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Posted on in Order Modification

modifying, Kane County divorce lawyerWhen your divorce has been finalized and the divorce decree has been entered by the court, it becomes a binding order, enforceable under the law. However, you should know that even if your divorce is finalized, you are allowed to file a petition to modify, or amend the decree. Before filing a petition to modify your divorce decree, make sure that you are within the bounds of when a divorce can be modified. There are certain circumstances which make a person eligible for a divorce decree modification. One cannot seek a modification just because they did not like the decisions made by the judge presiding over their divorce.

Parental Responsibilities and Parenting Time

A person can file for a divorce decree modification if the circumstances of the family, including income or employment, change dramatically. Unless both parties agree to consider a change or there is a serious danger to the child, Illinois residents are not permitted to modify their parental responsibilities arrangements (not including parenting time concerns) until two years after the original decree or most recent approved modification. Illinois courts make their decisions regarding parental responsibilities based on what is in the best interest for the child. Having a two-year waiting period allows the child to settle into their new role as a child of divorce. Parenting time considerations may be modified at any time upon a showing of change in circumstances.

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Posted on in Divorce

hiding assets, Kane County family law attorneyDivorce is not only the end of a romantic relationship, but also that of a financial relationship. Courts use financial information from both spouses to make decisions about spousal maintenance, child support, property division, and more. Although everyone handles divorce differently, there are some mistakes that should be avoided at all costs.

Hiding assets or attempting to misrepresent your financial circumstances is one of these mistakes. Artificially deflating your income, failing to report a piece of real estate, transferring money between accounts, not reporting a source of income, or otherwise distorting your financial status can result in penalties, money sanctions, and a more problematic divorce. In order for a divorce to go as smoothly as possible and to avoid negative consequences, it is critical that both spouses are honest regarding their finances.

Hiding assets during a divorce may not be as obvious to spot as one may suspect. There are many tactics that spouses use to misrepresent their financial circumstances. A spouse who is attempting to fake their financial status may:

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Posted on in Visitation

visitation, St. Charles family law attorneysIllinois law states that the both of a child’s parents are entitled, at the very least, to a reasonable amount of time with the child unless the court finds that visits would be dangerous to the child (physically, mentally, emotionally or otherwise). However, the only other familial relations that are even granted standing (permission) to apply for visitation rights are grandparents, great-grandparents, stepparents, and siblings (including step-siblings).

Grandparents, stepparents, and siblings may petition the court to be granted visitation with a minor child, but they are only likely to be successful in certain situations. Even if a child has lived with them or been close with them for a long time, these family members are not entitled to visitation as a matter of law. The two situations in which these select non-parents are most likely to be granted visitation rights are (1) if one or both parents of the minor child have been missing for at least three months, or are deceased or otherwise incompetent; and (2) if the child’s parents are not living together, either on a permanent or indefinite basis. To establish a case for visitation being permitted, non-parents must establish that the parent’s decision to deny visitation is “unreasonable” and that the child has suffered or will suffer harm as a result of that decision. This is, as one might guess, very difficult to establish.OK

Aunts, uncles and other family members that may once have been close to the child have no standing to even apply for visitation privileges. Their ability to see the child in question is entirely left to the judgment of the parent or legal guardian.

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Posted on in Divorce

common law, St. Charles family law attorneyMany years ago, a couple was considered to be married if they had lived together for at least seven years, and held themselves out as a couple during that time. Nowadays, most states have repudiated the idea of common law marriages in favor of statutory requirements for marriage, but not all have  done so. It is plausible to live with someone for a long period of time and be married under some states’ laws without even realizing it.

Common Law Marriages in Illinois

Generally speaking, three requirements must be met in order to have a valid common law marriage: (1) You and the other person must agree that you are married; (2) you must hold yourselves out as being married (for example, by the wife adopting the husband’s surname); and (3) you must cohabitate. Mere cohabitation is not enough to establish a valid marriage. However, there are less than a dozen states that still recognize common law marriage, and Illinois is not one of them. The state banned the practice in 1905, though lawmakers specified that people who previously had a common law marriage would still be recognized as married.

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Posted on in Children

name, Kane County family law attorneyIt is extremely common for women to change their names after divorce, usually back to their maiden name. However, an increasingly widespread movement has divorced women legally changing the names of their children, as well. The legality of this is questionable in some states, but it can be a balm to a woman who has gone through an abusive relationship or a nasty divorce. It is important to know the law before you take steps on your children’s behalf.

Traditional Views vs. Modern Views

Historically, there was no option to change your children’s name after divorce. The father’s name was usually the one given to the child, for better or worse, as long as he was still actively involved in parenting that child. However, nowadays, more and more states are allowing a minor child’s surname to be changed after divorce, especially if there was abuse involved. The key question asks, as it does in custody determinations and child support deliberations, what is in the best interest of the child.

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