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Wakenight & Associates, P.C.

1100 Lake Street, Suite 120, Oak Park, IL 60301

Oak Park | 708-848-3159

DuPage County | 630-852-9700   Mokena | 815-727-6144

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Cook County paternity attorneyBeing a parent can be one of the most rewarding experiences of someone’s life. However, in some cases, the identity of a child’s father may be questioned or contested. This may occur in situations where a couple is not married or if the mother had multiple partners. In Illinois, if a child’s mother is married or in a civil union when the child was born or within 300 days before the child was born, her husband or partner is legally presumed to be the father of the child. By legally establishing paternity in Illinois, a father and child can confirm their relationship and all the rights and responsibilities that go along with it. For example, there are certain benefits for which a child is eligible as someone’s son or daughter. In addition, the father is entitled to specific parental rights.       

A Child’s Legal Rights

There are many benefits to a legal relationship between a father and child. Besides the emotional connection and support, financial obligations can help provide for a son or daughter’s future. Legally recognizing the father can aid the child in multiple ways, including: 

  • Child support for the child, including contributions to healthcare costs or educational expenses

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Oak Park, IL family law attorney for international or domestic adoptionFor couples who cannot have biological children of their own, adoption can be the only way for them to become parents. Adopting a child can also allow spouses who are already parents to expand their family. In addition, adoption can help a single person fulfill his or her dream of becoming a mother or a father. When considering adoption, there are typically two kinds: domestic and international. Determining which route to take involves many factors, such as cost, timeline, and medical history. It is important to do research and select the form of adoption that best fits your family situation or dynamic.  

Factors to Consider When Adopting

Adoption is a serious endeavor that should be carefully considered before committing to it. Whether there are two parents or one parent, there are many issues to think through and figure out. Some of the important factors to consider before embarking on the adoption journey include:  

  • Cost

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Cook County child custody lawyer remarriageThe decision to divorce does not come easily to many couples, especially after a long marriage or if children are involved. However, in many cases, divorce can be for the best if the relationship is dysfunctional or abusive. After a period of time, some people may fall in love again and wish to get remarried. This can mean a second chance at happiness for a parent, but their children may harbor negative feelings toward their new stepparent. A remarriage may also mean a new house and step-siblings, as well as changes to parenting time schedules and child support orders. Regardless of the circumstances, it is important to keep the lines of communication open between co-parents. In addition, there are some practical ways to help you and your kids adjust to the transition of a new blended family.

Blending Family Units Together

Blending two separate families can be complex for many reasons. Children often feel resentment or anger toward their new stepparent, especially if they have to move into a new house or to a new state. The following are some key points parents should keep in mind when getting remarried:

  • Expect change - Routines and schedules will be different, so be prepared for an adjustment period as everyone gets used to a new lifestyle. This could mean a new home, new school, and step-siblings. 

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Oak Park parenting plan enforcement attorneyManaging a divorce can be a stressful and difficult situation for all parties involved, but it is critical to remember that the child’s needs are what is most important. Adolescents who have the opportunity to spend time and receive love and affection from both parents have been shown to have more mental and emotional stability. Visitation, which is now referred to as parenting time in the state of Illinois, is the regular time that a parent is granted with his or her child in the divorce decree. However, in some cases, one parent might not follow the legally binding court orders that were set in place. When this occurs, it is crucial to work with a family law attorney to determine what legal steps should be taken. 

How Is Parenting Time Established?

According to 750 ILCS 5/602.7, parenting time rights can first be decided upon by the child's parents if they present a written parenting plan that the court can approve. When an arrangement cannot be agreed upon by both parties, however, a judge will make the decision based on multiple relevant factors. Parents are presumed to be fit, and both parents have a right to reasonable parenting time. Unless it is demonstrated through compelling evidence that the child's physical, mental, or emotional health is put at risk by being with one parent, there typically will not be any restrictions put in place on either parent’s parenting time.

Consequences of Violating Parenting Time

When a divorce decree is issued, it functions as a court order that parents are required to follow. If it is determined by a judge that one of the parents has disregarded a court-ordered parenting agreement, that parent may be penalized in a variety of ways, including:

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Cook County family law attorney

In a divorce that involves children, not only is the couple breaking up, but the family unit is separating, too. This can affect the extended family, such as grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Grandparents in particular can be devastated by the news of a divorce, especially if they helped in caring for their grandchildren or saw them on a regular basis. Typically, allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time are decided in court during the divorce proceedings. However, the special bond that exists between grandparents and their grandkids should not be overlooked during a divorce. Illinois law has several provisions that address the rights of grandparents depending on the situation.   

What Is in the Best Interests of the Child? 

In general, the parents of a child have the right to choose who can spend time with that child. According to Illinois law, a grandparent (or another relative, such as a sibling or great-grandparent) may file a petition asking for court-ordered visitation (which may include some form of electronic communication) with a child who is one year old or older. This visitation can include overnight visits. Grandchild visitation may be requested if one of the parents unreasonably denies a request for visitation, and any of the following are true: 

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