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Springfield, Illinois Divorce Law Blog

What rights does an unmarried father have?

123247652_S.jpgBecoming a parent is a joyous if not stressful event in the life of an Illinois man. While he may not experience all of the physical pressures that his partner will undergo in order to bring a child into the world, he may share with her the worry and excitement, fear and love that take over as their baby's due date gets closer and closer. The arrival of a baby may bring him and his partner closer together, or it may stress their relationship to the point of ending it.

When two unmarried individuals have a child, there can be some serious legal issues to be worked out as they negotiate the world of custody, visitation and support. Particularly for the father, ensuring that he has time and authority in his child's life can be of the utmost importance. If a man is not married to his partner, he may not be automatically recognized as his child's father.

Differences between joint and sole physical custody plans

54444023_S.jpgPhysical custody is one of the two issues that must be addressed when Illinois parents create parenting plans. Physical custody relates to where a child will live once their parents no longer have a relationship as well as which parent will be responsible for the child's day to day needs. This form of custody may be shared between the parents in a joint arrangement or may be granted to one parent if the circumstances warrant such action.

When parents share physical custody the arrangement can take on many forms. How this arrangement will be set will greatly depend on the needs and interests of the child or children who are impacted by it. For example, for some families it may make sense for the parents to have equal time with their kids. For others, it may be better for the children to spend the school week with one parent and the weekends with the other.

Legal guidance for families considering step-parent adoption

69435708_S.jpgIt is often said that a person cannot choose their family, and to some extent this is a true statement. A child does not get to pick their biological parents, and though a person may select who they want to marry, that choice brings with it all of the good and bad of their new spouse's relatives. Illinois families change over time as individuals marry, children are born and divorces split the legal unions that were formed by the courts.

From time to time, individuals with children choose to marry and their children become the step-kids of their new spouses. The new spouses are not granted parental rights over the kids since presumably the kids still have two parents; when a parent loses their rights to their kids or gives them up, however, the spouse of the other parent may elect to adopt the children in a step-parent adoption process.

What is a post-divorce modification?

44914380_S.jpgWhen the parties to an Illinois couple reach the end of their divorce, they will presumably have all of their personal and financial matters worked out. They will have divided up their assets and debts, and they will have decided how items of property should be distributed between them. If they have kids, they will have worked out how custody will be established to serve their children's needs, and they will have set rules on how child support and spousal support should be paid.

The decisions that are made during a divorce are worked into a final divorce order, and that order carries with it the weight of judicial authority. The parties to the divorce are bound to follow the terms of the order and included provisions or face the possible sanctions of failing to comply. However, it is not uncommon for individuals to find, over time, that their divorce orders have become unworkable and that they need to make changes to them.

Many factors are considered when child support is ordered

39484505_S.jpgChild support is an important way for parents to ensure that their children are financially secure after they go through divorce. In Illinois divorce courts can order that parents pay child support and those orders will generally stipulate how much and when those payments must be made. Before a child support order is issued, though, many considerations must be made to determine an appropriate amount.

Illinois courts use a set of guidelines to determine how much money a child should receive in support. Those guidelines include considerations related to the financial situation of the child, their custodial parent, and their noncustodial parent. Generally child support orders are applicable only to noncustodial parents as custodial parents are expected to provide for their kids while they are in their homes.

Revisiting a prenuptial agreement during a divorce

82731991_S.jpgPrenuptial agreements, sometimes called premarital agreements, are contracts that are drafted before two people are joined in marriage. Prenuptial agreements often cover topics related to how the parties do and will own items of property and may also address if and how alimony should be awarded in the event that the parties' marriage ends in divorce.

A prenuptial agreement predates a marriage, and therefore it may sit unvisited for years if the couple that created it stays married. Over time the terms in that agreement may become more or less applicable to the lives of the parties; in the event that they wish to divorce they may need to revisit and revise their expectations for how their property and wealth will be treated in their divorce.

What happens if a parent loses legal custody of their child?

40290339_S.jpgIt is hard to raise a child and doing it without the support of a co-parent in the home can be even more difficult. All across Illinois, mothers and fathers are trying to do their best for their kids, including those who have gone through divorce and are making important decisions about their children with former partners and spouses. Parents cannot stop actively making choices about their kids' well-beings just because their marriages end: the right of a parent to stay involved in the child-rearing decisions of their kids' lives relates to whether they have legal custody of their child.

Unlike physical custody, where a child actually lives in the home of their physical custodian, legal custodians may not have the right to allow their children to reside with them. They do, however, have the rights to share their opinions, express their concerns, and stay involved in the choices that will impact how their children are raised.

When child custody and active deployment overlap

47436648_S.jpgA person who makes the commitment to serve the nation in the military takes on a heavy burden of duty and expectation. Depending upon their role in their branch of service they may work domestically to keep the country safe, or they may be subject to deployments overseas to serve in different missions. If an Illinois resident is responsible for the custody of their children when a domestic move or overseas deployment is required, they may not know what to do to ensure that their kids are cared for in their absence.

When establishing the custody of their kids, parents who are members of the military may want to write into their custody agreements provisions that address just these topics. A parent who may be asked to move may not be able to take their child with them without first discussing it with their ex; the rights of noncustodial parents must still be honored when military parents must move with their kids.

Establishing paternity has many legal ramifications

30155891_S.jpgParents often take pride in the actions and accomplishments of their children. From birth, parents may revel in the many ways their new babies change from day to day, and as their children age they may marvel in the skills and talents their kids acquire through hard work and practice. Being a parent is a rewarding if difficult role that many Illinois residents choose to embrace.

However, not all parents have the opportunity to watch their children grow and thrive. Too often fathers are cut out of their children's lives at birth when those fathers are not given an opportunity to establish their paternal connections to their kids. A father who does not have a paternal, legal relationship established with his child may not have custody of that child, visitation time with them or other important parent-child connections.

Special issues may apply during gray divorces

37230995_S.jpgThe topic of gray divorce may or may not be familiar to readers of this Springfield family law blog. It refers to divorces that occur between individuals who are older, generally in their 50's or older. Often gray divorce brings long-term marriages to their end and often does not involve matters related to custody or child support. To such ends, gray divorces often revolve around happiness, money and making the most of the parties' futures.

While other age demographic groups are divorcing at lower rates than in the past, individuals who classify as gray divorcees are growing. This is because divorce is not the same taboo topic that it was generations ago, and older individuals are finding it easier to connect with more like-minded partners through online dating platforms.

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