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DuPage County family law attorneysIn Illinois, divorcing parents who wish to share parental responsibilities and parenting time of their children must draft a document called a Parental Allocation Agreement or parenting plan. This agreement describes the official allocation of parental responsibilities, formerly called custody, and parenting time, formerly called visitation, between the two parents.

Typically, parenting agreements also contain information about how the child will be raised, how major decisions about the child’s life will be made, and provisions regarding any future proposed changes to the shared parenting arrangement. All Illinois parenting agreements must include a provision describing how “the right of first refusal” will apply to the parents. Read on to learn about this important provision as well as how the right of first refusal can affect the way you share parenting time of your child after an Illinois divorce.

Maximizing Each Parent’s Parenting Time

Except for in cases involving child abuse or other special circumstances, Illinois courts encourage parents to spend as much time with their children as possible. Many studies show that children are healthier and happier when both of their parents are actively involved in their life. In order to help parents maximize their parenting time in situations involving divorced or unmarried parents, Illinois parenting agreements include a provision called the right of first refusal. This provision states that when a parent cannot fulfill his or her parenting time obligation, they must contact the other parent to see if the other parent wishes to have the child stay with them.

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Wheaton family law attorneyIn Illinois, when a married couple has a baby, the husband of the woman who gave birth to the child is presumed to be the father of that child. However, when an unmarried couple has a child together, this presumption is not made. The process through which an unmarried father becomes the legal parent of a child is called “establishing paternity” or establishing parentage. If you wish to establish paternity of your child in Illinois, read on to learn how.

Benefits of Establishing Paternity

There are a multitude of benefits to establishing paternity. A father who has become the legal parent of his child gains the right to pursue parenting time, or visitation, with the child and develop a loving parent-child relationship. In some situations, the father may also be able to obtain legal custody or parental responsibilities of the child. While courts rarely take custody or parental responsibilities away from an established parent unless that parent has shown to be abusive, neglectful, or otherwise unfit to parent, a legal father could start by asking for a share of the parenting responsibilities.

Establishing paternity also ensures that the father is the first point of contact for the child if a tragedy occurred, such as the mother’s death or serious accident. Fathers who are established as the legal parent of their child are usually obligated to pay child support. If an unmarried mother wishes to pursue child support from the child’s father, he must be formally established as the child’s legal parent first.

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Wheaton divorce lawyersDespite the romantic notion of “love at first sight,” a happy, healthy relationship does not develop overnight. It takes years of love and commitment by both partners. Likewise, very few marriages and long-term relationships fall apart all at once. Instead, in most cases, the partners begin growing apart over time as the health of the marriage deteriorates. In some situations, there may be a precipitating event—such as an episode of infidelity—that leads to a divorce, but, according to relationship experts, a struggling marriage is likely to be the result of much less dramatic, but just as serious, interpersonal issues.

Marriage and family therapists have a fairly good grasp of the problems facing unhappy couples. Some of the most common issues that ultimately lead to the breakdown of a marriage include:

Dying Curiosity

When you first dated your spouse, every conversation was exciting. You could hardly wait to learn more about him or her, what things they liked and did not like, and who they were as a person. As time goes on, couples begin to get bored, and each partner may feel like they are losing their unique identity. Experts suggest continuing to ask questions and to explore one another’s feelings and perspectives, no matter how long you have been together.

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DuPage County family law attorneyAllegations of child abuse, both real and imagined, are sadly common in many divorce cases, as emotions run high and dirty laundry may be aired. If you lodge accusations of child abuse or domestic abuse as a part of your divorce proceeding, you must be able to back them up with evidence and be ready to take on the parental responsibilities that may come your way.

Interacting With DCFS

In Illinois, the Department of Children & Family Services (DCFS) is required by law to investigate any accusation of child abuse, regardless of its source. Even if you know at the outset that the accusation is spurious, DCFS has a legal mandate to investigate, and the law must be followed. While it is understandable that you might be offended or angry at the insinuation that you would act in a negative manner toward your children, DCFS officers might take such behavior as defensiveness. This is not to say that DCFS personnel will never make unreasonable requests. If you feel that a request or order is unrealistic or inappropriate, it is generally best to consult with your attorney.

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Wheaton family law attorney, absent spouse, divorceAn issue occasionally encountered in divorce is that a spouse will simply walk out, disappear or otherwise not cooperate or participate in the divorce proceedings. Hence, this can lead to issues obtaining a divorce decree. If your spouse cannot be located or contacted, it can be a little more difficult to obtain your divorce. Consulting an experienced family law attorney is advised.

Divorce by Publication

Divorce by publication is the process during which you place your notice of divorce in the newspaper or other publications that serve the area where your spouse was last known to reside. Once the court grants permission, you may then place the notice in the relevant publication for a specific period of weeks.

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From our law office in Wheaton, IL the family law and civil litigation law attorneys of Mirabella, Kincaid, Frederick and Mirabella, represent businesses and individual clients throughout the western suburbs of Chicago, Illinois including Wheaton, Naperville, Oak Brook, Glen Ellyn, Carol Stream, Lombard, Downers Grove, Burr Ridge, Lisle, Elmhurst, Oakbrook Terrace, Winfield, Woodridge, Warrenville and throughout DuPage, Kane and Kendall Counties.

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In honor of the passing of our founder, Joseph F. Mirabella, Jr., our offices are closed Friday, January 31, 2020.I Agree