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Wakenight & Associates, P.C.

9405 Bormet Drive, Suite 7, Mokena, IL 60448

Mokena | 815-727-6144

DuPage County | 630-852-9700   Oak Park | 708-848-3159

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Will County divorce lawyerOne of the hardest decisions you may have to make in your life is deciding whether or not you should stay in a married relationship that is no longer working for the sake of your children. This type of decision does not come easily and should not be taken lightly. It can take months or even years to finally feel comfortable enough to act on your decision once you have made it.

Many people believe that a divorce is the worst thing that could happen to a family that has children. While a divorce does indeed have negative effects on children, those effects are usually short-term and can be mitigated if a divorce is smooth and minimally stressful. Studies have shown that staying with your spouse when you do not love each other anymore can actually be more detrimental to children than divorce. Here are a few ways in which staying together for the kids can cause more harm than good:

1. An Unhappy Home Can Lead to Low Self-Esteem

Studies have shown that children living in an unhappy household tend to have lower levels of self-esteem. This is because children absorb everything that they experience and can feel the unhappiness between parents. Often, this manifests as feelings of rejection and unworthiness in children, which can follow them into their adult life.

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Orland Park adoption lawyer

Adoption is a great way to help a child and bring them into your family. Whether you are a same-sex couple, a couple who is unable to have children, or an unmarried individual who wants a child, adoption is a viable option. Adoption can prove to be a challenging and time-consuming process because of all of the legal hurdles you face. One element of the adoption process that can be difficult is gaining proper consent so you can finalize the adoption. Gaining consent means the appropriate parties have agreed to give all rights and responsibilities related to the child to the new adoptive parents.

Who is Required to Consent in Adoption?

If the birth mother and biological father still have parental rights and legal custody of the child, both the mother and the father (if paternity has been established) are required to consent to the adoption. If the child is no longer in the legal custody of the parents, then consent can be given by:

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Mokena family law attorney child paternityThe only time the legal father of a child is presumed in Illinois is when the mother is married when the child is born or within 300 days before the child is born. In these cases, the man the mother was married to is presumed to be the legal father of the child. If the mother was unmarried at the time the child was born or within 300 days before the child was born, then it is her responsibility to establish the paternity of the child. Paternity can be established through a couple of different ways, but it is essential that it is done, especially if the mother is attempting to seek child support from the child’s father. Paternity cases can be confusing, which is why getting legal help is advised in these situations.

Ways of Establishing Paternity

If your child’s paternity is not automatically presumed, then you must go about establishing your child’s paternity through alternate means. There are two other ways you can determine your child’s paternity: through the use of a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity form or by actions taken by a state child support agency or a judge. The easiest way to establish your child’s paternity is to fill out and sign the Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity form while you are at the hospital and have your child’s father do the same.

If your child’s father is unwilling to sign the Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity form, you may have to enlist the help of the courts or Illinois Child Support Services. Either of these processes will require you, your child, and the alleged father to submit to genetic testing before an Order of Paternity can be established.

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Mokena child relocation attorneyWhen you are a parent, almost everything you do is to make sure your child is happy and healthy. Your child’s best interests are at the top of your list of priorities. Sometimes, doing the best thing for your child may include a relocation, which can be difficult to navigate, since it may require changes to child custody arrangements. In the state of Illinois, it is generally understood that a child flourishes better when both parents are active and involved in the child’s life. Because of this, a relocation with your child must be approved by both your child’s other parent and the courts. Even if your child’s other parent objects to the relocation, you can still petition to relocate with your child as long as you can demonstrate that the move would benefit the child.

Starting the Relocation Process

Before you take your issue to the courts, you may want to address it between you and the child’s other parent first. You should provide the other parent with notice regarding your intended move, and you must then file a notice of relocation with the clerk of the circuit court, and the other parent must sign that notice and file the signed copy. The notice of relocation should be filed at least 60 days before your intended relocation and should include your date of relocation and your new address. If the other parent objects to the relocation, or if you cannot come to an agreement about an updated parenting plan, then you will have to petition the court to allow the relocation. 

How Relocation Decisions Are Made

In all cases involving children, courts make decisions based on what would be in the child’s best interests. Factors that judges consider when making decisions about relocations include:

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Mokena paternity attorneyThe number of babies being born in the United States to unmarried mothers is currently at an all-time high. In 1960, the percentage of babies born to unwed mothers was only five percent. In 2016, around 40 percent of all American children were born to unmarried mothers, and that statistic has remained steady in recent years. With the increased number of children being born to mothers who are not married, there is also an increased number of cases in which parents are seeking to legally establish the paternity of these children. In Illinois, paternity laws can be somewhat complex, and the process can be confusing, but establishing two legal parents for your child is worthwhile.

Benefits of Establishing Paternity

It is now widely understood that children benefit from both parents playing active roles in their lives. While it is not untrue that a child’s father can be involved in his or her life without actually being considered the legal father, legal paternity can help. Legally establishing paternity can benefit your child by:

  • Ensuring your child has a legal right to a relationship with his or her father and the father’s side of the family;
  • Having the father’s name on your child’s birth certificate;
  • Making sure your child’s father has legal rights to the child if something happens to you that makes you unable to care for your child;
  • Allowing your child to be added to the father’s health insurance plan;
  • Making sure your child has access to his or her father’s medical records; and
  • Ensuring your child is able to receive his or her father’s Social Security benefits, pension, veteran’s benefits, and/or inheritance if the father passes away.

Ways to Establish Paternity in Illinois

The easiest way to establish the paternity of your child in Illinois is by having both parents fill out and sign a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (VAP) at the hospital when your child is born. When you fill out information for the child’s birth certificate, you can ask hospital staff for a VAP and complete it then, or you can take the form home, complete it, and mail it to the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services.

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  • DuPage County Bar Association
  • Lake County Bar Association
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