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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 family law attorney for adoptionMany couples struggle with infertility and therefore turn to adoption to achieve their dream of having a family. In some cases, parents might already have biological children but choose to adopt another child as a way to expand their family, or a couple may conceive a child after they adopted one. No matter what the circumstances, there are many children who need good homes, and adoption is a wonderful way to provide them with a nurturing, safe place to grow up. Raising children is not easy, and bringing up an adopted child along with your biological children can be even more challenging. 

Guidelines for Blended Families

If you are raising both adopted and biological children, you may find it difficult to meet each child’s specific needs while also making them feel loved and part of the family unit. It is important for every child to have a safe, loving home. Here are some helpful hints to consider when you add to your family:

  • Prepare children for a new sibling: Talk to your children and tell them why you are adopting to ensure that they do not think it is because they are “not enough” or inadequate in any way. Involve them in preparing for their new sibling’s arrival by having them help decorate the baby’s room or create a new play area for all of them. 

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Cook County divorce lawyer for middle aged spousesPeople are living longer these days, and as their children leave the nest, the bond that holds a marriage together can dissipate. A divorce at any age can be nerve-wracking, but for those couples who are over 40, it can be very intimidating. For some people, the thought of being alone after a long marriage is overwhelming. If you have been together for many years, figuring out how to divide your marital assets can also be complicated. A common concern for a newly single person is whether or not he or she will have the financial resources needed for retirement. It is important to become acquainted with Illinois’ divorce laws to ensure that you can create a stable future.   

Practical Advice 

With more women working full time, and some out-earning their spouses, the financial imperative to stay together no longer exists in many marriages. Also, if a middle-aged couple had children together, the children are usually out of the house at college or living on their own, so there is no need to remain married “for the kids’ sake.” If you are considering filing for divorce, the following tips can help ensure a smooth process regardless of your age:

Hillside QDRO lawyer

Many people work for a long time in order to save for retirement. Others may have a pension, or they may invest in mutual funds or IRAs so they can live comfortably after they are done working. If a married couple decides to part ways, they may wonder what will happen to their assets in a divorce, including their retirement plans. Under Illinois law, marital assets are divided using “equitable distribution.” This means any assets acquired during the marriage will be divided fairly between the spouses, but not necessarily split in half. It is important to understand what you are legally entitled to in terms of retirement savings that may have originally been meant for both your and your spouse’s future.   

Dividing Retirement Accounts and Pensions

If retirement accounts were created or contributed to during a couple’s marriage, or if they increased in value during the marriage, they are considered to be marital property. The balances in these accounts may be divided equally between the spouses, or a couple may agree on another way to divide these assets. Once it is determined how any retirement accounts will be divided, the retirement plan administrator must be given the details of the division and how that division will be executed. This is done through a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO). 
By using a QDRO, funds can be withdrawn or transferred from a retirement account, and the account owner will not be required to pay penalties or taxes on the withdrawn amount. QDROs are typically entered once the divorce is finalized. The majority of retirement accounts, including 401(k)s, require a QDRO before they can be divided between spouses. IRAs are considered a different type of retirement savings and do not require a QDRO. 

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Oak Park divorce lawyer for infidelity

For many couples, a betrayal of any kind can mean the end of the marriage. It is often hard to move past a mistake such as infidelity, even if it only took place one time. Trust can be irretrievably broken after adultery is committed, and for some people, that trust cannot be regained. Therefore, they decide to end their legal union. It is best to seek legal counsel once the decision has been made to divorce in order to understand what happens next when it comes to the division of property, child-related issues, spousal maintenance, and more.      

Understanding Illinois Divorce Laws 

Even though the betrayed spouse may wish to blame the other spouse for destroying the marriage, Illinois divorce law does not recognize fault-based grounds for divorce. A petition for divorce need only state that “irreconcilable differences” are the reason for the end of the relationship, and that it is beyond repair. Illinois law also states that no marital misconduct of any kind should be considered when determining how to divide marital property fairly or whether to award spousal support. However, there may be certain scenarios in which adultery can impact a divorce case, including:

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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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