Category Archives: Family Law

Hinsdale divorce lawyerWhile same-sex marriage is now legal around the United States, the unfortunate reality is that LGBTQ couples can still face challenges during their divorce that straight couples do not. Because establishing parentage of a child of heterosexual parents is usually a matter of straightforward biology for both father and mother, establishing custody of a child is an easier process than it can be when a parent in an LGBTQ couple is not the biological parent of a child. 

Of course, a biological parent-child relationship says nothing about the love a parent shares with a child or a parent’s commitment to caring for a child. But when it comes to Illinois law, a parent needs to have a legal relationship with a child to establish parental responsibilities; unfortunately, sometimes a child’s biological parent will try to use this against a non-biological parent in a divorce. 

How Do I Establish Parenthood? 

In 2015, the Illinois legislature signed a new law extending the presumption of parenthood to married same-sex couples who have a child in certain circumstances. For example, if two women are married and one woman gives birth to a child, the other woman is presumed to be the child’s other legal parent. For men, however, although one father may be the biological parent, the child’s other father may still have to go through the adoption process to establish parenthood. Surrogacy agreements can further complicate this process. 

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hinsdale-divorce-attorney.jpgIllinois law has created statutory guidelines to determine what, if any, child support amount is appropriate in a given case, and every few years the guidelines are amended for inflation and political and social realities. While the majority of child support cases are decided using the guidelines, some cases require a more customized approach. If you are involved in a child support dispute, negotiation, or mediation, the help of an experienced Illinois family law attorney may be useful to you. 

Reasons an Illinois Court May Allow Higher Child Support Payments

Common situations that may justify higher child support payments include, but are not limited to: 

  • The child has a disability or ongoing health issue that requires costly treatment

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hinsdale-family-law-attorney.jpgDivorce is often a highly contentious affair, leaving both spouses with feelings of bitterness and resentment. While spouses usually share a last name during their marriage, they also usually change their name back to their premarital name after divorce. When spouses have hyphenated their names, or when a mother gets majority parenting time and the child has the father’s last name, there may be good reason for wanting to change the child’s last name as well. But changing a child’s last name after divorce is not an easy process. If you are divorced and interested in changing your child’s name, read on and then contact a Hinsdale family law attorney. 

Clear and Convincing Evidence

The law that encompasses whether a child’s last name may be changed is separate from the law that addresses divorce. Changing a child’s name is a civil procedure, and the law states that a court can only approve a child’s name change if there is a good enough reason - “clear and convincing evidence” showing that the name change would be in the child’s best interests is required. 

While one parent may feel as though changing the child’s name would be in the child’s best interests, the other parent may strongly disagree. Simply wanting to change your child’s name to your own name or because it would be more convenient is not enough. When determining whether to approve a name change, a judge can consider many factors, including: 

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dupage-county-divorce-attorney.jpgResearch shows that divorce is consistently ranked as one of the most traumatizing experiences a person can go through. While not all divorces are this challenging, for some people, divorce signals an end to a major part of their life. Even when divorce is absolutely the right decision, it can come with feelings of loss, guilt, and grief that can be hard to shake, even after a long time has passed since a divorce is finalized. 

For some people, an effective way of managing the post-divorce blues is a divorce support group. A divorce support group can help you explore your challenges, identify whether certain problems are solvable, work towards acceptance and forgiveness, and create a realistic picture of what life looks like after divorce. Here are three other ways an Illinois divorce support group may be helpful to you. 

Knowledgeable Advice

Even for people who have gotten divorced before, knowing what to expect during divorce can be challenging. A divorce support group offers the chance to get advice and perspective from people who have already been through a divorce or who are currently going through one as well. You can learn from the experience of others and get realistic feedback that your friends and family, who are biased in your favor, may not be able to give. 

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An unfortunate feature of some divorces in Illinois is the tendency of parents to try to convince a judge that their child’s other parent is unfit for parental responsibilities or parenting time. Some parents are justified in their concerns - perhaps the other parent is neglecting the child, abusing the child, or using drugs or alcohol unsafely. Whether justified or not, a parent may ask a court to test their child’s other parent for drugs or alcohol. If you are being asked to take a drug test, or if you are wondering whether you can ask a judge to order your spouse to take a drug test, this blog may be helpful to you. 

Can a Judge Order a Parent to Take a Drug Test? 

Judges use parental responsibilities cases to determine whether a parent can act in ways that are in the best interests of a child, but it can be difficult to determine the truth without ordering an extensive investigation into each parent. This is especially true when parents both testify about behavior that would justify drug testing, or when a parent’s behavior may lead a judge to suspect drug use is going on. 

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