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Rockford IL Family Law Blog

Establishing paternity with DNA testing

When Illinois couples who are unmarried have babies, parentage may later have to be determined if the couples break up and there are custody and child support disputes. An unmarried man is not automatically presumed to be the father of a baby. Instead, his paternity must be legally established for child support to be ordered or for the man to gain custody or visitation rights.

One of the ways that paternity may be established by the courts is DNA testing. Either the mother or the alleged father may file a petition with the court asking for DNA testing. The court may then issue an order for both the alleged father and the child to submit DNA samples for testing. The samples are normally taken by using cotton swabs to wipe the insides of the cheeks. If the DNA tests come back positive, the man will be found to be the legal father. Child support may then be ordered, and the father can seek to establish his parental rights.

Advantages and disadvantages of divorce mediation

When Illinois couples decide to end an a marriage, it launches a whole process that requires more decisions. Mediation could come up as an alternative to litigation that exposes people to arbitrary court decisions. Mediation brings the estranged spouses together so that they can be heard and negotiate the terms of a divorce settlement. For appropriate candidates, the process could save money on court costs and reduce the adversarial nature of litigation. The benefits do not always emerge, however, and the process might not be a good fit for everyone.

In the experience of one family law attorney, mediation works well when both parties want good outcomes for each other. The two people need to display a willingness to listen to each other. A person considering mediation also needs the ability to advocate for his or her self interest. Someone unable to stand up for important personal issues might give in to demands too easily. A victim of domestic abuse is generally not viewed as a good candidate for these reasons.

Closing a joint bank account in a divorce

Closing a joint bank account is one of the many tasks an Illinois couple may have to undertake if they decide to get a divorce. It is best to close the account together if possible to avoid any misunderstandings although it may not be necessary to have both parties present. People should take a photo identification and prepare to fill out some paperwork in order to close the account.

Any automatic payments made from the account need to be cancelled before the account is closed. People should also make sure that any deposits have cleared through the account. Ideally, the assets in the account should be divided before closing the account. A couple may be able to agree about how they will divide their assets or it might be necessary to go to court. In court, a judge will decide which assets are considered shared marital assets that need to be divided, and the joint bank account may be included among those along with income and other assets acquired during the marriage.

About child support calculators

Illinois parents who have young children and who are contemplating a divorce may question how much child support a non-custodial parent is supposed to pay. Child support calculators found online may offer an estimated amount that is far different from what a judge may order, as they are not as precise as many people may think.

A child support calculator may be one of the online tools a state may provide so that parents can use their financial information to estimate their child support payments. The information the calculator may request may include the monthly incomes of both parents, the amount of time the child spends with each parent and any type of benefits or tax credits the parents may receive.

Divorces delayed by health care uncertainty

Some Illinois couples may be postponing their divorces because of uncertainty about health care. It is not yet clear how health care may change and whether people will still be able to access it after they divorce. In 2012, prior to the full implementation of the Affordable Care Act, one study reported that about 115,000 women lost private health care after divorce. While the Senate voted on July 28 to not repeal the Affordable Care Act, it is still uncertain what changes might be ahead regarding health insurance.

Some couples who postponed their divorce created a postnuptial agreement to separate property. Others completed divorce paperwork but did not file it. A legal separation is no longer an option as it once was since most companies do not cover separated non-employee spouses.

Career stress and divorce rates

Some Illinois couples who are in the military might be more likely to get a divorce than people in other professions. Some of the stresses that a military career might involve include time away from one another, frequent moves and psychological stress. Among Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, 20 percent report depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Zippia, a career website, ranked divorce rates by the age of 30 according to profession based on data from the census bureau. It found the highest rates among first-line enlisted military supervisors. Other professions with higher divorce rates included automotive service technicians, logisticians and mechanics. However, two more military positions, air weapons and tactical operations, were included in the top 10. Furthermore, people with military jobs overall were more likely to be divorced by the age of 30 compared to people in other professions. Dentists and speech language pathologists were among the professions with the lowest divorce rates.

Common divorce misconceptions

Divorcing couples in Illinois and around the country sometimes make ill-advised decisions because they received poor advice or believed something to be true that was not. There are a number of common misconceptions about divorce, and people may be wise to check the accuracy of their information carefully before making important decisions.

It is commonly believed that child support is established by state guidelines that are rigidly enforced, but family law judges may disregard these rules if they believe that applying them strictly will lead to an unjust outcome. Adulterous spouses may be surprised to learn that no-fault divorce laws, which allow couples to end their marriages when no misconduct has occurred, may not be enough to prevent evidence of their infidelity being used against them in court. Poor behavior still has consequences, and evidence of infidelity or abuse can weigh heavily when judges make spousal support decisions.

Can I keep the beach house in our divorce?

The beach house is your home away from home, and you might want to keep it in the divorce. However, with two people’s combined debts and all the financial figures being thrown around, you do not know if keeping the beach house is possible.

The good news is it may be. However, the situation might not be clear-cut and could require finesse, especially if your spouse wants the beach house as well. It can be a good idea to retain a lawyer if you have not already.

Child custody major concern for undocumented families

Child custody can be a concern for Illinois families in a wide array of situations. While many think of it as a divorce issue, in fact, questions can arise for a number of reasons unique to a particular family.

Amid growing concern and fear about detention and deportation, a number of legal clinics and volunteer lawyers have been working with undocumented people to draw up child custody paperwork in case they face detention or deportation. Many undocumented parents have children who are U.S. citizens and have lived all their lives in the United States. Immigrants fearing deportation are often concerned that their children could be thrown into the foster care system or taken by social services in case of their detention or deportation. These volunteer legal workers are helping them to instead prepare paperwork that gives custody to family members and friends with the right to stay in the United States in case of anything happening to the parents.

Joint custody increasingly preferred in family court

Illinois fathers of young children often dread divorce for many reasons. One is the fear that they may lose custody over and access to their children. There is a reason why so many unhappy marriages have stayed together ostensibly for the sake of the children, after all. However, there is an increasing preference by child development experts and even family courts for shared parenting and joint custody.

Shared parenting means that the parents have joint physical custody of their children and share approximately equal time with their children. It honors and respects the contributions of both parents to the child's life with equal parenting time and support for full and mutual involvement in a growing child's life. In countries around the world, shared parenting is widely recognized not only as the ideal outcome of co-parenting after divorce but as the standard default option for family courts. In the United States, the same is beginning to happen. Many states are considering legislation to mandate a preference for a joint custody default in family courts, and a few have enacted such laws.

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