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St. Charles paternity lawyerEstablishing paternity in Illinois is essential for many reasons. Not only do parents have legal rights to their children, but many parents wish to establish legal parentage as a way to feel bonded to their children. If the parents of a child were unmarried at the time of the birth, a father would have to obtain legal paternity. With paternity comes legal rights to the child, including custody and the ability to make crucial decisions throughout the child’s life. 

What is Paternity?

Paternity is the legal term for the relationship between a father and child. When a mother gives birth, there is no question that the child belongs to her. However, there is no natural way to determine the father of a child without established paternity or a DNA test. Paternity does not always refer to the biological father, either. A parent can obtain legal rights through adoption. 

Why Should I Establish Paternity?

An unmarried father can face hurdles with his legal rights to the children born out of wedlock. These issues arise because paternity has not been established. There are many reasons that fathers choose to establish paternity, including:


Kane County divorce lawyerLies during the divorce process can seriously impact an individual's future and the outcome of their divorce. Exaggerating or falsifying legal documents during your divorce is a crime, leading to severe repercussions. Divorce attorneys can hire forensic accountants and other skilled specialists to look into a bank account and determine if there are hidden assets or falsified financial information. Here are common ways divorce documents are falsified and how hidden information can affect the outcome of your divorce.

Common Ways Divorce Documents are Falsified 

Perjury is commonly portrayed as lying during testimony on the witness stand, but there are other ways to perjure yourself in the court of law. Another common form of perjury occurs through falsifying court documents. Partners often lie in divorce cases to withhold shared assets or hide finances. In the case of divorce, perjury can be split into two main categories — direct and indirect acts. Direct acts of perjury include an individual explicitly lying. For example, a spouse claims they do not own any property besides the marital home, but there is a deed for another property with their name on it. Indirect perjury includes not sharing the entire truth. This form of perjury can look like undervaluing an asset to hide money. For example, a spouse values their business at $100,000, but an appraisal shows the company was worth $200,000.

Hiding assets is common for spouses to falsify information for personal gain in a divorce. Individuals may hide assets by:


Kane County divorce lawyerMany lifestyle changes occur following a divorce, from living arrangements to property division. If you recently completed a divorce, you may have questions regarding how this significant change affects different areas of your life, including how to file for taxes as a single individual. Tax considerations are often addressed directly in the divorce decree before entirely dissolving the marriage. However, individuals may still have questions regarding how to make tax filing changes or how a divorce will affect their tax refund at the end of the year. 

Filing Taxes Separately 

Whether or not a couple in the process of getting divorced can file their taxes jointly depends entirely on when the divorce is finalized. Suppose the spouses are still legally married before the last day of the year, December 31. In that case, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) still recognizes the individuals as a legally married couple, and they have the option to file taxes jointly. Once the divorce is finalized, the IRS will require that taxes be filed separately for that tax year. 

You can amend your tax filing status by filling out a 1040-X form. Often, divorced couples will have changes in their total income or child custody arrangements. For example, individuals who now have sole custody of their dependent children must update this on their tax status. Similarly, if you no longer have full custody of your children, you must also document this in your tax file. It is crucial to make these modifications if there has been a change in:


Kane County family law attorneyWhen an individual becomes a parent, they are generally entitled to certain rights regarding their child. However, there are a variety of circumstances that can result in a parent losing their parental rights in Illinois. From undetermined paternity to a lack of parental fitness, an individual’s right to parent their child can be revoked. Suppose you have had your parenting rights taken away. In that case, a family attorney can help you uncover your options towards establishing custody, parenting responsibilities, or visitation time with your child.   

Lack of Parental Fitness

In order to understand how the state can revoke parental rights, it is crucial to be familiar with parental fitness guidelines. Being a fit parent includes having the physical, emotional, and mental ability to care for your child. Ways that a parent can be deemed unfit include: 

  • History of child abuse or neglect
  • History of sexual abuse or assault 
  • One year or more of habitual substance abuse 
  • Living in an unsafe environment 
  • Consistent lack of accountability for childcare responsibilities 
  • Mental illness that impacts the ability to care for a child 

If a parent is deemed unfit to parent, the court could terminate their parenting rights, including custody, the right to visitation, or the right to make legal decisions for the child. These unfit qualities are especially reviewed during a divorce. If a couple is pursuing a custody battle while dissolving their marriage, the unfit parent may lose their parenting rights as a divorce agreement is drafted.  


