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paternity, legal paternity, Illinois family law attorneysWhen a child is born to a married couple, the parents are typically prepared for many of the challenges that await them. The prospect of raising a child, of course, may seem daunting at times, but the mother and father will generally rely upon each other for help and support over the years. However, when a child is born outside of marriage, the challenges facing the parents may be quite different. Among the first of such obstacles is often creating a legal relationship between the child and his or her father through the establishment of legal paternity.

Legal Paternity

The law in Illinois provides for several situations in which a man is presumed to be a child’s father and is therefore granted legal paternity. These include:

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temporary custody, temporary order, St. Charles Family Law AttorneyWhen deciding to end their marriage, no couple hopes that the divorce will be a long and drawn-out process. Instead, most approach the situation looking to come to some sort of resolution quickly and with minimal difficulty. Unfortunately, in many cases, an efficient and low-stress dissolution is not possible and the case drags on for weeks and months. When such a case involves children, it may be necessary to establish temporary arrangements for custody, so that their best interests may be protected despite the ongoing proceedings.

Temporary Custody Petitions

While litigation for divorce or permanent child custody arrangements continue, either parent may petition the court for an order of temporary custody. This may be done in an effort to help the child enroll in school, establish a visitation schedule, and address a number of other possible issues.

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shared custody, study, Illinois Family Law AttorneyWhile every case involving child custody must consider the best interests of the children involved, researchers and experts continue to identify underlying trends in family dynamics. Findings of such studies and projects may not be immediately applicable to an individual case before the court, but they can often provide a useful perspective for couples who may wish to negotiate child custody without resorting to litigation. With that in mind, a new study seems to show that children fare best after a divorce when they are able to spend time living with both parents.

Conducted by researchers at the Centre for Health Equity Studies in Stockholm, Sweden, and published this week in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, the project challenged the idea that moving back and forth between divorced parents’ homes can increase stress for children. “Child experts and people in general assumed that these children should be more stressed,” said lead author Malin Bergstrӧm, PhD. The findings of the study, however, suggested that the opposite may be true.

The team looked at data related to nearly 150,000 Swedish students aged 12 or 15 in 6th or 9th grade and examined the living arrangements and psychosomatic problems of each. Issues included sleep problems, difficulty with concentration, appetite loss, headaches, gastrointestinal problems, tension, and others. Participants who lived in two-parent nuclear families reported the lowest number of problems, which came as little surprise to the researchers.  More interesting, however, was the finding that those who spent significant living time with each separated parent reported substantially fewer issues than participants living with one parent only.

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custody order, divorce, Kane County Family Law AttorneyOne of the most difficult things divorcing couples who are in the midst of a child custody battle may face is to keep all communications with each other civil. Emotions are high, anger is heated, and it can be almost impossible keep those feelings contained. However, it is important to know that any negative communications you have with your soon-to-be-ex spouse can be held against you when it comes to deciding who should get custody of the children.

In Illinois, there are several criteria that the court will consider when making the determination of child custody. These factors include:

  • The wishes of the parents;
  • Depending on a child’s age, the court will consider the wishes of the child;
  • The interaction between the child and each parent and any other caregivers;
  • The physical and emotional health of both parents and child;
  • How well the child has adjusted to his or her home, community, and school;
  • Whether there is any record of abuse, domestic or otherwise; and
  • How willing each parent is to foster an ongoing relationship between the child and the other parent.

The ability for a parent to put aside the anger and contention that often comes from a marriage breakup, and instead focus on the emotional health and well-being of the child is also something that judges watch for in custody cases.  If a parent uses threats and intimidation over child custody in order to bully the other parent into meeting their demands in other areas of divorce negotiations – such as property division or spousal support – the court may consider that a threat to the child’s emotional health and award sole custody to the other parent.

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