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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

Can Same-Sex Couples Adopt a Child in Illinois?

 Posted on May 31, 2019 in Family Law

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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How is Spousal Maintenance in Illinois Calculated?

 Posted on May 21, 2019 in Divorce

Cook County divorce lawyers

Divorce can disrupt the lives of those involved in many ways. Mental health professionals say it is among the most traumatic emotional experiences a person can endure. It can also provide a significant change in an individual’s financial situation. In most cases, where there were once two incomes supporting a single household, the former spouses must now maintain separate residences and lives on their income alone.

While this may not impact a high-earner, it can have a major effect on someone who does not make a large salary. That is where spousal maintenance comes in. Also known as spousal support or alimony, spousal maintenance is a recurring financial payment from one former spouse to the other to offset the loss of income for the lesser-earning individual. While often temporary, it gives that person a chance to build their career so they can eventually support themselves.

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4 Tips for Parenting During Divorce

 Posted on May 16, 2019 in Divorce

Cook County divorce lawyers

Going through a divorce can make you feel lost in an unfamiliar world. You did not get married thinking it would end this way, but know that your situation is common, and stability returns with time. 

While the stress of divorce may be hard on you, it can be especially difficult on any children you may share with your soon-to-be ex-spouse, regardless of their ages. It is easy for children to get caught up in the middle of a divorce, but by following these tips, you can successfully move on to the next chapter of your lives together.

1. Do Not Argue with Your Ex Around Your Children

The divorce process is a volatile time, and arguments can spark in an instant if you let them. It is critical, however, that you do not let this occur within earshot or visual range of your children. This includes in-person and over the phone. By following this rule, you will save your children from unpleasant memories that can last a lifetime.

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Can You Fight a Divorce in Illinois?

 Posted on May 08, 2019 in Divorce

Oak Park divorce lawyers

When an unsuspecting spouse receives notification that their partner has filed for divorce, it is often devastating. Even when a spouse has seemed disinterested or removed from the relationship for some time, nothing can fully prepare someone for the pain of when the official news arrives. 

If your spouse’s divorce filing caught you by complete surprise, you may be considering various ways to keep your marriage together, including whether you can fight your divorce in court. Experienced divorce attorneys agree, in Illinois, this is a complete waste of time and money.

No-Fault Divorce in Illinois

While it takes two people to enter into the legal contract of marriage, only one spouse is required to begin divorce proceedings in Illinois, which became a no-fault divorce state in 2016. This means that the only grounds for divorce in the state is irreconcilable differences. When a spouse files for divorce, they officially declare that these differences have resulted in the irreversible breakdown of the marriage. There is no legal action you can take to compel your spouse to remain in the marriage. Also, do not attempt to delay the divorce process by not responding to the divorce summons. If you do not respond, the critical elements of your divorce decree will be determined without you, which is the last thing you want.

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When Can Child Support Be Modified in Illinois?

 Posted on April 30, 2019 in Divorce

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.

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Why Choose Legal Separation in Lieu of Divorce?

 Posted on April 23, 2019 in Divorce

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.

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How the Illinois Putative Father Registry Protects Fathers’ Rights

 Posted on April 16, 2019 in Family Law

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. 

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What Do I Need to Consider When Preparing for Adoption?

 Posted on April 09, 2019 in Family Law

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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How Can I Protect My Child From an Abusive or Neglectful Parent?

 Posted on March 28, 2019 in Child Custody

Skokie child custody modification attorneyAlthough countless studies have shown that children are happier and mentally healthier when they have a relationship with both parents, there are times when a parent may be causing them harm. If you are trying to protect your child from an abusive or neglectful parent, there are steps you can take to modify custody and visitation agreements following your divorce. You will bear the burden of proving that your child is in danger when with their mother or father, but sometimes, it is in the best interests of the child to be removed from a harmful situation. 

What Situations Are Considered Abusive or Neglectful?

According to the Child Welfare Information Gateway, there are many situations in which child custody may be modified due to an inappropriate or dangerous environment a parent’s home. The following are some examples of abuse which can come from a parent or any other family member, especially those responsible for caring for the child or living in the home with the child:

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How Unmarried Fathers Can Protect Their Parental Rights

 Posted on March 22, 2019 in Family Law

Skokie paternity lawyerFor decades now, paternity has been most often determined by a father being married to the child’s mother at the time of birth. Under Illinois law, if the biological father of a child is not married to the child’s mother, he cannot be listed on the child’s birth certificate until parentage is legally established. This is true even in cases in which the parents live together in a civil union, and even when the parents are engaged to be married.

How Is Paternity Established for Unmarried Couples?

If there is no disagreement between parents about the paternity, the simplest way to establish parentage is through a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (VAP) form. This form must be signed by both parents and filed with the Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS). This can be done in the hospital at the time of the child’s birth. If it is not completed then, a form can be obtained from the HFS website, a child support office, a county clerk’s office, a state/local registrar’s office, or a Department of Human Services office.

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