Archive for the ‘Illinois Family Law Attorney’ Category

Orders of Protection: An Abused Area of the Law?

April 28th, 2015 at 6:08 pm

domestic violence, orders of protection, Illinois family lawyerWhen an individual faces domestic violence from his or her intimate partner or another member of the household, he or she has the right to petition for an order of protection. An order of protection, sometimes also known as a restraining order, is a court order that prohibits an individual from engaging in specific behaviors, including physical abuse, stalking, or contacting another individual, for a specified length of time. These orders can be enforced in several ways, including by the penalties outlined in the Illinois Criminal Code, including fines and jail time.

But can orders of protection be sought frivolously and abused by vindictive individuals seeking control of their former partners? Absolutely. However, without an order in place, a victim may be at risk for further abuse, injury, and death. This is why the longest-lasting type of order of protection, a plenary order of protection, requires the opportunity for both the petitioner and his or her alleged abuser to present their case to a judge before the order may be issued – to determine whether or not the petitioner truly needs and can be helped by an order of protection against his or her former partner.

Types of Orders of Protection

Three different types of orders of protection are available to victims. They are as follows:

  • Emergency order of protection. This is an order that a petitioner may obtain if he or she was abused as defined by the Illinois Domestic Violence Act. The abuser, known as the respondent, is not required to be present when the order is issued.  The emergency order of protection, however, can only last for up to 21 days;
  • Plenary order of protection. The respondent must be served with notice of the order of protection proceedings and given an opportunity to appear before the court. This type of order of protection may remain in place for up to two years;  and
  • Interim order of protection. An interim order of protection can act as a stopgap between an emergency and plenary order of protection.  A court can enter an interim order of protection if the respondent has been served with notice of the proceedings or if the petitioner proves that he or she has made a diligent effort to serve the respondent.  An interim order of protection can last for up to 30 days.

Individuals who wish to seek an order of protection may do so with the circuit court of the county where they live, where the respondent lives, where the alleged abuse occurred, or where the petitioner is temporarily located if he or she left to avoid further abuse.

Famlily Law Attorneys in the Chicago Area

If you are a victim of domestic violence, contact the skilled Chicago family law attorneys Anderson & Associates, P.C. at 312-345-9999 to schedule your free legal consultation in one of our firm’s five convenient office locations: downtown Chicago, Wheaton, Orland Park, Schaumburg, and Northbrook. We are here to advocate for you and your family and provide you with top-notch legal advice and representation when you need it most.

Prenuptial Agreements for Second and Third Marriages

April 24th, 2015 at 6:04 pm

prenuptial agreement, prenup, Illinois family law attorneyWhether you are entering your first marriage or your fifth, it is important to protect your assets by signing a prenuptial agreement. A prenuptial agreement is a legal document that details your plans for your assets and support in the event of a death or a divorce. In Illinois, they are governed by the Illinois Uniform Premarital Agreement Act.

Prenuptial agreements are especially important for individuals entering second and subsequent marriages because they are entering into a new agreement after being previously married and divorce. In essence, a marriage is a contract and when signing a new marriage contract, one must consider the terms he or she is bound to by his or her previous divorce contract.

Without a prenuptial agreement, your new spouse may be automatically entitled to your assets. Likewise, you may be entitled to his or hers. Prenuptial agreements are recommended for any individual who is planning to enter a marriage, but especially for business owners and individuals who have significant assets. Although it can seem unromantic to ask your partner to sign a prenuptial agreement, it is a realistic, responsible way to ensure that you retain your assets in a divorce or your children from a prior relationship still receive an inheritance after you pass away. It also allows you to have a full and frank discussion with your fiancée about your priorities and finances prior to entering into the marriage

What May Be Included in a Prenuptial Agreement?

  • Designations about who may receive funds from your assets, such as your stocks, bonds, and financial accounts;
  • Money and property allocations to your children from a previous marriage or former spouse;
  • The beneficiaries of your retirement plan. If your current spouse opts to waive this right, you may instead name a former spouse or your child the beneficiary of your retirement plan after your death;
  • The amount of spousal support, if any, a spouse will receive in the event of a divorce;and
  • Each spouse’s responsibility to your jointly-accumulated or individually-held debts.

For a prenuptial agreement to be valid, both parties must fully disclose all of their assets and debts. If either party is later found to have withheld information or lied about his or her financial circumstances at the time the prenuptial agreement was signed, the agreement may be invalidated.

Terms that can not be legally enforced may not be included in a prenuptial agreement. These include lifestyle choices like the number of children a couple has, where they live, and how they spend their time. Only tangible issues, such as those regarding a couple’s finances and assets, may be written into a prenuptial agreement.

Divorce Attorneys in the Chicago Area

If you are considering getting married for the second, third, or subsequent time, contact Anderson & Associates, P.C. to discuss the importance of signing a prenuptial agreement. The skilled Chicago divorce attorneys at our firm understand the unique financial considerations that individuals entering second and subsequent marriages face. Do not get married again without a prenuptial agreement. Contact us today to set up your initial legal consultation in one of our firm’s five convenient locations: Schaumburg, Orland Park, Northbrook, Wheaton, and downtown Chicago.

