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Springfield, Illinois Divorce Law Blog

Brad Pitt gets more time with his children

After a divorce it can be difficult for a family to find balance, especially when children were involved in the process of undoing a marital relationship. Many Illinois parents struggle to discover ways of ensuring that parent-child bonds remain strong. For one former celebrity couple, court intervention was necessary to ensure that the father's options for seeing and communicating with his kids were not infringed upon by their mother.

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie were married for several years and have six children. Jolie was originally awarded primary custody of the children, but Pitt made changes to his work schedule and life to make time to be with his three sons and three daughters. A court recently recognized Pitt's efforts and ordered that he be allowed more time with the kids or Jolie could face the loss of custody.

Child support may be applied to many expenses and costs

40452060_S.jpgThe cost of raising a child can be staggering. Even if a parent could only provide their child with the basic necessities the youth needed to survive, they would still need to put a roof over the child's head, keep clothing on their back and fill their plate with food multiple times each day. However, parents in Illinois do so much more for their kids than the bare minimums and all of those costs and expenses can add up to an enormous sum as their children get older.

When a parent has custodial rights over their child, the child's non-custodial parent may be required to provide them with child support. Child support is financial support and generally is paid on a monthly basis until the child becomes an adult or is otherwise emancipated from the care of their parents. When a parent provides their child with child support those payments may be used for many different child-rearing purposes.

Custody issues for unmarried parents

57364419_S.jpgNot every child custody issue that makes its way into the courts of Illinois is based on a divorce. In fact, many unmarried couples face custody struggles when they cannot come to terms with how to share their time with their kids. Although unmarried parents can create their own child-focused custody agreements and have those agreements approved by the courts, in some cases differences between the parents prevent them from creating their own parenting plans.

Custody matters can turn based on who is recognized as a biological parent of a child. A mother is easily identified as a parent through her inclusion on a child's birth certificate. However, if a man is not named on a child's birth certificate, or if he does not acknowledge his paternity of a child after the birth, then he may run into problems if he later wants to fight for custody rights. Therefore, paternity testing may become an issue in a custody matter between unmarried parents.

Does your custody plan serve your child's best interests?

80529970_S.jpgHaving a child is hard, but having more than one child can be even harder. Ask any parent of multiple children what it is like to juggle the lives of several dependents and they may launch into a discussion of varying schedules, differing needs and changing expectations. What a child in Springfield needs when they are a baby is different from what they need as a teenager, and a parent of more than one child must constantly adjust as their kids grow and learn.

Fitting all of the needs and expectations that children require into a custody and visitation parenting plan can be a difficult task. In Illinois and other jurisdictions throughout the United States, parents and courts work hard to make sure that any child's best interests guide custody and visitation decisions. However, when a single family contains multiple children with different needs, pulling together all of those considerations into a single document can be difficult.

Service members have options when filing for divorce

51287411_S.jpgNot everyone is able to commit themselves to serve in the United States military, but those who do offer their fellow citizens an invaluable service. Serving in the military can be incredibly difficult for anyone, including those who are married and who have families of their own that they are separated from during their times of active duty. When stress and strain impact the marriages of Illinois service members, they may turn to the courts to end their relationships in divorce.

However, pursuing a divorce while committed to one of the branches of service can be confusing. While civilians generally can file for divorce in the locations where they are residents, service members may have residencies in places that are different from where they are stationed. Their spouses may live in different states from them, leading to multiple locations where their divorces may be eligible for filing.

What does it mean to have "joint custody" of a child?

32559092_S.jpgAs previously discussed on this Springfield family law blog, a child's best interests will guide matters related to their custody. To this end, different children may have very different plans that establish where they will live, if and when they will visit with their parents and how their custody will be divided. This post will briefly touch on one important way parents may share custody of their children, which is "joint custody."

Joint custody means that both parents have custody of their child. This can relate to physical custody and legal custody. As a review, physical custody concerns the right of a parent to have a child live in their home, whereas legal custody concerns a parent's right to be involved in making important decisions about their child's life. Both are important rights that parents can fight to retain after their relationships with each other end.

Why is it important to establish legal paternity?

22077733_S.jpgUnder certain circumstances, a child is presumed to be the offspring of a woman and a particular man. For example, when the child is born to a married Illinois couple then it is presumed that the man and woman are the child's biological parents. However, as readers of this family legal blog know, not all children are born to couples who have chosen to establish their relationships through marriage.

When questions exist regarding the parentage of a child, it is important for men to work toward establishing paternity. While the identity of a child's mother is rarely in question, the identity of their father can be less straightforward and can require testing to prove or disprove that a man is biologically related to the youth.

What are the best interests of a child?

41432381_S.jpgWhen a judge is tasked with the decision of determining child custody and/or visitation schedules, the first item he or she will take into consideration is commonly known as the child's "best interests." This is an all-encompassing term, which includes all aspects of a child's well-being.

The State of Illinois defines best interest in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, Section 602.7. Custody decisions, especially modifications after divorce, are not made nor taken lightly. Every state has its own strict guidelines in place.

Assistance to facilitate adoption in Illinois

37681551_S.jpgAdopting a foster child who is currently under guardianship of the Department of Children and Family Services can be a complicated legal process. For that reason, it is important for those navigating the process to understand what they can expect and how to best address any potential issues as they seek a positive resolution.

The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services has created a guide to inform adoptive parents of their rights and responsibilities in selecting and retaining an attorney to represent them throughout the process. That guide can be found here.

How do I get a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity set aside?

A previous post on this blog discussed how men in Springfield, Illinois, can sign a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity as an easy way to become the legal father of a child.

Signing this Acknowledgement grants important fathers' rights to the man, but along with those rights, it also imparts important responsibilities, including the responsibility to support the child financially.

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