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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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Posted on in Family Law

Elgin, IL Child Support Attorney

Illinois now uses the income shares model to determine child support. Income shares uses a formula that takes into account both parents’ incomes, the number of children in the family and parenting time with the child/ren. Child support set by incomes shares is based on the typical cost of raising a child or children in a family with the same combined income and same number of children. The amount families spend raising their child/ren was determined by an independent statistical study.

Unlike the previous statute, child support is now directly linked to parenting time. While this is great in many ways as it accounts for parties with a more shared parenting schedule  – it can also result in more litigation. Parents used to litigate over who was the primary residential parent (or recipient of child support), now parents litigate over the exact amount of days they have during a year with their children. But with any law, there are always pros and cons.

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Kendall County family law attorney legal separation

Many couples decide to separate before they fully commit to a divorce. However, simply moving out of one's shared household is not enough to make a separation official. In many cases, couples in Illinois will want to take steps to protect their rights by filing for a legal separation. This will allow them to consider many of the issues that will be addressed during divorce, such as the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time, spousal support, and property division, but they will continue to be legally married after the separation. Although this may sometimes be the first step on the road to divorce, some partners will decide to remain separated rather than get divorced due to the financial benefits a legal separation can offer them and their children.

Can a Legal Separation Save Me Money?

One of the main reasons why couples will decide to remain separated rather than divorced is the financial benefits that come along with remaining legally married. Reaping the benefits while separated may not be a long-term plan, but it can help you save up for a divorce in the future if you do not have the funds at the moment. Here are a few advantages to obtaining a legal separation instead of a divorce:

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