Top Child Issues That Same-Sex Couples Should Consider

April 9th, 2015 at 7:30 pm

same-sex couples, same-sex rights, Illinois Family Lawyer

Before becoming a parent, it is important that you understand all potential legal issues  that could affect your family in the future. This is true for individuals in same- and opposite-sex relationships. For individuals in same-sex relationships, though, there are certain additional issues to consider.

Because both partners in a same-sex relationship cannot be their child’s biological parents, many of the potential issues for same-sex parents are related to the legal status of the child’s non-biological parent. When an individual gives birth to or fathers a child, he or she is typically presumed to be the child’s legal parent. His or her partner, however, must petition the court to formally adopt the child in order to have the same legal rights to the child as the biological parent.

Consult with an experienced family attorney before you and your partner adopt or conceive a child. He or she will be able to guide you through the process of establishing yourselves as your child’s legal parents and protecting your rights in the future, should your relationship end through divorce or death.

Adoption

Many individuals in same-sex relationships become parents through adoption, either through an agency or private adoption, the use of a surrogate, or through a second-parent adoption. A second-parent adoption means that one partner legally adopts his or her partner’s biological child, which officially provides the adoptive parent the same legal rights as the biological parent

In Illinois, same-sex couples are permitted to jointly adopt children from agencies and through private adoptions. An individual may petition to adopt his or her partner’s child or a child conceived during the couple’s relationship with help from a sperm donor or a surrogate. Individuals of all sexual orientations are also permitted to adopt children as single parents.

Second Parent’s Rights after a Divorce

If one of the partners in a relationship is not the child’s legal parent, he or she may face difficulties when trying to establish a custody agreement or visitation rights after a divorce or a break up. This is why it is so important for the non-biological parent in a same-sex couple to legally adopt the couple’s child. If he or she does not do this, it may be impossible for him or her to create a functional custody or support agreement.

For an individual who is not a child’s parent to seek and receive custody of him or her, the child must not be living with either of his or her actual parents. Both parents, if the child has two legal parents, must also have voluntarily ceased to care for the child and the individual who is seeking custody must have a significant history of caring for this child. These requirements are known as “standing,” which is the legal right an individual has to pursue a court case.

If a same-sex couple was married, he or she may have standing to seek custody as a stepparent. However, this is only permitted under very specific circumstances.  Specifically, if the child’s former custodial parent dies or becomes disabled and can not care for the child, the child’s stepparent may seek custody of the child if the following conditions exist:

  • The child is 12 years old or older;
  • The stepparent and the child’s parent were married for at least five years;
  • The stepparent played a considerable role in caring for the child prior to filing his or her petition;
  • The child wants to live with the stepparent; and
  • The court determines that visitation is in the child’s best interest.

Family Attorneys in the Chicago Area

As a prospective or current parent in a same-sex relationship, it is important that you understand all the legal issues that could affect your family. Contact Anderson & Associates, P.C. at 312-345-9999 or on the web to discuss any pertinent issues with one of the experienced Chicago family attorneys at our firm. We proudly serve and advocate for parents and families throughout the Chicago area, with offices in downtown Chicago, Orland Park, Wheaton, Northbrook, and Schaumburg.

Which Party Pays for Day Care Expenses in an Illinois Divorce?

April 3rd, 2015 at 5:49 pm

day care expenses, child care costs, Illinois Family Law AttorneyAre you going through a divorce and have young children in day care? Day care expenses are the largest household expense for most parents, according to CNN Money. With the growing number of children in day care, an important topic to discuss with your child support attorney is the responsibility for day care expenses.

Are Child Care Expenses included in Child Support?

report issued by Child Care Aware of America stated average expenses for day care can rival expenses for housing, transportation, and even tuition and fees for college. With the number of children in day care growing, so are the prices of day care. After a divorce, the thought of the expense of day care can be overwhelming, but equally overwhelming can be the idea of having to quit or cut back hours at your job to avoid the expense.

Quitting or cutting back hours at your job is not an option for most parents, especially when you are going through a divorce and your income is being divided. In Illinois, the court will determine what is in the best interest of your child or children. This will include child support, visitation rights, and custody. Day care expenses are awarded above and beyond basic child support. Child support is intended to be used for food, clothing, and the other basic needs of the child.

Who Pays Day Care Expenses?

The judge will determine how much each parent will pay of the day care costs. In most cases, the court will take into account the  cost of the day care, child support, income and financial circumstances of each parent, and if one or both parents are attending school. Costs beyond child support may be split in any proportion depending on the judge’s findings after consideration of the specific facts of the case.

