your legal requirements and negotiate a favorable settlement while ensuring that your rights are protected throughout the divorce process. Contact our Wheaton divorce lawyers at 630-653-9400 to schedule a free consultation.

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Wheaton spousal maintenance lawyerDivorce can cause a great deal of upheaval in a person’s life, and the prospect of single life can be especially stressful someone who earns less than their ex-spouse or who has chosen to care for children rather than work outside the home. Fortunately, Illinois law allows a lower-earning spouse to receive maintenance (which is also known as alimony) from their ex-spouse which will provide them with a standard of living that is close to what they enjoyed while they were married.

Calculating the Amount and Duration of Maintenance Payments Under Illinois Law

On January 1, 2018, a few recent changes to Illinois law went into effect, making some adjustments to the statutes governing spousal maintenance. The formula used to calculate the amount of maintenance in Illinois is now used when spouses earn a combined income of less than $500,000 (this was raised from $250,000), and the methods for determining the duration of maintenance were also updated.

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