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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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Oak Park family law attorney

Statistics show that more and more same-sex couples are adopting. In fact, homosexual couples are four times more likely to be raising an adopted child and six times more likely to be raising foster children than their heterosexual counterparts. LGBT families are most commonly created through the adoption process, and same-sex adoption is now legal in all 50 states. If you are in a same-sex relationship and wish to adopt a child in Illinois, a family law attorney can help you navigate the legal proceedings to realize your dream of becoming a parent.   

The Adoption Process

In general, the adoption process for same-sex couples is no different than it is for heterosexual couples. Under Illinois law, adoption placements (as well as foster care placements) are determined based on what is in the best interests of the child. The sexual orientation of the potential parents is not a factor in determining whether to grant consent for adoption.

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Cook County child support attorney change in circumstancesIf, after your divorce, you have had an income increase or decrease, or if the needs of your children have changed, you may need to consider asking for a child support modification. Generally, a support order may only be changed every three years in Illinois. However, if you can show a significant change of circumstances that requires a modification, a request can be considered at any time.

What Are Some Reasons for Modification?

As life goes on, everyone faces ups and downs. Parents can run into any number of issues that may qualify for a change in child support. These reasons may include:

  • Either parent’s income has increased or decreased significantly.
  • The child’s medical or educational needs have changed and become more or less expensive than in years past.
  • A change in either parent’s work schedule requires that the child be cared for by a day care center or babysitter, and these costs must be divided between the parents.

Those are just a few situations that could warrant a support modification. An attorney can help you determine whether you have reason to file a request for a change.

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Oak Park Legal Separation LawyerWhen a marriage reaches a breaking point, many people turn immediately to divorce. For others, that is not the outcome they want to pursue, so they may instead choose legal separation. Reasons for separation as opposed to divorce may include religious beliefs, health insurance, or any number of other personal issues. Legally, the agreements that spouses must make are very similar whether they have opted for divorce or legal separation, although there are a few differences.

What is Legal Separation?

While some couples may choose to separate temporarily and see if they can still work things out, a legal document does not need to be signed for that. Legal separation is a more permanent decision. One must file for it in court, just like a divorce. The spouses must draft a written agreement similar to a divorce settlement, addressing child custody and support, alimony, property division, and other relevant matters. The legal separation agreement must be signed and approved in court.

In a legal separation, however, the parties are still legally married. One of the benefits is that either spouse can remain on the health insurance of the other indefinitely. This can be invaluable if one spouse would otherwise have trouble getting affordable health insurance.

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Cook County fathers' rights lawyerIn Illinois, the Putative Father Registry (PFR) is designed to help protect fathers’ rights and ensure that a child cannot be adopted without the father’s consent. Within 30 days after a child’s birth, the father should sign up with the PFR. For fathers who were not married to their child’s mother at the time of giving birth, it will also be necessary to establish paternity, which will need to be done by signing a voluntary acknowledgment of paternity or by going through the Circuit Court Clerk or through the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services. The legal process to establish paternity must be started within 30 days of registering with the PFR. A family law attorney can help you with all of this.

What Does “Putative Father” Mean?

A putative father is a man who is the father of a child born to a mother when he was not married to her. He may even have been married to her before the birth. Regardless of the situation, he will need to follow the proper procedures to ensure that he proves his paternity and protects his rights as a father. Signing up with the Illinois Putative Father Registry is one action that will help keep his child from being put up for adoption without his consent. 

A putative father may sign up for the PFR before or after the birth of the child, even if his name is not on the child’s birth certificate, or even if paternity has not yet been legally established. Fathers under the age of 18 may also register with the PFR. If the child’s mother ever tries to put the child up for adoption, the father must be notified and may have the opportunity to stop the adoption process. 

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Oak Park adoption attorneyAdoption is, by far, the most pleasant and wonderful area of family law for everyone, including the judge and us lawyers. Everyone is happy, especially the child.

Most of the adoptions handled over the many years by Wakenight & Associates, P.C. have been related adoptions. The most common related adoption occurs when the mother or father is the natural parent of the child, and the child is being adopted by the step-parent. Even in these pleasant circumstances where the child and step-parent have an established relationship, it is necessary to appreciate the legal consequences of the adoption.

When you adopt a child, that child is then your child, just as if you were their biological parent. All the laws that apply to a biological child now apply to this child. As a result, if you later end up in divorce court, the laws regarding primary residence, parenting time, decision making, child support, insurance, day care, contribution to college, etc. all apply to your adopted child. All the school laws also apply, as does the Family Expense Act, insurance law, criminal laws, etc.

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