Category Archives: Family Law

dupage county divorce lawyerThe Second District Appellate Court recently dealt with a somewhat unusual topic in a divorce case when it had to rule on a case involving custody of frozen embryos. People who are involved in complex disputes relating to the dissolution of their marriage will want to work with an experienced divorce attorney. In re Marriage of Katsap, 2022 Ill. App. 2d 210706, was a court case in which Eneya Katsap was appealing a trial court judgment for dissolution of marriage to Alexander Katsap. 

Determining Custody for Embryos

The couple created frozen embryos and stored their embryos at the New England Fertility Institute in Stamford, Connecticut. While the couple once resided in upstate New York and formed and co-owned a business there, marital difficulties caused Alexander to move out in March 2020. The following month, Eneya, the child, and Eneya’s parents moved to Naperville, Illinois. In May 2020, Eneya petitioned in DuPage County for dissolution of marriage and cited irreconcilable differences. It was nearly a year later when Alexander filed a counterpetition for dissolution of marriage but withdrew before trial. 

Alexander filed a motion to permanently restrain Eneya from using the frozen embryos or seeking child support for any child born from the frozen embryos. He claimed that Eneya forged his name on a contract and alleged that the contract was invalid. The parties allegedly signed a contract in July 2015 giving the embryos to Eneya should the parties divorce, and that document was identified and entered into evidence. Alexander denied entering into that contract, saying that he did not sign Eneya’s exhibit and identifying all of the handwriting on the exhibit as being Eneya’s. Alexander’s stated intention in creating the embryos was to donate the embryos if the marriage ended. However, Eneya said they couple agreed that she would keep the embryos if the marriage ended. The court ultimately granted Alexander exclusive possession and control of the embryos. 

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DuPage County postnuptial agreement lawyerA significant percentage of couples will have a prenuptial agreement in place before they walk down the aisle on their wedding day. Prenuptial agreements can protect both parties in different ways, such as by designating separate property and predetermining certain issues so as to keep any potential future divorce predictable and simplified. If you and your spouse have already married, it is not too late to take advantage of a marital contract. Your contract will be called a “postnuptial agreement” if it is signed after you say, “I do.”

Signing a postnuptial agreement can offer you nearly all the same benefits you would reap if your contract had been signed prior to the marriage. While the idea of drafting a postnuptial agreement may not seem like the most romantic idea, communicating and compromising with your spouse to reach an agreement can be a sign of a strong couple. It is best for both you and your spouse to be represented by separate attorneys who can help protect your interests during the process. 

Reasons to Consider Using a Postnuptial Agreement

Spouses choose to sign postnuptial agreements for a variety of reasons. Some may have married quickly without time to make an agreement. Others may have hit a rocky patch in their marriage and decided it is best to have an agreement in place. Others still may simply determine that it is a good precaution. Whatever your reasons, a postnuptial agreement can give you both peace of mind. Reasons to consider using a postnuptial agreement include: 

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Hinsdale prenup lawyer Prenuptial or postnuptial agreements can be excellent tools for married couples. These agreements can accomplish legal tasks such as designating separate property for each spouse, predetermining how property is to be divided in the event of a divorce, and even requiring each other to create an estate plan naming the other as a beneficiary. However, there are certain clauses that are prohibited in these agreements. Even if both parties willingly agree to a clause, the clause in question may not be enforced if it is statutorily prohibited or would have certain unlawful effects in application. Although other parts of the prenuptial agreement may be enforced, the prohibited clauses are highly likely to be stricken from the contract at the judicial level.

It is advisable for each person who is contemplating entering a prenuptial agreement to have independent legal representation. An attorney can guard your interests during the process of developing and drafting this important legal contract. 

Clauses You Cannot Agree to in Your Prenuptial Agreement

It is good practice to assess each clause not only patently as it is written, but in regard to the potential latent effects that may arise during enforcement. Prohibited terms in an Illinois prenuptial or postnuptial agreement may include: 

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Hinsdale paternity lawyerIn Illinois, the term “parentage” rather than “paternity” is generally used, although you may still hear “paternity” used colloquially. Adjudicating parentage means judicially deciding who a child’s parents are. Our state's parentage laws have broadened to reflect the idea that not all children have one mother and one father. A child born into a marriage between two women is presumed a child of both, for example. Only once paternity has been definitively established can a parent pursue parental rights, seek shared parenting time, or seek child support payments.

If parentage is not established at the hospital at the time of birth and at least one parent will not voluntarily acknowledge their parentage at a later time, a judicial action may need to be initiated. Many interested parties can initiate this type of action. If you may need to go to court to establish parentage, it is best to be represented by an experienced attorney. 

Parties Who May be Able to Initiate Parentage Proceedings

Establishing parentage protects the child and parents alike. Parents can assert parental rights, while children generally benefit from having a relationship with and support from both parents. Parties who may be able to petition the court to adjudicate parentage include: 

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DuPage County child custody lawyerWhen parents of minor children seek a divorce, one of the most emotionally-charged aspects of the divorce action is likely to be the allocation of parenting time and parental responsibilities. It is the goal of most parents to maximize the amount of time they will be able to spend with the children antecedent to the finalization of the divorce. The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution Act sets out statutory factors that courts are instructed to use in determining what type of custody arrangement may be in the best interests of the children.

Illinois courts are required to decide issues concerning parenting time and parental responsibilities based on what is best for the child involved. When parents cannot reach an agreement related to a parenting plan, the courts will generally need to conduct an analysis based on each statutory factor in order to reach a well-informed decision. If you are facing divorce with minor children, it is best to have strong legal representation. 

How DuPage County Courts Determine Parenting Time Allocation

It can be challenging for a judge who is unfamiliar with the parties and the child concerned to make sound determinations regarding which parent the child should primarily be placed with. A Guardian ad Litem may be appointed in order to assist the judge in gathering the relevant information so that an informed decision may be made. Factors that the court may consider include: 

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