Archive for the ‘Illinois Family Lawyer’ tag

How Can DCFS Being Called Affect Your Child Custody Agreement?

April 16th, 2015 at 6:42 pm

protective services, DCFS, Chicago Family LawyerAlthough the possibility of initiating a Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) complaint is often dismissed as an empty threat, it should be taken seriously. Every day in Illinois and the rest of the United States, children are subjected to dangerous neglect and abuse by their parents. Social service departments like DCFS exist to get children out of these kinds of situations and prevent them from being endangered in the future. Certain cases may require established custody orders to be altered.

When somebody calls DCFS with a concern about your child’s safety or welfare, the agency is required to investigate the claim. If a representative finds that abuse, neglect, or any other form of child endangerment has occurred in your household, your custody agreement may be changed. You could, depending on the severity of the mistreatment that occurred, lose custody of your child, have restrictions placed on your visitation, or lose all parenting rights completely. DCFS can not determine your custody agreement, but its input can play a role in the court’s decisions regarding your child’s custody.

If you find yourself in an open case with DCFS, contact an experienced family attorney to learn more about your rights as a parent and what you need to do to keep your custodial rights.

Child Protective Services in Illinois

The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) is the agency that handles all child welfare issues in Illinois. It is tasked with investigating allegations of child abuse or neglect, facilitating adoptions, reunifying children with their families, and licensing day care facilities. It also provides professional services for families throughout the state who are involved in a pending DCFS case.

If DCFS Gets Involved With Your Family

Although it may be difficult, it is important to keep in mind that DCFS is most interested in the well-being of your child. If and when a DCFS investigation becomes necessary, it is important to cooperate with reasonable requests from the representative who comes to your home. This will generally permit the agency to quickly reach a conclusion and make a finding in your case.

Cooperate with the court as well. If your custody or visitation order is modified and you would like to return to your prior arrangement, you will need to prove to the court that it is in your child’s best interest. In some situations, the court may order an in-home evaluation to ensure that you are providing a safe and health environment for your children. It is important to attend court and follow the orders entered by the judge.

Chicago Child Custody Attorneys

If your family is invovled in a DCFS case, contact a skilled Chicago family attorney at Anderson & Associates, P.C. to discuss the impact it can have on your child and your child custody case. You can reach us at 312-345-9999 and at one of our five convenient office locations in downtown Chicago, Schaumburg, Wheaton, Orland Park, or Northbrook. Our firm will work to advocate for you when working with the Department of Children and Family Services.

 

Heavy Social Media Use Linked to Divorce Rates

April 14th, 2015 at 6:30 pm

social media, divorce rate, Illinois divorce lawyerCould your constant Facebook posting, Twitter use, and other social media posting be cause for concern in your marriage? A new study says it can and shows a correlation between social media use and divorce. The cause for divorce is not the use of social media, but rather those who use social media more than those who do not are more likely to get a divorce.

The researchers compared data collected about married couples from 2008 through 2010 with data from a 2011 study of married couples. The growth of Facebook and other social media sites were found to be correlated to the rise in divorce rates during the same time periods.

According to Boston University’s director of the Division of Emerging Media Studies, James E. Katz, “the apparent association between the use of Facebook and other social networking sites and divorce and marital unhappiness in the United States raises troubling questions not only about how we use these tools, but how their use affects marriage.”

Stopping the Social Media Use Conflict

When it comes to social media use and marriage, if someone is unhappy in their marriage, it is easy to see why they may turn to social media and become immersed in social media. They make connections on Facebook, Twitter, or other social media sites. The friends they have on those sites are supportive and listen. They can give encouragement and lend a virtual shoulder to cry on.

Turning to those virtual friends, which sometimes leads to real-life friendships, does not always help mend the problems in the marriage. It can turn into an serious problem, though. Spending more time on social media and interacting on social media sites may have characteristics similar to other behaviors that may cause marital conflict. Continual heavy usage of social media and not communicating with your spouse may lead to divorce.

If your spouse is spending more time on social media sites than they are communicating with you, you may start feeling resentful and unhappy in your marriage. If you are considering filing for divorce, you should speak with an experienced Chicago divorce attorney. Anderson & Associates, P.C. assists clients in Illinois from one of our five offices, conveniently located in Chicago, Schaumburg, Wheaton, Northbrook, and Orland Park.

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.