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St. Charles Family Law AttorneyMoving can be a hassle for anyone. For divorced parents seeking to relocate with children, moving can be an even bigger challenge. It is not as simple as packing up and heading for your new home. Depending on where you live now and where you plan on moving to, you may need to get consent from the other parent or the court - which could mean a hearing. 

If you are divorced and planning to relocate with your children, you should consult a qualified family law attorney first. Especially if a hearing is required, being represented by knowledgeable legal counsel can help the process move smoothly. 

What Do “Moving” and “Relocating” Mean?

Although the two terms are often used interchangeably, they do not mean the same thing in the context of Illinois family law. Depending on which county the child’s current home is in, you are only “relocating” if you are moving more than 25 or 50 miles from that location. Otherwise, you are “moving.” If you have more parenting time and an existing agreement, you do not need permission from the court or the other parent to move with the child. 

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St. Charles Paternity LawyerIt is not uncommon for parents to want to take the necessary steps to scientifically and legally establish the biological relationship they share with their children. Only when parentage (formerly called paternity) has been proven can a father assert his parental rights. There are a variety of ways to establish parentage in Illinois. All are equally effective, but some are easier than others. If paternity was not established at birth, you may want to seek the help of an attorney, who can guide you through the best way to establish legal parentage. 

What Are the Ways to Establish Paternity in Illinois?

Illinois courts typically believe that it is in a child’s best interest to have a relationship with both natural parents. Sometimes, however, it is not clear who the child’s legal father is. In that case, paternity must be established before parenting time can be allocated and a parenting plan can be made. In Illinois, you can establish paternity in these ways: 

  • Marriage - A child born to married parents is automatically legally the child of both, and no further steps need to be taken to prove parentage unless a dispute arises. This holds true even for same-sex couples. 

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kane county child support lawyerIn Illinois, just like every state in the country, there are laws that say that each parent has a duty of support owed to their child. This duty extends to providing for the “reasonable and necessary physical, mental and emotional health needs of the child.” The Illinois statute defines a child as one who is under 18 years of age and any child 19 years or younger who is still attending high school.

When a marriage, civil union, or relationship ends, or paternity has been established, the court has the authority to order one parent to pay the other parent child support. Which parent pays child support depends on how the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time is established (formerly referred to as child custody). Unfortunately, not all parents adhere to these child support orders and either fail to pay according to the ordered payment schedule or refuse to pay any support at all.

In these circumstances, what are the legal options for the parent who is not receiving child support payments?

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Batavia family law attorney prenuptial agreement

When you hear the word “prenuptial agreement” or “prenup” you are likely picturing high-dollar celebrity divorces that you have seen splashed across the pages of magazines near the grocery store checkout line. In the past, prenups may have been reserved for the rich and famous, with the thought that the Hollywood industry would destroy their marriage and leave them with a hefty amount of combined assets to divide. This is one of many false ideations that continue to surround prenuptial agreements and drive couples away from signing one. In reality, prenuptial agreements have become commonplace over the past few decades as couples are deciding to get married at an older age with larger cumulative assets to bring to the table. With divorce statistics continuing to sit around 50 percent, it is important that couples are fully informed about prenuptial agreements and consider their legal options before saying, “I do.”

Prenuptial Agreements Are Only for the Wealthy

As described above, many still believe that prenups are reserved for the rich and famous. In today’s world, this is far from the truth for a number of reasons. Because couples in the past got married at a much younger age, many of these individuals came into their marriages with hardly any savings or assets. Now that many couples are waiting to tie the knot at a more mature age, they are bringing significantly more debts and assets into the marriage than ever before. Signing a prenuptial agreement is a way to protect both yourself from losing your lifelong savings and your spouse from being saddled with your debt in the instance of divorce. Another reason that divorce rates have risen, and thus the need for a valid prenuptial agreement, is an increase in gender equality. In the past, when women lacked the social ability to earn a liveable wage and support themselves independently, divorce was not a valid option. Now that society has modernized and equality between men and women in the workplace has improved, women are more able and willing to file for divorce if necessary. This increased possibility for divorce is yet another reason why prenups have become more common.

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Geneva family law attorney paternity

Legally recognizing your child’s father is important to everyone involved. The father deserves to know that he has a child, the child has a right to know his or her father, and the mother is warranted financial support that the father can provide her. The process of legally recognizing who is your child’s biological father is known as establishing paternity. In some cases, it can be difficult for a single mother to want to legally recognize paternity since it can also give the father parental rights. However, the financial benefits that the child is owed from his or her father can often outweigh this concern. For men who mothers believe may be the alleged father of their child can also be wary of finding out their biological connection to this child. Luckily, there are a few ways that one can prove paternity, and even if the man does not want to cooperate with your requests, you can enforce your petition to establish paternity.

Ways to Prove Paternity

There are three ways that a person can prove paternity according to Illinois law. The easiest, most common way to prove paternity is through a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity (VAP). If both the mother and alleged father recognize that he is the child’s biological father, both parents can complete and sign a VAP form witnessed and filed with the Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS). 

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