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Oakbrook Terrace Family Law Blog

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.

Understanding how custody of children is shared in Illinois

Concerns about child custody, visitation and a parenting plan can be the most significant concerns couples face during a divorce. Child custody disputes are not a good thing for children or their parents, which is why the family law process can help parents resolve concerns over how they will co-parent and share custody.

It is important to keep in mind that whenever child custody is at issue, what is in the "best interests of the child" is the guiding factor courts will consider and that parents should consider as well. The family law court will seek to reach a child custody outcome that is in the best interests of the child. Factors the court may consider when making a child custody determination include: the wishes of the parents and the child; the relationship of the child and their parents and siblings; the child's adjustment to home, school and community; the mental and physical health of the parties; the ability of each of the parents to foster a close relationship with the child's other parent; and any evidence of abuse.

What are the different types of adoption?

Adoption can be a big step for many families. It is essential for families considering adoption to understand the adoption process and the different adoption options that may be available to them.

It can be challenging to understand all the different types of adoption, so it is important for potential adoptive parents to have all of their adoption questions answered. The first type of adoption is an agency adoption, which can be done through a public or private agency. Public adoptions may involve children who are in the custody of the state and private adoptions may take place through charitable organizations. Another type of adoption is independent adoption, in which the adoption is worked out between prospective adoptive parents and the birth parents.

A look at the many advantages of collaborative divorce

Although collaborative divorce may be a process that is new to many people, it has many upsides for divorcing couples to consider. Compared with traditional divorce litigation, which can also help guide divorcing couples through the divorce process, collaborative divorce offers several benefits divorcing couples should be aware of.

There have been many changes to divorce laws of late, including that divorce laws are no longer fault-based; child custody now focuses on parenting rights and responsibilities; and alimony, or spousal support, has also undergone some changes as well, related to the amount and duration or spousal support. Collaborative divorce is a process that allows divorcing couples to have more control over their divorce process, rather than having the family law court decide for the couple.

Divorce after 50 continues to grow in popularity

Have you heard of the term “gray divorce?” It refers to couples over the age of 50 filing for divorce. At one time this may have been a rare occurrence, but it is happening with greater consistency now than ever before. Statistics show that people over 50 are getting divorced at twice the rate people in that same age range were getting divorced 20 years ago.

Getting a divorce in your later years can understandably be difficult. It is not only a change in the way of life you may have grown accustomed to for many years, but you undoubtedly have accumulated a lot of property and money. Because of these unique factors, there are some special situations you should be aware of if you are over 50 and considering divorce.

Understanding how property is divided during divorce

Property division is usually of significant, and understandable, concern during a divorce. It is helpful for divorcing couples to understand how their property will be divided and to be familiar with that process.

The division of assets in Illinois is governed by equitable property division rules. That means that the family law court will seek to divide the couple's property as fairly as possible and unique to each situation. Each piece of property will be divided according to the couple's unique circumstances, which is why it is always useful for divorcing spouses seeking certain pieces of property in their divorce to understand how property division will be conducted.

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