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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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Recent blog posts

Oak Park divorce attorney mental illness

Going through a divorce can be hard on everyone involved, especially if one spouse did not see it coming or does not want to separate. In many cases, one spouse has made the decision to divorce in order to get out of an unhealthy relationship, whether it be due to abuse, addiction, infidelity, or other reasons. Unfortunately, there are cases in which one spouse may try to intimidate the other spouse into staying in the marriage. This can include harassment or stalking, either in person or by electronic means. If these actions make a person feel unsafe or uncomfortable, he or she has legal rights and options to stop this threatening behavior and finalize the divorce as smoothly and as quickly as possible. 

Illinois Harassment and Stalking Laws 

Harassment is defined under Illinois law as conduct which is not necessary to accomplish a purpose that is reasonable under the circumstances, but that causes a reasonable person emotional distress. Harassment can include making an obscene or indecent comment or request with the intent to offend, threaten, or annoy another person. Harassment is a criminal offense, and a first conviction is considered a Class B misdemeanor, and it can result in up to six months in jail and/or a fine up to $2,500. The second conviction is a Class A misdemeanor with a possible one-year jail term and a fine up to $2,500. Stalking occurs when someone watches or follows the victim on at least two occasions, and this causes the victim to feel that his or her safety is somehow at risk. Stalking is considered a Class 4 felony in Illinois, punishable by up to three years in a state prison and/or a fine up to $25,000.Aggravated stalking results in bodily harm to the victim and is a Class 3 felony. Aggravated stalking may also include restraining or confining the victim or violating a protective order or injunction. Aggravated stalking can be punished by up to five years in a state prison and/or a fine up to $25,000.While harassment and stalking are commonly thought of as unwanted contact in person, it is important to realize they can also occur electronically through phone calls, text messages, mail, email, or social media sites. 

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Oak Park divorce attorney mental illness

Mental health issues are prevalent in today’s society. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), millions of Americans are affected by mental health conditions each year. A mental illness such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or depression can be very challenging for a married couple and a family in general. In many cases, mental health issues can cause a couple to grow apart, and they may ultimately lead to divorce. Illinois is a no-fault divorce state, and irreconcilable differences is the only recognized legal basis for divorce. While the issue of mental illness is not a legal reason to file for divorce, it can significantly impact the divorce proceedings. 

Orders of Protection

In some divorce cases, a person’s mental disorder could lead to dangerous or even violent behavior. If someone fears for their own safety or the safety of their child, then they should take immediate action. This can include obtaining the following orders of protection

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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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Oak Park parentage lawyer

When a baby is born to a married couple, there is usually no doubt that the husband is the father of that child. However, many couples have children outside of marriage, whether intentionally or not. If two unmarried people are in a romantic relationship and have a child together, the man is not automatically considered the legal father of the child even if the man and woman live together. The father’s name cannot be put on the birth certificate until paternity is established.

Legal Orders of Paternity

Paternity is defined under Illinois law as the legal relationship between a father and his child. It is important to know that paternity means the father is legally responsible for that child and is entitled to certain rights as a father. Paternity can be established legally by three different ways in Illinois:

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Cook County family law attorney

Many people choose adoption for various reasons, such as a desire to expand their family, especially if they cannot have children of their own. However, adoption is a significant undertaking under any circumstances, and the process of adoption can be intimidating due to the emotional complications and legal intricacies involved. For many families, classes and support groups are great resources to help prepare the parents and the child for the transition. It is also helpful to talk to a law firm that has experience in adoptions to make sure you complete all the necessary legal steps.

Pre-Service Training Classes

Adoption establishes the adoptive parent as a child’s legal parent with all the rights and responsibilities of a child born to him or her. Sometimes, parents may choose to serve as foster parents first and eventually adopt the foster children at a later date. According to Illinois adoption laws, any child or any adult residing in an adoptive home for two years may be adopted, and family members are allowed to adopt any relative. The adoptive parent must be a resident of the state for at least six months; however, this requirement can sometimes be waived by the court, depending on the situation.

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