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Springfield, Illinois Divorce Law Blog

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

Having 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.

The Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity in Illinois

This blog has discussed on previous occasion how DNA testing works when it comes to paternity and what a Springfield, Illinois, father might expect if he decides to go to court to establish paternity.

However, there is another way that a dad wh13689271_S.jpgo is not legally married to the mother of his child can establish paternity quickly and efficiently. This option, called a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity, just involves properly completing a form prepared by the State of Illinois.

How grandparents can obtain custody

89016605_S.jpgAs this blog has explained previously, grandparents' rights are somewhat limited in Illinois, as the law of this state expresses a strong preference for a child's legal parents to raise that child and make important decisions on his or her behalf.

However, there is a way, called a guardianship, for Springfield grandparents to obtain child custody over the grandchildren, although this way is only available in limited circumstances, such as when neither of the child's parents are willing or able to care for their child.

The Servicemembers Civil Relief Act

38961818_S.jpgOne unique aspect of military family law is that the federal Servicemembers Civil Relief Act may apply to child custody, paternity, divorce or child support actions involving an active duty member of the military, particularly when that person is deployed.

It is relatively odd that federal law regulates topics that are normally matters left up to the different states, but Congress thought it was appropriate that soldiers and sailors who were away serving the United States should not have to worry about various legal matters taking place at home, especially litigation that the servicemember simply cannot attend or devote time to.

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