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Category Archives: DuPage County Blog

Wheaton family law attorneysThere are two instances when child support is awarded to parents in Illinois: when parents get divorced or when unmarried parents have a child together. If you are an unmarried parent or soon will be, you may be wondering how you can receive support payments from your child’s other parent. If the child’s biological father has not been officially named the legal father of the child, you will have to establish parentage through the court before requesting child support.

How to Establish Paternity in Illinois

When a married couple has a baby, Illinois law assumes that the husband of the woman who gave birth to the child is the father. However, when an unmarried woman gives birth, there is no assumption of paternity. Parentage can be established through one of several ways. If neither party doubts the paternity of the child, the two parents can sign a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (VAP). This document allows the father to be named on the birth certificate but does not address issues of child support, parenting time, or allocation of parental responsibilities. Another method for establishing parentage is for either parent to file a Petition to Establish Parentage through the county court and participate in the subsequent proceedings. Lastly, parents may seek an Administrative Paternity Order to be established and entered by Healthcare and Family Services’ Child Support Services.

How Will Child Support Amounts Be Decided?

Once legal parentage is established, child support matters can be decided. Since July 1, 2017, Illinois courts have made child support decisions based on an "income shares" model. Under this model, each parent’s income in relation to the parents’ combined income is used to calculate a fair and reasonable child support amount. Factors such as healthcare, parenting time (visitation), and other elements may influence the final child support obligation, but the base child support obligation is mostly decided based on the combined net income of both parents. A parent who wishes to change a child support order must file a petition for modification of the child support order though the county court. Generally, only a major change in financial circumstances, employment, or disability will justify a modification to an established child support order.

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Illinois sexual harassment lawyerSexual harassment continues to be on the forefront of American minds. While some progress has been made to address workplace sexual harassment, there are still many industries plagued by sexual harassment. Employees who work in restaurants, hotels, and bars often experience the humiliation that comes with being sexually harassed. Patrons of these establishments may make crude and inappropriate remarks to employees. Perhaps even worse, many employees in the hospitality sector must also put up with this behavior from co-workers or superiors. Because of this, Illinois has proposed a bill that requires mandatory sexual harassment training for restaurant employees. The bill, called the Restaurant Anti-Harassment Act, if passed, will require all Illinois restaurants to provide sexual harassment prevention training to employees.

Requirements Under the Restaurant Anti-Harassment Act

Illinois is just one of many states which have proposed or enacted employee-protectionist legislation in recent years. In February of this year, Illinois Representative Ann M. Williams proposed the Restaurant Anti-Harassment Act in hopes that mandatory harassment prevention training could help mitigate the high incidence of sexual harassment in the restaurant industry. If passed, Illinois restaurant employees must be educated about certain issues related to sexual harassment and how they can help prevent sexual harassment in their own workplace. The topics to be discussed through this training would include:

  • The two types of sexual harassment recognized by law (hostile workplace harassment and quip pro quo harassment);
  • An explanation of what sexual harassment means and the negative effect workplace sexual harassment can have on victims, businesses, and perpetrators;
  • How to differentiate between appropriate and inappropriate conduct at work; and
  • How and when employees should report sexual harassment.

Supervisors and managers would be required to undergo additional training about:

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Wheaton family law attorneysWhen parents finally reach the realization that they can no longer be happily married, their first concern is often how the divorce will affect their children. Fortunately, research has shown that children of divorced parents can thrive and be just as successful and contented as children with married parents. However, telling children about an impending divorce can be a near-monumental task to undertake. If you and your spouse have children and plan to separate or divorce, telling the children about the split may be a challenging and emotional conversation. However, there are some steps you can take to make the conversation about divorce less traumatic for you and your children.

If Possible, Tell the Kids Together

If you and your spouse are able to do so civilly, telling the children together can help them feel more secure. Presenting a united front in this way helps indicate to your children that although you may not be married to on another anymore, you will still be their parents. Telling the children as a couple also helps the children feel less obligated to pick sides. Of course, telling your kids about the split together is not always possible. Couples with extreme resentment towards each other may struggle to put the children’s needs first during the conversation and may make the situation more emotionally volatile.

