Category Archives: Kane County Blog

St. Charles divorce lawyersWhile almost all divorces involve a good deal of conflict, some divorcing spouses are more hostile toward each other than others. If you are in the middle of a high-conflict divorce, or are considering divorcing a spouse who you predict will not be cooperative, you probably feel stressed and overwhelmed. Divorcing someone who is unwilling to work with you to solve problems and come to an agreement on divorce issues can be exhausting. However, there are a few things you can do to help the divorce process go as quickly and smoothly as possible.

Do Not Stoop to Their Level

High-conflict divorces can bring out the worst in people. It can make the person you used to love seem like a complete stranger who is intent on making your life miserable. It is very important for people in this situation to be careful not to overreact to their soon-to-be-ex spouse’s antics. He or she may very well do things to try to hurt or embarrass you. For example, some angry spouses will write defaming remarks about the other on social media. As tempting as it is to write something insulting back or otherwise seek revenge, this will only escalate the situation and lead to more conflict. Although it can seem nearly impossible, being “the bigger person” during a high-conflict divorce is often the best way to avoid excessive drama and slowdowns.

Consider Therapy or a Support Group

According to the American Institute of Stress’ Holmes-Rahe Stress Inventory, divorce is the second-most stressful life event a person can experience. In fact, divorce is only second to the death of a spouse. Nearly all mental health experts suggest that people getting divorced speak with a counselor, therapist, or other mental health professional during a high-conflict divorce. Speaking with an objective, nonjudgmental professional can help you work through your emotions in a safe environment. Many people also find that attending a support group during and after divorce can help them connect with others going through similar hardships.

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St. Charles family law attorneysLas Vegas has become heavily associated with quick weddings and, sometimes, quick divorces. Las Vegas is not only the “city of lights” but also the marriage capital of the world. Clark County, Nevada, the county in which Las Vegas is located, issues over 100,000 marriage licenses each year. Of course, Las Vegas is also known for being a city full of alcohol and partying. Sometimes, the combination of inexpensive and quick marriage services plus the availability of alcohol results in some marriages spouses regret. In such a case, couples may be able to file for an annulment, which is technically called a Declaration of Invalidity of Marriage. An annulment differs significantly from divorce, and only certain married couples are eligible for an annulment in Illinois.

Cage Says He Was Too Intoxicated to Understand His Actions 

Getting married is a huge decision which should not be taken lightly. When drugs or alcohol cloud the thinking of individuals getting married, it is possible for the marriage to be reversed. Academy Award-winning actor Nicolas Cage filed for annulment last week on the grounds that he was too drunk to understand his actions when he married his girlfriend. He also mentions that at the time of the marriage, he was unaware that his girlfriend was involved in another relationship.

Grounds for Annulment in Illinois

Couples who regret getting married cannot simply have the marriage declared invalid for no reason. A Declaration of Invalidity is only granted by Illinois courts when at least one of the following criteria is met:

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Kane County family law attorneysSince the 2015 United States Supreme Court ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, states can no longer legally ban gay couples from marrying. Since this landmark decision, same-sex couples across the country are marrying and beginning their lives as legal spouses. Many same-sex couples also wish to start a family of their own. Same-sex couples can sometimes face complicated legal obstacles when children are involved. Fortunately, there are several legal avenues that Illinois residents can use to obtain parental rights. One of these is second parent adoption, also called co-parent adoption. Second parent adoption can allow same-sex couples to legally adopt a child into their family.

Second Parent Adoption Differs from Other Types of Adoptions

When most people think of adoption, they imagine a situation in which a parent gives up his or her parental rights and another individual takes on those parental rights. In a same-sex situation, things are often much different. It is not uncommon, for example, for one of the partners to be the only legal parent that the child has. That parent may have adopted the child originally or had the child without another parent involved, such as through a sperm bank or surrogacy. Through a second-parent adoption, the parent’s partner can become the child’s other legal parent.

Benefits of Second Parent Adoption

There are many reasons an individual would want to adopt their same-sex partner’s child. One benefit is the legal right to make healthcare decisions for the child. For example, if an injury or illness leaves a parent or child incapacitated in some way, only legally-recognized parents will have full authority over health care decisions. Even if someone has been acting as a parent in a child’s life for a long time, without a legally-recognized relationship, they may not have any legal rights to the child. This means that if the legal parent passes away or becomes incapacitated, the child may not be able to stay with the parent’s spouse. In the past, children have been actually removed from their home in circumstances like these due to the lack of the other spouse’s legal parentage.

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If you are considering ending your marriage, you probably have a myriad of questions. You may be unsure of what to expect during the divorce process or whether or not you will need to hire a lawyer. You may also wonder how cooperative or uncooperative your soon-to-be-ex-spouse will be during the divorce process. Unfortunately, you cannot control how accommodating your spouse will be during the divorce. Fortunately, you can control your own actions.

One of the best ways to help your divorce go as smoothly as possible is to educate yourself about your options moving forward. One option which is available to Illinois residents getting a divorce is mediation. Mediation can be a valuable tool for couples who wish to figure out divorce issues outside of litigation. However, mediation is not for everyone.

What Does Divorce Mediation Involve?

During divorce mediation, a divorcing couple meets with a specially-trained mediator who acts as a neutral third-party during discussions about divorce issues. A mediator does not make decisions for the couple but instead helps facilitate respectful, effective communication about these issues so that the couple can reach an agreement. A mediator can help couples decide how their property should be divided and make plans for child custody, child support, and spousal maintenance.

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Kane County family lawyersThere are two ways a couple can legally terminate their marriage: divorce and annulment. Annulment differs significantly from divorce in that it not only ends the marriage, but declares it invalid. After a marriage has been annulled, in the eyes of the law, it’s as if the marriage never occurred. Illinois law refers to an annulment of marriage as a “judgment of invalidity.” Judgments of invalidity are granted only under very specific circumstances in Illinois. Not just any marriage is eligible for invalidation under this law.

Grounds for Invalidating a Marriage in Illinois

Many people seeking a divorce or separation may wish their marriage never happened. However, invalidity of marriage is not avavible for couples who simply regret getting married. An Illinois judge may only grant a judgment of invalidity if certain grounds, or reasons, exist. In order to request a judgment of invalidity, one or more of the following grounds must be present:

  • A party to the marriage lacked the ability to consent to marriage due to mental incapacitation or the influence of drugs or alcohol;
  • A party entered the marriage through fraud or duress (coercion). It is important to note that only fraud that affects the "essentials of the marriage," is a viable ground for annulment. For example, if one party only got married to avoid deportation, the other spouse may be able to file for an annulment. A spouse simply lying about their personal accomplishments or another fabrication which does not influence the essence of the marriage would probably not be considered grounds for a judgement of invalidity;
  • A party is unable to physically consummate the marriage and the other party did not know of this inability before the marriage;
  • The marriage is bigamous (one party is already legally married to another living person) or incestuous; and
  • One or both of the spouses were underage at the time of the marriage and failed to get the required approval of a parent, guardian, or Illinois judge.

Civil Annulments Versus Religious Annulments

Many churches and religious organizations offer their patrons an option to annul or invalidate their marriage in the eyes of the church. It is important to note that religious annulments are not recognized under Illinois law. The only way to legally void your marriage in Illinois is to meet the requirements listed in the Illinois Compiled Statutes and be granted a judgment of invalidity from a judge. If you do not meet the requirements, a divorce is your only option for legally ending the marriage.

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