Kane County family law attorneyOne of the toughest but most important parts of an Illinois divorce is creating a parenting agreement that suits both parents’ needs as well as the children’s best interests. Parents must often get creative and curious when creating a parenting plan because both spouses are sure to have strong opinions about what is likely to be the best arrangement. 

An important part of every Illinois parenting time arrangement is the right of first refusal - or, in other words, the obligation either or both parents have to seek child care from each other rather than a third party under certain clearly delineated circumstances. If done well, the right of first refusal can benefit children as well as divorced parents. Here are three ways your kids might benefit from a great right of first refusal clause. 

Strengthened Parent-Child Relationship

The clearest reason for a right of first refusal clause is the importance of increasing the time children spend with their parents and strengthening their relationship whenever possible. The right of first refusal allows this by ensuring children maximize the time spent with each parent, rather than with a babysitter or other family member. Although it may be easier for parents to sometimes rely on grandparents or neighbors to watch the children, and important though these other relationships may be, children need their parents’ caregiving more than anyone else’s. 


Kane County divorce attorneysCouples have to make many difficult decisions throughout the divorce process, including division of shared property, determining child custody and parenting time, and choosing who will remain in the family home. These choices present a challenge for many spouses, and the process of reaching a mutual decision is often contested. However, once couples have made a joint decision on all of the necessary factors following a divorce, there is another process to follow before the marriage can be fully dissolved. Couples must develop a Marital Settlement Agreement and prepare for a conference with their spouse. 

What is a Marital Settlement Agreement? 

After all of the difficult decisions have been made and agreed upon, couples must solidify the information in what is known as a Marital Settlement Agreement, also called an MSA. This agreement outlines all pertinent information that will make up the divorce decree, a legally binding document that expresses all of the required actions following the divorce. The MSA will include:

This agreement includes all of the decisions made during the divorce processes wrapped up in one legal document. It is essential for completing the divorce process. 


Kane County family law attorneyGoing through a divorce can be both complicated and frightening for many couples. Choosing to dissolve a marriage is emotionally taxing, and the complex legal proceedings can leave some individuals feeling lost — especially stay-at-home spouses. It may seem to be common knowledge that the partner in a relationship who is the primary caretaker will be awarded more assets during the divorce. However, Illinois places a firm emphasis on an equal division of property between both partners. If you are a full-time parent or homemaker preparing for divorce, here are three financial factors to consider.

Requesting Spousal Support 

Spousal support, maintenance payments, and alimony refer to the same concept — creating an income stream for the stay-at-home spouse following the divorce. When an individual does not have the means to be financially independent of their spouse, divorce can seem like a distant option. However, spousal support can provide monetary security for the home-based spouse. Spousal payments may be awarded if:

  • The stay-at-home spouse has been out of the workforce for a long time and is unable to find work following the divorce 
  • The homemaking spouse is the full-time caretaker of the children and chooses to remain a stay-at-home parent
  • Spousal support payments are being used to counteract a financial imbalance between a separate division of property between the spouses

Spousal support payments may be awarded depending on the duration of the marriage. A marriage that lasts five years or less can result in spousal maintenance for one year. A five-to ten-year marriage may result in spousal support for four years. A longer marriage that lasted upwards of 20 years could result in lifetime spousal support payments. 


Kane County divorce appeals lawyerDivorce judgments, also known as divorce decrees, are made during a marriage dissolution. These legal documents are intended to give ex-spouses a guideline for how their joint assets will be divided and allocate spousal and parental responsibilities. However, there are situations where an individual believes the court made a grave error in a decision made during a divorce proceeding. These errors can cause distress to a spouse or parent who feels the court ruled improperly. In Illinois, citizens have the right to appeal a final court ruling that has been implemented.