Make the Conversation Age Appropriate

If you and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse have several children together, you may be tempted to tell them about the divorce separately. Many experts suggest telling the children all at once instead of individually. Doing this reduces the chances that one child spreads misinformation to the others and adds unnecessary confusion. After the initial group discussion, you may want to follow up with each child independently. When discussing divorce with children under five, experts say that keeping the conversation simplistic and concrete is best. Focus on the vital information: where the child will live and who he or she will live with. School aged children can handle a bit more detail, but parents should be careful not to overshare. Teenaged children may be standoffish when learning about the divorce and act like they do not want to talk about their feelings. However, teens and preteens still need love and attention from parents just as younger children do. Give your teenaged child some time to cool off if he or she gets upset at the news and try to approach the topic later.

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Illinois sexual harassment attorneysSexual harassment can happen to anyone. Both men and women can be perpetrators and victims of unwanted sexual attention or remarks. Sexual harassment is a type of employment discrimination protected against by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. By law, employers must respond to and investigate allegations of sexual harassment thoroughly. This does not only apply to harassment which takes place in person. As online interactions, text messaging, email, and social media becomes more and more a part of our everyday life, more and more sexual harassment is occurring digitally. Everyone deserves to be free from sexual harassment at work.

Online Sexual Harassment Can Be Just as Destructive as In-Person Harassment

Traditionally, sexual harassment has consisted of inappropriate and demeaning remarks or behavior at work. However, as digital communication becomes more and more prevalent in workplaces, digital sexual harassment becomes more common. Digital sexual harassment can include sexually-charged or discriminating emails, text messages, forum threads, and social media posts. In Owens v. Morgan Stanley & Co., a New York district court ruled that unchecked offensive e-mail circulating within the workplace could constitute sexual harassment. However, a single inappropriate e-mail is not enough to establish a sexual harassment claim. In Strauss v. Microsoft Corp., the district court deemed jokes and sexual parodies e-mailed by a manager to employees, were evidence of sexual harassment.

What to Do if You Have Experienced Sexual Harassment

Everyone deserves to be treated with respect at work. If you have been a victim of sexual harassment at work, do not hesitate to take action. Your first step should be to start recording instances of harassment. Keeping a sexual harassment log is often the difference between winning a sexual harassment lawsuit and losing one. If you have not already done so, report the harassment according to the procedure outlined in your employee handbook. If your employer does not address the harassment, you may have a claim for compensation. If you reported sexual harassment or discrimination to your employer and were fired as a result, you may have a valid wrongful termination claim.

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Wheaton family law attorneysWhen parents get a divorce or were never married, they often wish to share custody of their children. Laws regarding child custody and visitation, officially called the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time, are outlined in Section 750 of the Illinois Compiled Statutes. A parent who wishes to share custody of a child must do so within the bounds of the court-ordered parental allocation judgment/agreement. Withholding parenting time from the other parent can potentially have severe consequences.

Custody Agreements Are Legally-Binding

Generally, divorced or unmarried parents have a allocation of Parental Allocation and Parenting Time Agreement that is submitted to a judge. After this agreement is approved, it becomes a legally-binding document. Parents who fail to follow the rules in the document can be considered to be in violation of the court order. Typically, one parent is designated as the parent with the majority of parenting time. Withholding parenting time from the other parent or not returning the child on schedule can result in legal consequences including contempt charges. When a parent refuses to comply with a Parental Allocation Judgment, there can be even more serious consequences. A parent who consistently does comply with the order or moves a child without notifying the other parent can have their parenting time restricted and even lose it.  

How to Address Problems with Parenting Time or Parental Responsibility

Never take family law matters into your own hands. Failure to comply with Parental Allocation Judgments can endanger your own parental rights. If major problems with a parenting plan or schedule arise, they must be addressed through the Illinois family court system.  The parent who feels the parenting time schedule has been compromised should always petition the court, preferably with the help of a family law attorney, to have the schedule enforced as it stands or petition the court to make changes to the parenting plan to better address their needs.

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St. Charles, IL 60174
630-665-7300
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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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