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DuPage County Marital Agreement LawyerGetting a prenuptial agreement does not mean that you are preparing for divorce–far from it. Couples who are able to successfully negotiate a prenuptial agreement show excellent communication and compromise skills, which are both indicative of a strong couple. Prenuptial agreements can actually cover more than just divorce terms, and can also help couples who do make it until death do they part. However, there is always a chance that you will one day decide to split up, in which case your prenuptial agreement can protect both of you. There are also legal safeguards in place to prevent a drastically unfair agreement from being enforced, so the risk level might be lower than you think. It is always a good idea to be represented by your own attorney while entering a prenuptial agreement. 

Why Should Every Couple Have a Prenuptial Agreement?

Having a prenuptial agreement in place can be extremely helpful in the event that you do get divorced, but the reasons you need one are not limited to the agreement’s helpfulness in divorce. Reasons you might want a prenuptial agreement include: 

  • Financial clarity - During the process of negotiating a prenuptial agreement, both of your complete financial situations will come to light. This can help you enter your marriage with full knowledge of each other’s finances. 


Is My Child Legally My Child?

Posted on March 24, 2022 in Paternity

DuPage County Paternity LawyerIt is simple fact that every child has a biological mother and a biological father. Whether the child was conceived through assisted reproductive technology like surrogacy, adopted, or conceived naturally, there are two biological parents. However, being a biological parent does not mean that you are your child’s legal parent as well–nor does being a child’s legal parent mean that you must be a biological parent. Parentage issues can be quite complicated, but establishing parentage may or may not be. Illinois is a rather progressive state when it comes to parentage issues. If you have concerns about establishing that you are your child’s legal parent, a family law attorney may be able to help. 

Why is Legal Parentage Important?

Legal parentage opens up a lot of doors both for the parents and for the child. A second legal parent must be established before the custodial parent can pursue child support. A person must be legally established as a child’s parent before they can pursue any type of joint custody arrangement that allows them to spend time with the child. 

Even for couples who are happily raising a child together, making sure that both are established as the child’s legal parents is the wise thing to do. Should the couple ever split, the non-established parent may have a very difficult time getting a court order that allows them to continue acting as a parent. 


DuPage County High-Asset Divorce LawyerDivorce can be difficult and complicated for anyone. Even for spouses who do not share many assets, there can still be quite a lot of conflict during a divorce. However, if you and your spouse–or one of you alone–hold assets of significant value, the road to a final divorce decree can be even rockier. Dividing your assets is likely to be the most time-consuming and legally difficult part of your divorce. Even sorting out who actually owns what can be difficult if your marriage lasted more than a few years. You may endure more conflict throughout. It is critical that you find an attorney who is experienced with guiding people through high-asset divorce. This kind of divorce takes skill. 

What Concerns May Arise During High-Asset Divorce?

Dividing your marital assets will naturally be more difficult the more assets you own. Some assets, like stock portfolios, real estate holdings, and joint businesses, are difficult to divide. Concerns you should be aware of include:

  • Litigation likely - High-asset spouses are much more likely to litigate their divorce issues. One of the big reasons many couples try to avoid divorce litigation is that it can get expensive, making it not quite worth it. When you and your spouse have high-value assets, the value of the property at stake may far exceed the cost of litigation. This may make litigation seem worth it if you are not able to come to a reasonable agreement. 


Naperville Family Law AttorneyWhen mediation works, it can be a great solution during a divorce. It costs less than litigation, and it often gets you a final divorce decree much faster so you can move on with your life. However, mediation requires a certain amount of cooperation from both parties. That means that mediation is not going to work for every divorcing couple. Some spouses refuse to participate in good faith or to make reasonable concessions. Attorney-facilitated negotiation can fail for the same reasons. If you suspect that your spouse will not work with you during the divorce process, it is particularly important that you find an attorney with strong courtroom skills, as the odds that your divorce will be contested are high. 

Signs That Your Divorce May End in Litigation

Any one of these factors alone can potentially result in a contested divorce. If you identify with multiple factors, it may be a good idea to start mentally preparing yourself for divorce litigation. 

Warning signs that you may need to settle your divorce in the courtroom include: 


DuPage County Divorce LawyerThe worst nightmare of many people comes true when their spouse unexpectedly asks for a divorce. Sometimes the marriage may not be going well, but reconciliation seems likely; other times, the announcement comes completely out of the blue. It can be frightening and difficult to know what to do, and the idea of hiring a divorce attorney may seem painful and unnecessary. 