Both parents are typically responsible for paying for day care expenses, but sometimes circumstances change. If you are going through a divorce or want to modify your divorce decree, you need to speak with a Chicago family law attorney. At Anderson & Associates, P.C. our family law attorneys specialize in both divorce and post decree modifications. Anderson & Associates, P.C. assists clients in Illinois from one of our five offices, conveniently located in Chicago, Schaumburg, Wheaton, Northbrook, and Orland Park.

Understanding Illinois Visitation Rights

April 2nd, 2015 at 2:59 pm

visitation, visitation rights, Illinois Family Law Attorneys

Every custody arrangement is unique. In some cases, the court elects to award joint custody to both parents. This means that both parents are expected to cooperatively make decisions related to the child’s upbringing, including his or her education, religious training, and other considerations. The court may require parents with joint custody to draft a joint parenting agreement outlining each of their respective responsibilities and establishing an arrangement regarding the child’s time with each parent.

In other cases, the court recognizes that granting one parent sole custody is in the child’s best interest. The custodial parent is responsible for making the important decisions related to the child, and retains primary physical custody. Under Illinois law, the non-custodial parent is granted the reasonable right to visitation with the child.

In some cases, a relative other than a child’s parent may receive visitation rights. This can include the child’s grandparent or sibling if the court determines that such a visitation agreement is in the child’s best interest. Otherwise, this right is generally reserved for the child’s parents. Another relative will be granted visitation rights with a child only if the parents are unreasonable in denying visitation and specific familial circumstances exists, such as where one of the child’s parents is deceased or missing for at least three months.

Restrictions on Visitation Rights

If necessary, the court may impose restrictions on a parent’s visitation rights with his or her child in order to ensure the child’s safety. These restrictions may include:

  • Prohibiting the parent from using drugs or alcohol while in the child’s presence;
  • Requiring that the visits occur in the custodial parent’s home;
  • Prohibiting the visits from occurring in the non-custodial parent’s home;
  • Prohibiting overnight visits; and
  • Requiring that the visits be supervised by a third party.

These restrictions are put in place to protect the child. If a parent violates these restrictions, the court may modify or suspend his or her visitation rights entirely. Examples of reasons why a parent’s visitation rights may be suspended include:

  • If the parent has a history of harming the child. This can be physical harm, emotional harm, neglect, or psychological harm;
  • If the parent is found guilty of a crime against a child; and
  • If the parent is currently suffering from any type of substance addiction.

Chicago Family Attorneys

Call 312-345-9999 to speak with one of the experienced family attorneys at Anderson & Associates, P.C. about your child custody case. We are here to serve you in one of our five convenient office locations in the Chicago area: Wheaton, Northbrook, Orland Park, downtown Chicago, and Schaumburg. Child custody cases can be sensitive and create friction within families. Contact our firm for expert legal advice and representation on this and other difficult family law matters. We will give your case the dedication and attention to detail it deserves.

 

Child Removal: Moving Out of Illinois with a Child Custody Agreement

March 25th, 2015 at 3:02 pm

child custody, moving out of state, Illinois Family Law AttorneyIf you are thinking of moving out of state due to an improvement in employment, marriage, or to be near family, and have a custody agreement with the other parent of your child, you will need to get permission before moving. If you and the other parent do not agree to you moving out of state, you will need to file a petition with the court to remove the child out of Illinois before you are actually able to move. This is not intended to limit your ability to improve your living, but rather to ensure the best interest of the child is being kept the highest priority.

Petitioning to Move

 The court will consider many different factors during the process to determine whether the move is in the child’s best interest. These factors may include, but are not limited to:

  • The specific improvement in living arrangements offered by the change;
  • Reasons why the petitioning parent wants to move;
  • Current visitation and custody agreements;
  • The effect the move will have on the child; and
  • How the relationship with the other parent will be affected.

Similar to filing a petition to modify your custody agreement, as the petitioner, you will bear the burden of proof to show that the move is beneficial and in the best interest of the child. If you are the one requesting the move, you should be prepared to state the reason for the move, why the child should stay with you, and how your child will maintain a relationship with the non-custodial parent.

Ignoring the requirement to file a petition can have dire consequences. If the non-custodial parent contests the move, they may file to have the child returned to Illinois. This does not mean you are necessarily required to move back, just your child. Such a situation can be very costly, in addition to the expenses already incurred in making the move. Even if the move truly is in the best interest of the child, failure to have the move legally approved could have a negative impact on your case.

Successful Petition to Move

A successful petition to move out of Illinois with your child will involve demonstrating that the move is not due to malice or retaliation against the non-custodial parent, but rather that it will improve your child’s quality of life and health. You must also prove that you will cooperate to ensure your child maintains a relationship with the other parent.

If you have custody of your child and intend to move outside of Illinois, you need to speak with an experienced attorney who has handled removal court cases. Contact a qualified Chicago child removal attorney to discuss the best course of action. Anderson & Associates, P.C. assists clients throughout the region from any of our five offices, conveniently located in Chicago, Schaumburg, Wheaton, Northbrook, and Orland Park.