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rights, Kane County family law attorneyWhen making decisions regarding a parent’s rights regarding his or her child, Illinois courts are expected to keep the child’s best interest as the top priority. While the desires of the parent do matter, it is up to the court to determine if the parent’s wishes are based on what is best for the child. Such will be the case in a few short weeks when a Bloomington woman is scheduled to appear in McClean County court to request custody—or parental responsibilities as it is now known in Illinois law—of her infant daughter. The complicating factor, however, is that the woman is currently serving an eight-year prison sentence for child endangerment in connection with the beating death of her 3-year-old son in 2011.

Terminating Parental Rights

Earlier this month, state officials filed a request to terminate the parental rights of the woman and her husband regarding the little girl, who will soon be a year old. The woman and her husband contested the state’s motion and a trial date has been set for October. The state’s case is based on the mother’s behavior related to her deceased son, who died in 2013 following multiple beatings at the hands of the woman’s boyfriend at the time. The man—who is not her current husband—was convicted of the boy’s murder and is serving a life sentence.

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prenuptial agreement, Kane County family law attorneyIt is hardly uncommon for a couple who is about to get married to spend weeks and months planning a perfect wedding day. Music, flowers, decorations, dresses, food, and dozens of other considerations are often set months in advance. Too often, however, that same couple will spend considerably less time and energy preparing for the marriage itself. Even partners who decide that a prenuptial agreement is appropriate for their situation often wait too long and are then forced to rush one spouse or the other into signing the agreement. Such pressure is not only unhealthy but can also lead to future problems in enforcing the agreement should the need ever arise.

Serious Decisions

Marriage, in the eyes of the law, is a legally binding contract between two consenting individuals that affords each party certain rights and responsibilities. A prenuptial agreement is very similar, in that it represents a contract between two parties, outlining property rights and other considerations to become effective in the event of a divorce or another designated precipitating event, such as infidelity or the death of one party. As such, a binding contract deserves careful consideration, not just casual approval of its terms.

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cohabitation, Kane County family law attorneyWhile sociologists and relationship experts may debate the root causes, there is little question that more and more couples are delaying marriage in favor of a cohabitation arrangement. In some cases, couples are giving up on marriage entirely. For many couples, moving in together is seen as a first step or a “trial” marriage without the legal commitment; for others, it is a much more permanent situation, with a wedding in the “sometime in the future,” if ever, category. But, what happens when a cohabitating couple breaks up? In some cases, a “divorce” can be even more painful and financially devastating for those who never even got married.

Avoid the Unspoken Understandings

When you move in with your romantic partner, the two of you may have laid out some of your expectations for your relationship. Too often, however, things get left out and go unaddressed for years. For example, you may assume that your partner will automatically take over your personal effects in the event of your death. Without taking action, such may not actually be the case. Similarly, you may be living solely on your partner’s income. If you were to split, would he or she help you financially until you could get back on your feet?

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prenuptial agreement, Kane County family law attorneyOwning a business can be an extremely satisfying and profitable venture. It can also be a tremendous amount of work, often requiring years of dedicated effort before you begin to the see the financial fruits of your labor. If you own a successful company, you should be very proud. Like most business owners, you have probably taken a number of steps to protect your business: you most likely have insurance policies and financial reserves in case of an emergency. However, you may also want to consider protecting your company against the possibility of divorce, especially if you are planning to get married after the business is already established. A prenuptial agreement can provide the security you need and the peace of mind you deserve.

Complex Property Laws

Illinois law regarding the division of property in a divorce seems relatively simple. Any property acquired by either spouse during the course of the marriage is considered marital property, with very limited exceptions for gifts and inheritances. Assets that were acquired before the marriage are not marital property and, therefore, are not subject to division should the spouses divorce. Business ownership, though, tends to blur the line between marital and non-marital property.

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budget, Kane County family lawyersOn July 1, 2016, the 2017 fiscal year will begin. The problem for Illinois, however, is that the state has been operating without a budget since the 2016 fiscal year began a year ago. This means that Illinois has been struggling to cover shortfalls and budget gaps as lawmakers continue to spend more than the state is generating in revenues. The state legislature and the governor have been unable to reach an agreement on last year’s budget, and now it is time to look at this year’s, which does not sound very promising. The sting of the budget impasse has been felt by agencies and groups throughout the state, but now, those who rely on the state’s help for collecting child support could be in trouble. Cuts and layoffs in several counties mean that enforcement efforts are likely to be severely hampered.

Cook County Layoffs

Recent negotiations regarding the 2017 budget promised to restore some expected funding to the child support program in Cook County, but it appears that people will still be losing their jobs. According to reports, Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez has laid off 90 individuals who work in the county’s child support program helping parents and children get the support they are supposed to receive. Cook County has filed suit against the state trying to force payment of about $6 million in funding, which would be supplemented by contributions from a federal agency.

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