The Law Firm of Debra J. Braselton, P.C.
Illinois Matrimonial and Family Law 630-DIVORCE

Oakbrook Terrace Family Law Blog

Illinois child custody for unmarried parents

An unwed father in Illinois is not automatically presumed to be the biological father of a child, which can lead to more complicated determinations of child custody and parental rights. There are a few ways paternity can be recognized, and it must be accomplished before a court may recognize custody or visitation rights.

An Order of Paternity can be established by a Court and entered to record, both parents may complete a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity or VAP form, or the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Service's Child Support Services may enter an Administrative Paternity Order. The entry of any VAP or Administrative Paternity Order will not guarantee a father will be granted custodial or visitation rights. That decision will remain up to the Court. However, entry of either of these documents will confirm legal obligations such as child support.

Considerations for asset division in an Illinois divorce

There are several factors that may come into play within a division of assets in an Illinois divorce. Illinois is not a community property state. Therefore, it is not required to have property divided evenly but rather equitably. This means that instead of a 50-50 split, parties may divide assets 60-40, 70-30 or any other percentage based on multiple factors during the marriage.

The first factor to consider would be the extent to which each party contributed to the purchase and increase or decrease in value of marital property. This relates to income. The party who contributed the most income to a marriage should walk away with the most assets.

Two new laws make changes to spousal maintenance

Two new laws that went into effect January 2019 could impact couples divorcing this year or in the future. These laws made changes to spousal maintenance, also called alimony, which is a payment made from a higher-wage-earning spouse to a lower-wage-earning spouse to balance an unfair economic difference caused by divorce.

Taxing spousal maintenance

How to adopt in Illinois

Adoption in Illinois is governed by the Illinois Adoption Act. It determines the types of adoptions that are available within the state, as well as who is eligible to adopt or be adopted. In addition, it defines the adoption process and requirements.

Illinois allows 5 differing types of adoptions. They are Related, Agency, Private, Adoption of an Adult, and Standby Adoption. In any of these where the adoptee is a minor, termination of the biological parents' rights is a necessary prerequisite. Termination of rights may be either voluntary or involuntary depending on the circumstances of the adoption. If a court deems biological parents to be unfit for any reason, it may terminate parental rights on its own accord. Otherwise, biological parents must execute a consent and surrender in front of a judge for an adoption to move forward.

Selected to Illinois Super Lawyers list 8 years in a row

We are pleased to announce that founding attorney Debra J. Braselton is selected to the 2019 Super Lawyers list in Illinois.

This is her eighth Super Lawyers selection in a row, after being named to the Super Lawyers list every year since 2012. This honor selects outstanding attorneys with significant professional achievements and peer ratings.

Information needed for an adoption petition

Families in Illinois have many different dynamics. Some families have parents who are married, some have parents who are not married but living together, others may have divorced or separated parents. Some have all biological children and others have children who they adopted. There are many reasons that people choose to adopt as well. It could be because they are having trouble having children on their own, want to help out a family member in need and many other reasons.

However, even after people have made the decision to adopt a child, it is not always easy to actually finalize the adoption. There is a legal process that one must go through before an adoption can be official. This process starts with filing a petition in court. In the petition the people seeking to adopt must provide certain information to be valid.

Difference between mediation and collaborative divorce

There are many way that people in Illinois resolve disputes. Some will yell at other people, some will want to argue or fight about it and other will want to sit down and discuss the matter to reach a resolution. This is true for minor disagreements and life-changing disputes such as a divorce. Some people will want to fight throughout the divorce through litigation and ultimately have a judge make decisions. Others will want to try and work out the issues between themselves and avoid litigation.

People who want to try and resolve the issues themselves have a couple different options on how to proceed. One is to go to mediation and see if a mediator can help the couple work through any disagreements. Another is through a collaborative divorce, which is a process where the couple and their attorneys work towards a resolution together. Both of these processes do not involve litigation and require both parties to be willing to work together to reach a resolution, but there are differences between them as well.

Creating a parenting plan for children with special needs

Divorce in itself is one of the most difficult life experiences you may endure in your lifetime. However, when there is a child with special needs in the middle, divorce can be even more stressful. 

In making sure your child's needs are met during and after the divorce, there is a lot to consider. Creating a detailed parenting arrangement is essential to protect a child with special needs during a divorce. 

Basic requirements for starting a divorce in Illinois

Couples in Illinois go through high and lows. The marriages that work are able to work through the lows, but not every couple is able to do that. These couples may know that the marriage is over, but in order to actually end the marriage, they must get divorced. This is what happens after all the issues have been decided and a judge signs the divorce decree, but the divorce process must first be initiated before that can occur.

Either spouse can start the divorce process, but there are certain requirements that must be met first. The first is that they must be a resident in the state of Illinois and live there for at least 90 days before the divorce is finalized. The second is that irreconcilable differences have caused an irretrievable breakdown in the marriage. While this can mean a number of different things there is a presumption that this has occurred if the couple lived separate for at least six months prior to commencement of the divorce.

What is considered "non-marital property" in Illinois?

While people are married, they technically share everything whether they realize it or not. Most income, property, retirement accounts and other assets that are obtained during the marriage are considered "marital property." This means that even if the assets are held in separate accounts, with only one spouse's name on it, or if property is only owned by one party, that both parties still have a right to that property. This does not usually become an issue until a couple is going through a divorce and the couple begins the process of the division of assets.

One of the first steps in dividing assets in a divorce is determining which assets are marital and which are non-marital. Generally, anything acquired by one spouse prior to the marriage is considered non-marital property. However, in many situations, people do not always close their accounts when they get married and retirement accounts such as 401(k)s and IRAs usually remain in one spouse's name. So, these accounts or other types of property may have a portion that is marital and a portion that is non-marital.

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