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Lake County Family Law Blog

What types of adoption are available?

One of the greatest joys in life is welcoming a new child into your family. But, there are many situations where natural birth is not an option for a couple, or it is not preferred. For couples who wish to help an orphaned, abandoned or abused child without a family, for couples who are not able to have a child together and for gay couples, there are various options available for adoption.

Adoption agencies act as a "middle-man" between a child in need of adoption and a couple looking to adopt a child. For international adoptions, couples must go through the Hague Adoption Convention. This will pair up the foreign adoption agency with the U.S. State Department and a national agency. There are several criteria for adoption via this method, such as assuring that the child has considered placing the child locally, that the child has legal consent from the biological parents and that the child has been cleared for adoption in the United States. This is all done to prevent illegal activities, such as international abductions and adoption scams.

Domestic violence is a serious concern in the United States

Throughout the United States, including the Lake County, Illinois, area, incidents of domestic violence are, unfortunately, not uncommon. In fact, the statistics show that incidents may be more common than most of us are aware, accounting for more injuries to women than car accidents and muggings combined.

A woman in the U.S. is beaten or assaulted every nine seconds, and three women are killed by their husbands or boyfriends every day. As many as one in three women throughout the world will experience violence or sexual abuse in their lifetime. It is important to understand that in many families in which domestic violence occurs, the abused person is not always the only victim.

Helping you secure a fair child support order

Divorce can be difficult. Even when spouses are onboard with the process, if children are involved this can further complicate dissolution. While it is possible that children understand what is going on and that it is for the best, the fact of the matter is that divorce will alter their life as they know it. The transition from a one-home family to a two-home family can be a big deal. And, while parents seek to meet the emotional needs of their child by developing a suitable child custody arrangement, parents must also consider the child's financial wellbeing as well.

The request for child support tends to go hand-in-hand with child custody decisions. Depending on if one parent has full physical custody or there is a shared parenting arrangement, child support is based not only on the income of each parent but also the time they have with the child. Thus, it is important for Illinois residents to be aware of how this divorce decision is determined and how it could impact them during and after divorce.

How is marital property determined?

In the majority of states in the U.S., including Illinois, marital property is divided by equitable division. Compared with community property states, where all the property value is pooled together and split down the middle, equitable division allows the courts to determine how the property is divided, which may or may not be divided equally.

Before any property division decisions are made, the courts must first determine which property is marital property, and which property is not. In most cases, marital property is property that is obtained during the course of a marriage. There are exceptions to this, however.

How a prenup can help during a marriage and divorce - Part I

A previous post here discussed several of the benefits that a couple could enjoy and some preventive measures associated with creating a prenuptial agreement, or "prenup." Prenuptial agreements are honored by the courts and could be used to help resolve divorce issues.

There are several things that cannot be included in a prenuptial agreement, as was covered in a previous post. It is important to understand what these are, as the courts take them very seriously and if they are included in a prenup, it may void not only that line item or issue in question, but possibly the entire agreement.

How a prenup can help during a marriage and divorce, part 1

Throughout the United States, more people considering marriage create prenuptial agreements ("prenups"). While many believe that prenups are only for celebrities and the, it is important to understand that are helpful to everyone, including those living in Waukegan, Illinois, and Lake County.

Specifically, prenups are helpful not only during a divorce, but also during a marriage. First, they help establish where one's assets go if a spouse dies. And, the agreements can include provisions on how money is distributed to children from outside of a marriage, like those from prior marriages.

Support for those struggling with child support payments

When you are going through divorce court and there are children involved, most of the decisions will be made to assure that the best interests of the children are met. For child custody, they will determine who is the primary caretaker, whether there is a history of alcohol or substance abuse or even domestic violence. They may even ask the children how they feel about their relationship with each of their parents.

When it comes to property division, it is not uncommon for the custodial parent to retain the home. Again, this is done to minimize the potential impact on the children. With regards to child support, the courts will look at many factors including the income of both parents, the expected expenses including whether any child has special needs that could raise the costs such as disabilities or health concerns.

Making sound divorce financial decisions

Money is often one factor that leads to divorce, and many in Waukegan going through a divorce find that these fights continue throughout the process. After all, even those striving for an amicable divorce may find that emotions get in the way of making sound financial decisions. Therefore, it is important that individuals protect their interests.

First, it is important for each spouse to have good credit. Checking one's credit report is a good first step. Moreover, a person should look over all their financial accounts, such as joint savings accounts or credit cards to determine whether they are an authorized user on these accounts. It may also be a good idea for an individual who is facing the prospect of divorce to obtain his or her own credit card.

Same-sex couples still face biases in the adoption process

The rights of same-sex couples in Illinois have expanded with 2015's legalization of same-sex marriage nationwide. While this and other rights may give same-sex couples a greater opportunity to adopt a child if they so choose, unfortunately social biases still exist that may prevent them from doing so, despite the fact that thousands of children nationwide are in need of parents.

For example, a same-sex couple from Illinois started the road toward adoption when they took in a newborn child who had been born into foster care. A number of years later, the couple adopted not only that child, but also the child's four biological older brothers and sister, who were also in need of parents and were living in foster care. Despite this success story, some politicians in the United States want to allow faith-based adoption agencies to disallow same-sex couples from adopting.

Making sure parenting plans serve the best interests of the child

It is important for divorcing parents in Waukegan to understand that the divorce process can be difficult on a child, even if the divorce is an amicable one. Following a divorce, a child needs to have a good sense of security. A well thought out child custody and visitation plan can provide the child with the stability he or she needs going forward. Therefore, parenting plans should be both in the best interests of the child and of the parents.

In Illinois, whether a case involves joint custody or sole custody and visitation, both accomplish essentially the same thing. Both of these types of cases lay out when each parent will spend time with the child. For example, the child may reside solely with one parent and the other parent will have visitation time. Or, the child may reside with one parent some of the time, and the other parent the rest of the time.

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