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guardian ad litemIt not uncommon for child-related legal matters such as the allocation of parental responsibilities or a proposed relocation to become highly contentious. In some cases, the involved parties may find it difficult or impossible to reach an agreement that is in the child’s best interests. When parents are unable to negotiate a reasonable solution on their own or through court-ordered mediation, the court must step in and make a decision. To do so, the court must have a full understanding of the circumstances surrounding the dispute, which is not always possible to obtain from the parents in a courtroom setting. Illinois law, however, gives the court the authority to appoint a specially-trained attorney called a guardian ad litem (GAL) to conduct an investigation and make recommendations regarding the outcome of the case.

The Role of a Guardian ad Litem

When a guardian ad litem is appointed to your case, he or she does not represent you, the other parent, your child, or any other party to the case. Instead, the GAL works essentially on behalf of the court, gathering all of the relevant details about your situation. The GAL has the power to conduct a comprehensive investigation into your family’s current circumstances as well as the willingness and ability of each party to provide for the child. In most cases, a GAL will interview the child, both parents, and any other person whose input may be helpful. He or she will also visit each parent’s home and review financial records, court transcripts, and other documents that support each party’s claims or requests.

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Posted on in Child Support

child support, Kane County family law attorneyIt is generally understood that all parents have a moral obligation to help support their children. When a child’s parents are no longer together due to divorce or a breakup, the obligation often transforms from a subjective, moral responsibility to an objective, legal one. In Illinois, the law provides that either or both parents may be ordered to pay child support, but most cases result in a support obligation for only one parent.

The Need for an Update

For several decades, Illinois courts have relied on a calculation method that determines the supporting parent’s obligation as a specific percentage of his or her income based on the number of supported children. This model, however, has come under fire in recent years as family dynamics and cultural expectations have evolved. Many believe that the existing method is inherently unfair to the supporting parent, as it does not statutorily account for the recipient parent’s income or shared parenting time.

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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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false domestic violence, Kane County family law attorneysAny allegation of domestic violence or abuse is a very serious matter. When a person has been victimized or feels threatened, he or she must take action to ensure his or her safety. Reporting incidents or threats of domestic abuse is also very important so that law enforcement and the justice system can directly address the problem. The systems in place to assist victims and would-be victims of domestic violence are designed to make seeking help as easy and efficient as possible. Unfortunately, however, unscrupulous individuals will sometimes attempt to use such resources and programs to cause problems for former spouses or partners by making false claims of domestic abuse. Fraudulently filing a claim of abuse can have severe consequences, as a woman in California recently discovered.

False Facebook Stalking Claims

During the fall of 2015, a 25-year-old woman in Lake Forest, California filed several reports with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department claiming that her ex-boyfriend had stalked and threatened her on Facebook, in violation of an existing restraining order. As a result, the man was arrested on four separate occasions in a four-month period. The woman testified at a preliminary hearing that she was the victim of cyberstalking and threats by her former romantic partner.

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Posted on in Children

holiday, Kane County divorce attorneyThe winter holiday season, for many families, begins with the celebration of Thanksgiving and continues through the month of December into the beginning of January. While the holidays are often filled with fun, food, and extended family, they can be particularly challenging for divorced parents as they try to keep their children involved in all of the festivities. If you share parenting responsibilities of your child with your former partner, there are some things that you can do to help make the winter holidays more enjoyable for everyone involved.

Be Prepared

If your parenting plan does not already specify where your child will spend each holiday, you will need to make arrangements with the other parent as soon as possible. Do not wait until the very last minute. Give your child something to look forward to, and provide enough lead time for you and the other parent to plan for the holiday accordingly.

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