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Lake County Family Law Blog

How does a restraining order ensure the safety of children?

Previous posts here have discussed how a Lake County resident, or anyone in the greater Chicago area, who has been the victim of domestic violence can get help by going to court and getting a restraining order. If granted, a restraining order will require the perpetrator to stay away from the victim and, if it is violated, gives police the power to make an arrest, even if no further domestic violence actually occurs.

However, restraining orders in Illinois can do a lot more for a victim than simply offering an extra layer of protection. For instance, the order can grant child custody on a temporary basis and can, on a related point, establish some ground rules for visitation, assuming that the court allows visitation at all and that the perpetrator wants visits. A victim can also get child support set up through a protective order and can even get an order requiring someone to go to counseling.

If you don't like a judge's decision, what can you do?

Family law matters are some of the most important legal issues that residents in Lake County or other parts of the Chicago area will face in their lives. After all, family law issues like custody and visitation can affect a parent's relationship with his or her child, a relationship which most if not all Illinois residents consider more important than any amount of money. Also, even financial matters like child support can have a profound impact on a family.

The sad reality is that, despite their best efforts, a parent is not always going to get everything he or she wants after taking a child custody, support or other family law matter before a judge. While sometimes this is just the way the law and the facts play out, in many other cases a judge makes a legal mistake that really should be corrected.

For child support, what counts as income in Illinois?

A previous post here reviewed the formula that Illinois courts use to determine how much child support a parent who does not have custody of his or her children is expected to pay. Part of that post mentioned that sometimes parents can dispute what numbers go in to those formulas and, specifically, how much income each parent makes.

What constitutes "income" for child support purposes warrants a little further discussion. While figuring each parent's income might be straightforward enough if they both work one salaried job and do not bring in money from other sources, the reality is that many Lake County residents and others in the Chicago suburbs have income that varies or is hard to calculate, at least to some extent.

Review of the Illinois child support guidelines

Like other states, Illinois uses a set of guidelines to determine the correct amount of child support each parent should pay. The idea behind such guidelines is to make sure that the child gets the financial support that is needed from both parents in order for the child to maintain a similar standard of living as the child would have had if both parents had been living in the same home. The guidelines also ensure that parents are treated consistently no matter which judge they are in front of.

The guidelines in Illinois rely heavily on each parent's income in order to calculate the appropriate amount of child support. However, the guidelines also take other factors into account, such as the fact that one or both parents may be providing health insurance and the fact that the non-custodial parent may spend a lot of time with the child and thus provide additional support in the form of food and shelter.

Stalking is a disturbing form of domestic violence

Although it might not involve any actual violence or even verbal abuse, "stalking" entails a person doing certain things to let the victim know that he or she is always there and watching them. It is a behavior designed to intimidate and cause a victim to fear for his or her safety, and is thus a form of emotional abuse.

Many people, particularly women in Illinois and throughout the country, have been stalked, and the stalking usually is done by an estranged or former spouse or unmarried partner. Statistics suggest that one out of six women in this country have been stalked at some point in their lives, with 75 percent of those women actually knowing who the stalker was. Younger people are more often the victims of stalking, but a stalker can attack a person of any age.

Why a divorce can be healthy for your children

One of the most common reasons why a couple in an unhappy marriage stays together is for the children. Research has shown, however, that staying together in a possibly unhealthy or toxic relationship can be detrimental to the wellbeing of the children. Staying together for the sake of the children is often not the best way to proceed. Children have a keen sense of awareness. They know when a relationship has gone sour. Allowing children to be exposed to an unhealthy relationship can do more harm than good.

The first thing a divorce does is allow each spouse to get relief from the unhappy and unhealthy relationship with each other. This can prove to be valuable, as a happy parent is more often than not a better parent. They can make stronger and wiser decisions regarding fair discipline without having to potentially battle with their spouse.

How can I make co-parenting work after a divorce?

One of the most contentious issues during the process of a divorce is child custody. While all parents want what is best for their child, it is not uncommon for there to be major disagreements between parents as to what is actually in a child's best interest.

During these times, there are several things both sides should keep in mind to keep things as amicable as possible, and to protect their children from harm that may come from a contentious relationship. Emotions often run high during a divorce. This is expected. It is important, however, to keep these emotions in check, especially in the presence of your children. The children need to be protected from animosity between parents. This means never using the children as messengers. Putting a child in the middle of a conflict can be stressful to a child at the time, and could lead to resentments and further damage to a child's upbringing later in life.

A discussion of the history of grandparents' rights in the U.S.

Throughout most of the history of the United States, rights of a grandparent to visit with a grandchild did not exist. Over the last few decades, however, progress has been made, although it still varies by state.

There are two types of laws in place: restrictive visitation statutes and permissive visitation statutes. Although restrictive visitation statutes only allow a grandparent to seek visitation rights in the event that parents have divorced or if one or both parents has died, permissive visitation laws have more flexibility and options for grandparents seeking visitation rights.

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.

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