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Category Archives: Kane County Blog

Kane County family law attorneysIt is no secret that ending a marriage can be messy. In many cases, it can be downright nasty, with acrimony and contentiousness that can linger for many years after the divorce is finalized. Of course, there is no requirement that your divorce must follow such a path. The law in Illinois, in fact, explicitly encourages just the opposite. A cooperative, negotiated divorce is almost always preferable to fiercely litigated dissolution, and can help pave the way for a more civil post-divorce relationship between you and your ex-spouse.

Cooperation Encourages Compliance

If you were to step back and objectively assess yourself, are you likely to do something just because you were told to do it? While you may be able to follow orders, you are probably much more willing to do so if you had a role in creating them. An amicable divorce offers the opportunity for you and your spouse to do just that. Together, you can create a workable agreement that addresses whatever concerns each of you may have. Long-term compliance may be significantly improved if you both feel that you were an important part of the settlement.

Setting a Good Example

As challenging as it may be to work in close collaboration with your soon-to-be ex-spouse, consider how your children may be affected by the divorce process. Of course, you and your spouse will have difficult personal issues to work through, but your children can learn a great deal about resolving differences in a cooperative and civil manner. It is important for your children to know that disagreement is possible in a manner that still maintains civility and respect for the other party. Your commitment to cooperation can also lead to your children being more willing to adapt to the upcoming changes, as they start to share your positive outlook.

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Kane County family law attorneysIf you are a parent residing in Illinois and you are planning to divorce, you and your child’s other parent will need to make decisions about the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time. You will have 120 days after you file for divorce to file a proposed parenting plan. If you and your spouse cannot agree on the terms of the plan, the court may need to intervene. There are a number of considerations the parenting plan must contain including decisions about when the child will spend time with each parent, each parent’s decision-making authority, and more.

Required Parenting Plan Elements

Parents are encouraged to make as many parenting decisions in advance as possible. The more issues parents work out during the creation of the parenting plan, the less likely they will experience conflict during their post-divorce co-parenting relationship.

Although you may choose to add additional items in your parenting plan, the required elements include:

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Kane County adoption lawyersAdopting a child is one of the most worthwhile legal pursuits a person can undergo. Unfortunately, the Illinois adoption process can, at times, be complicated and tedious. One step in the adoption process that many adoptive families worry about is the home study. The purpose of an adoption home study is to ensure that the adoptive home is a safe, loving environment for the child to live in. Many adoptive parents are intimidated at the thought of someone coming to evaluate them and their home. They may worry that they will be deemed “not good enough” and denied the adoption. One of the best ways to prepare for your home study and gain peace of mind is to thoroughly educate yourself about what the adoption home study process entails.  

Common Elements of a Home Study

The steps that you must take in order to be granted an adoption will depend on whether you are pursuing an international adoption, private adoption, agency adoption, relative adoption, or adoption through the foster care system. Although the adoption process varies significantly, most home studies involve the same basic steps. The agent, social worker, or other individual conducting the home study is seeking to understand two main things:

  • Whether or not you and the other adoptive parent are capable of adequately caring for the child; and
  • Whether or not your home is a safe, healthy place for a child to live

In most agency adoptions, potential adoptive parents are first invited to an informational session that outlines the adoption process and what to expect. If the potential adoptive parents choose to continue with the adoption, a home study will typically follow at some point.

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St. Charles family law attorneys“The best interests of the child” is one of the most common phrases in the realm of family law. A child’s well-being, of course, should remain among the top priorities in proceedings for divorce, allocation of parental responsibilities, parenting time, non-parent visitation, and adoption. The challenge, however, is that determining what exactly constitutes a child’s best interests is open to interpretation. As such, each parent may fully believe that they are acting in their child’s best interests yet hold vastly different objectives regarding the outcome of the case.

Helping the Process

When you and your child’s other parent cannot agree on a parenting plan or other arrangements regarding your child, the court is likely to offer several options. To start with, you may be required to participate in court-ordered mediation designed to help you and the other parent reach an agreement with the help of a third-party mediator. Mediation, however, is only possible in situations where both parties are willing and able to work constructively with one another.

Alternatively, the court may appoint a specially-trained and certified attorney—not one who is representing either you or the other party—to serve as a guardian ad litem (GAL). The guardian ad litem will be expected to investigate your family’s circumstances to develop an outside, objective opinion of what the child’s best interests are. Based on the GAL’s findings, the GAL will make a recommendation to the court regarding the most appropriate outcome for the case.

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Kane County divorce lawyersMarriages end for countless reasons. Sometimes, a married couple decides to divorce because one of the spouses has had an affair. Studies show that about 20 percent of men and 13 percent of women admit to cheating on their spouse during their marriage. If you are in this situation, you may wonder whether infidelity will influence your divorce proceedings. The answer will likely depend on your particular set of circumstances.

The Elimination of Fault-Based Divorce in Illinois

When a couple gets a divorce, the petitioner, or person requesting the divorce, must list the “grounds” or reasons for the divorce. In the past, Illinois allowed spouses to list fault-based grounds such as adultery, abandonment, or physical or mental cruelty as the reason for the divorce. However, all fault-based grounds have since been eliminated. Anyone seeking a divorce in Illinois must only prove that “irreconcilable differences” have caused the breakdown of the marriage and that efforts at reconciliation are not in the couple’s best interests. This means that a spouse’s adultery will not be listed as the reason for the divorce. However, this does not mean that adultery will not impact any divorce proceedings.

Cheating May Still Impact Divorce Proceedings

“Dissipation of assets” refers to a situation in which a spouse misuses or wastes assets at the end of a marriage. If a spouse spent a great deal of money during the affair or gave his or her paramour valuable property, this may be considered dissipation. The spouse guilty of dissipation may receive a reduced share of the marital estate during property division while the wronged spouse receives a greater share in order to compensate him or her for the dissipated assets.

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We serve clients throughout Kane County, Illinois including St. Charles, Geneva, Batavia, North Aurora, Elgin, Algonquin, Aurora, Barrington Hills, Bartlett, Big Rock, Burlington, Campton Hills, Carpentersville, East Dundee, Elburn, Hampshire, Huntley, Kaneville, Maple Park, Sleepy Hollow, Wayne, West Dundee as well as throughout DuPage County.

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In honor of the passing of our founder, Joseph F. Mirabella, Jr., our offices are closed Friday, January 31, 2020.I Agree