Valid Reasons to Submit an Appeal

It is essential to have a valid reason in the appealing process of making a change to important legal documents. Various circumstances could yield a good reason to appeal a decision. For example, if the court rules that one parent should not have visitation time with the children without understanding all of the evidence, that parent has the right to appeal that ruling. A spouse can not legally appeal a court decision simply because they are dissatisfied with the result of their case. There must be a legitimate legal flaw in the case, which could include:

  • The evidence used to make a legal ruling was inaccurate, incomplete, or inadmissible
  • A lawyer, judge, or jury made a procedural mistake in the case
  • The judge inaccurately applied the law in their ruling 
  • The was another error in the law that the judge used to make a final decision 

Real-life examples of how an error in the law could have created an improper ruling in a divorce case can include:


Kane County divorce attorneysDivorcing your spouse is tough and comes with many complex decisions, especially if you share children. If you and your spouse are both active parents in your children's lives, it can be hard to determine custody when splitting up the family. Often, this can lead to a contested divorce where partners can not agree on how to divide parenting time and custody. If you are currently dissolving your marriage with your partner and find yourself in a sticky situation disputing custody, these five tips may help you. 

Think About Your Parenting Strengths and Weaknesses

Parents must try to remain neutral when thinking about custody by keeping the children's best interests in mind. Parents should think about their own strengths and weaknesses and determine what would be best for the children. For example, if your spouse is way more active with the kids, but you are more of an authoritarian parent, consider letting your spouse parent over the weekends while you manage school days. Being honest is the best road to follow during a custody dispute. 

Do Not Talk Badly About Your Partner to the Kids

No matter what you think of your soon-to-be ex-spouse, keeping the rhetoric to a minimum when your kids are around is essential. Trash-talking your spouse in front of the kids can leave lasting emotional effects for all family members, including your children. A judge in your custody case may also see this as bad parenting, leading to you losing your chances of custody. 


St. Charles family law attorneyWhen preparing for marriage or divorce, both spouses may decide to protect their assets through prenuptial or postnuptial agreements. By creating documents that outline the division of assets in the case of divorce, couples may be able to prevent highly contested divorces. These documents are in both parties' best interest because collaborative divorces are typically faster and less expensive than contested divorces. If you and your spouse are planning your marriage and how assets would be divided in the case of divorce, it would be in your best interest to discuss your plans with an experienced family law attorney. 

Prenuptial vs. Postnuptial Agreements

As indicated by the prefix of each word, prenuptial agreements are drafted before marriage, whereas postnuptial agreements are drafted after a marriage. There are a few reasons that couples may decide to draft these agreements. Firstly, having a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement can help protect independent finances for each spouse. It can also declare which assets belong to a corresponding spouse. In the case of separation or divorce, this can prevent court litigation over contesting belongings, finances, and other assets. Prenuptial and postnuptial agreements typically include who will retain the home, how joint finances and businesses will be divided, and how other material assets will be divided

Which is Better?

Deciding whether a prenuptial agreement or a postnuptial agreement is best for you and your spouse is entirely up to your unique relationship. Each marriage is different and comes with various financial assets and joint partnerships. It is in both spouses' best interests to discuss whether a prenuptial or a postnuptial agreement is the best for your relationship with a lawyer. Family law and divorce attorneys are skilled in analyzing finances and other assets and the relationship structure between partners. A lawyer may help guide you towards which agreement is best. However, here are some tips to help you begin deciding on whether a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement is suitable for you:


St. Charles dissipation lawyerWhen becoming involved in any legal proceeding, it is essential to understand all of the terminologies used in your case. This can be difficult for many people as their case becomes increasingly complicated. During a divorce, there are many steps that must be taken to dissolve a marriage fully. In the scenario that a divorce is contested or becomes complex, new language between attorneys and judges may appear, such as dissipation of assets. To fully understand your divorce case, advocate for yourself, and ensure your legal rights are protected during the divorce, it is vital to understand dissipation and how it may affect you. 

What is Dissipation in Divorce?

Dissipation is defined as the squandering or wasting of money, property, or other essential resources. Dissipation in divorce can happen in many ways, but it has one underlying theme — a partner using shared assets for an individual benefit during the divorce. Too often, when dividing marital assets during a divorce, a lawyer or the other partner will uncover hidden or squandered assets. 

