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unmarried, Kane County family law attorneyThere is always a constant and lively discussion about the rights of married couples, as well as the rights of each half of a married couple. However, very often the rights of couples who are unmarried and cohabitating are forgotten or misunderstood. Even if a couple is unmarried, if they conduct themselves as a couple, they may be able to secure particular rights under the law. If marriage is not for you, you and your partner can still assert certain privileges as a unit.

Cohabitation Agreements

Many couples who do not wish to marry still desire some sort of structure to their relationship, and some may decide to draw up cohabitation agreements. While unmarried couples have no intrinsic rights to each other’s property or income, cohabitation agreements can provide for a particular property division or right to the other person in the relationship. This was formerly a very common option for same-sex couples before Obergefell v. Hodges granted marriage equality in all 50 states in 2015, but heterosexual couples are also frequent cohabiters. While cohabitation can sometimes develop into common-law marriage in some states, it does not always, nor does it have to necessarily.

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Posted on in Family Law

adoption, St. Charles family law attorneyBlended families are becoming more and more common in the United States as the divorce rate continues to remain high. While the ideal situation, in most cases, has both parents playing active roles in the lives of their children, this is not always what happens. If one parent ceases to be a factor in their children’s lives, for whatever reason, a stepparent may be able to legally step into that role by adopting the children.

When Is Stepparent Adoption Permissible?

There are several points that any stepparent must consider if they want to adopt their partner’s child legally. First, they must be legally married to the child’s legal mother or father. Second, the law does not permit a child to have any more than two legal parents. In other words, the other parent must either be deceased, vanished, or otherwise have agreed to sign away their parental rights in order for you to be able to adopt the children. If the child is over the age of 14, he or she must also give their consent, and this is taken seriously; without it, the adoption will not go forward.

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Posted on in Family Law

prohibited marriages, Kane County family law attorneyFor a number of years, the was a much debate throughout the country regarding the institution of marriage and the government’s right to determine which couples should and should not be permitted to marry. The main point of contention was the rights of same-sex couples to get married. The issue was essentially put to rest almost two years ago when the United States Supreme Court issued a ruling that provided for same-sex marriage rights throughout the nation. While same-sex couples now have the same access to marriage as opposite-sex couples, there are still some limitations in each state regarding who may and may not get married. In Illinois, a marriage between two people who are not legally permitted to marry one another may be annulled.

Unlawful Marriages

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) governs marriage, divorce, and related matters in the state. The IMDMA provides that a marriage is considered “prohibited” if:

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donor, Kane County family law attorneyWhen two people have a child together, both parents are generally responsible for the child’s well-being. Ideally, the parents would work together and share parenting duties regarding the child. If a co-parenting arrangement is not appropriate or possible, then the parent with relatively fewer parental responsibilities or less parenting time will likely be obligated to pay child support. Modern medical technology, however, has made some parenting situations much more complicated, as an increasing number of couples and individuals are turning to assisted conception methods to grow their families. One example of such complications can be found in the case of a man who fathered triplets through assisted fertilization in Thailand and is now being ordered to pay child support for the children.

Assisted Fertilization Produces Triplets

A Cook County Court and, subsequently, the First District Appellate Court in Illinois, ruled that a decision made by a court in Thailand is applicable to a man now living in Illinois. According to court records, the man in question was working in Thailand between 2001 and 2009, when he began a relationship with a woman. He and the woman participated in a traditional Thai wedding ceremony in 2004, but never legally filed their marriage paperwork.

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alienation of affection, heart balm, St. Charles family lawyersOn many social and criminal issues, the state of Illinois is often seen as relatively progressive, taking what may be considered a more liberal approach toward such concerns as gun control, minimum wage laws, and marital rights. For this reason, it may come as surprise to know that, up until this year, Illinois law still permitted so-called “heart balm” lawsuits related to marriage and divorce. Along with the major changes to the law that updated the state’s approach to divorce, child custody, and other family concerns, the family law reform measure that was passed last summer also eliminated virtually all potential heart balm actions as well.

What Are Heart Balm Suits?

For many years, an individual could file a separate civil lawsuit seeking monetary damages for actions or losses that related to his or her marital or personal relationships. Such suits were often filed in attempt to ease the pain and difficulty of a broken relationship, earning them the nickname "heart balm" lawsuits. Unfortunately, however, many heart balm suits were filed simply out of spite, and caused legal proceedings to drag on unnecessarily.

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