Common examples of dissipated marital assets include:


Kane County divorce attorneyDivorces are hard, and it can be even harder to part with some of the assets you collected over the course of a marriage. Spouses choosing to file for a divorce will have to divide their shared property, which can be a highly volatile situation if the partners are unwilling to agree. It is important to be okay with parting with some of the assets you have come to love such as your house, the flat-screen TV or even the car your spouse bought for you when dividing marital assets during a marriage dissolution. But, how do partners agree upon who keeps the dog? 

Shared Marital Property

After a while, pets become another member of the family. Your kids love them, you catch your so-called pet-hating spouse throwing the ball for them, and you even find yourself cuddling with them from time to time. Dividing property during a divorce is incredibly difficult. But how do you divide up another member of the family?

Depending on when your pet was purchased and by who, the process of deciding who keeps the dog may be much easier. If your dog was purchased by your spouse prior to the marriage, your spouse owns the dog and is considered their individual property. Similarly, if you purchased your pet before you married your spouse, the dog belongs to you and would follow you during a divorce. The process gets a bit trickier if you purchased the pet together in a marriage because, in this case, the pet is shared marital property. 


St. Charles divorce attorneyThe decision to file for a divorce from your spouse can be a difficult process. Most couples try to make their marriage work by seeking out help from professional experts, implementing new communication strategies or attempting alone-time during a separation. However, if a marriage is no longer healthy or suitable for a couple, the spouses may decide it is time to file for a divorce. Despite media portrayals, divorces can be an easy process if the decisions are uncontested. It is in both spouses’ best interests to create a divorce checklist prior to filing for a divorce to make the process easy and fast for everyone involved. 

What Does the Divorce Process Look Like in Illinois?

Divorces in Illinois are no-fault divorces, meaning that there is no at-fault party. So, even if your spouse was unfaithful or unpleasant during your marriage, this information is not seen as relevant when creating a divorce decree. Instead of gathering documents and proof of infidelity, mistreatment, or misunderstanding between you and your partner, it would be much more time-efficient to begin gathering all of the required documentation needed for a swift, amicable divorce. 

Creating Your Checklist 

The state of Illinois requires certain financial and legal documents to move forward during a divorce. In an effort to prepare, both parties should begin to gather the following information and documents:


St. Charles prenup lawyersPremarital agreements are legal agreements between a couple prior to their marriage. Within a premarital or prenuptial agreement, many couples will lay out individual rights and responsibilities that each spouse will have during the marriage. These agreements are extremely useful in high asset marriages to help dictate property agreements and have proven to be useful if a marriage comes to an end. Engaged couples who are looking to create a prenuptial agreement before their wedding date should reach out to an experienced family attorney who is prepared to help navigate this process.

Reasons to Create a Prenup

Prenup agreements are most commonly portrayed in the media as contracts created by rich families to ensure their wealth stays in the family in case of a divorce. However, there are a plethora of reasons that couples decide to create a legal premarital agreement prior to their wedding. Typically, the reasons are unique and personal to each couple. There are often overarching themes in the reasons. Here are some of the most useful reasons to create a prenuptial agreement in the state of Illinois:

  • Lay out the division of finances and bills during the marriage
  • How to divide assets and property in the case of divorce or death
  • How spousal support would be divided in the case of divorce 
  • Creation of wills and trusts in the case of death 
  • Ensure parental rights if/when children are introduced into the marriage 

How to Create a Prenup 

Considering that a prenup is a legal document, the state of Illinois has specific criteria required when creating and signing premarital agreements. The Illinois Uniform Premarital Agreement Act’s requirements for a legitimate prenuptial agreement that can be upheld in court include:


St. Charles parental relocation lawyerThere are many lifestyle changes that occur following a divorce — a new house, new relationships and, potentially, a new city. Relocating after a divorce can be the fresh start that many people need after dealing with the emotional and financial stress of a marriage dissolution. However, in the state of Illinois, relocation after a divorce may be difficult if there are children involved. There are many rules regarding the distance and timeline of a relocation with children that all depend on your divorce agreement. 

How Do I Relocate?

The process to relocate with children following a divorce comes in a few steps. The first step is to determine where you want to move and how long you intend to live there. In the state of Illinois, the duration of the move (permanent or temporary) is required to be disclosed to the court. The moving spouse must write a written intent to move and submit it to the court at least 60 days prior to the move. 

The factors that the court considers when deciding if the parent can relocate with the children include:


b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_309334772.jpgThere are many reasons why people may file for divorce in Illinois. One of the most common causes of divorce is infidelity, which is when one partner in a marriage does not remain faithful to his or her spouse. Sometimes, couples are able to work through the act of infidelity and arrive at a place in their relationship where trust is restored. However, not all couples survive an act of fidelity, and in those cases, divorce often ensues. If you or someone you know is getting a divorce as a result of infidelity in the relationship, you may be wondering if an unfaithful act can affect divorce proceedings. Today, we are exploring the impact of infidelity on divorce cases in Illinois. 

Is Infidelity Grounds For Divorce in Illinois? 

Adultery may have been the cause of the marital breakdown, however, you will not list this in your divorce peition. This is because as of 2016, Illinois is a no-fault state when it comes to divorce cases. In other words, Illinois does not require one of the spouses to be at fault for the breakdown of a marriage.

Instead, a divorce can be filed on the grounds of there being “irreconcilable differences.” This meabns that there are serious differences between spouses and the marriage cannot be continued. 


b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_1722164458.jpgThe Internal Revenue Service, or IRS, recently announced that tax season will commence on January 24, 2022. With tax season right around the corner, you may be wondering what you can expect when filing taxes after a divorce. Today, we are going to discuss the ways by which a lawyer can assist you as you set out to file as head of household after a divorce. 

What Does it Mean To Be the Head of the Household? 

Many people assume that filing as head of household means that you were the breadwinner. While this is not necessarily untrue, the IRS defines the head of household filing status in a much more detailed way. In order to file as head of household, the IRS takes the following details into consideration: 

  • You are legally either a U.S. citizen or resident. 


b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_1073013353.pngThe decision to get a divorce is never one that is made with ease. In fact, for a lot of people, divorce is viewed as the very last option because of how intertwined the lives of a married couple are and how difficult it can be to separate everything after being married, finances included. 

While not every couple chooses to combine their finances, money matters are often a major topic of conversation during many divorces. From figuring out how to allocate the funds in bank accounts to deciding how to divide other assets like investments, there are many financial complexities to sort out during the divorce process. 

Tax Debt is Considered Marital Debt 

So, what happens to the money that you do not have? In other words, how does tax debt work when a couple that owes money to the IRS decides to end their marriage? 


b2ap3_thumbnail_divorce-parents-back-to-school-illinois.jpgNo matter what the dynamic between two spouses looks like, filing divorce papers is never easy. However, the process becomes even more unfortunate and complicated when children are involved. 

Typically, a decision regarding child custody will be determined with the two parents in mind. A judge will often award sole custody to parent A, sole custody to parent B, or shared custody to both parents. Illinois law uses the terms “parenting time” and “parental responsibilities” instead of visitation and custody. However, these terms are still used informally and will be used in this blog.  

Sometimes, grandparents will seek custody of their grandchildren amid the divorce of the children’s parents. With the help of a family law attorney, grandparents can fight for custody of the children whose parents are divorcing in Illinois. 


IL divorce lawyerGetting a divorce is never easy, but when a spouse refuses to cooperate, it is especially difficult. In some cases, spouses actively hide in order to avoid divorce proceedings. If you cannot find your spouse and you want to divorce, take heart in knowing that your spouse cannot delay the divorce forever. It is possible to get divorced without your spouse’s participation, however, the process is a bit more complicated. A divorce lawyer can be a huge help in a situation like this.

What to Do If Your Spouse Cannot Be Located

When someone files for divorce in Illinois, they use a document called a Petition for Dissolution of Marriage. The spouse who files for divorce is the petitioner and the other spouse is the respondent. The divorce petition is “served” or delivered to the other spouse by the petitioner or by a sheriff or private process server. The respondent must respond to the petition within 30 days of receiving it.

Some spouses try to avoid getting divorced by not responding to the petition or even by hiding where a process server cannot find them. Others spouses move out of state or even out of the country and do not tell the other spouse where they are. This can make the process of serving the petition nearly impossible.

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