But if you have been surprised by a request for a divorce, it is important to take your spouse seriously and not put off taking practical actions. You may eventually be able to change your spouse’s mind, but if you cannot, you may put yourself at a serious disadvantage by waiting to find a divorce attorney. 

Assess the Situation Realistically 

Studies suggest that divorces can be more traumatic for many people than the death of a spouse, especially when one spouse does not want the divorce to happen. Other studies suggest that people who get divorced are often not happier later, and many regret it. But while all these things may be true, if your spouse has made up his or her mind, you need to be able to look at the situation honestly. 


Naperville Family Law AttorneyCouples engaged to be married in DuPage County may choose not to create a prenuptial agreement for several reasons. They may feel that such an agreement detracts from their commitment, or they may believe they do not have sufficient assets to justify the time and expense required to create such a contract. However, once a couple has gotten married, the benefits of a similar contract - the postnuptial agreement - may become clear. Creating a postnup does not mean you plan to get divorced; rather, it allows spouses to protect each other if a divorce does happen. Couples create postnups for many reasons, but knowing the most common reasons may help you decide whether you want to create your own. 

Common Reasons For Creating a Postnuptial Agreement

A postnup can address many of the same topics as a prenup and is bound by similar limitations. For example, a couple cannot decide how to handle child support or child custody in their postnup, but they may address other issues that usually have to do with finances. Here are some common reasons couples decide to sign a postnup in Illinois: 

  • Marital problems - Most couples get into serious arguments and question the longevity of their relationship at some point. For some spouses, however, the disagreements are serious enough to warrant a major renegotiation of the entire relationship. This may mean that a continued relationship is contingent on certain conditions being met, including a commitment to pay alimony, or to split assets or debts in certain ways in the event of a divorce. 


DuPage County Divorce LawyerAlthough some people choose to continue living in the same house with their ex-partner or try the “birds nest” living arrangement after a divorce, couples getting divorced in Illinois nearly always relocate. Whether to be closer to family, to pursue a new job, or to try to start fresh after a painful separation, relocation with a child following divorce is common enough that some parents choose to include special provisions for relocation in the parenting plan in their divorce agreement. While Illinois laws concerning child relocation still apply, parents can agree to stricter or more personalized details in their parenting plan

Know Illinois Child Relocation Law

While parents may agree to give each other more time than necessary to consent to or negotiate over a potential relocation, it is important to know how Illinois family law sees this issue. If a parent has majority parenting time or splits parenting time 50/50, that parent requires permission from the other parent or from the court to move under the following circumstances: 

  • If the parent who wishes to move lives in Will, McHenry, Lake, Kane, DuPage, or Cook County and wants to move within Illinois but further than 25 miles from where they currently live


Naperville Parenting Time LawyerSince Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker signed the Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act into law in 2019, many Hoosiers have used recreational marijuana. Marijuana is widely available and some people who use it find themselves struggling to regulate their use. Likewise, although alcohol is legal, people who drink sometimes struggle with how often or how much they drink. Prescription drugs can also be misused or present a hazard when used in conjunction with important responsibilities, like driving a car or providing childcare. While the use of these intoxicants is not illegal, certain behaviors–such as drinking and driving–can get a user in serious trouble with the law. Additionally, using legal substances inappropriately may have an impact on your ability to get or keep parenting time with your children.

Can Marijuana or Alcohol Use Be Used Against Me in Family Court?

While marijuana or alcohol use in and of itself cannot be a reason for a court to restrict a parent’s access to his or her child, using legal substances in a way that might harm the child’s physical, mental, or emotional development and health can be. While this includes driving under the influence, it also includes other concerning behaviors. These include:

  • Being under the influence during parenting time


shutterstock_444637333.jpgAfter a couple’s last child moves out of the family home, the couple will often experience something known as an “empty nest syndrome.” While many parents frequently look forward to the day that they will reclaim some of their time and their space without the challenges of raising young children, the same parents are often surprised by how blue they feel once their children are actually gone. 

Without the demands of young children requiring their constant focus, many spouses begin reflecting on their lives from a new perspective. With a better understanding of the time that has passed and the time that remains to them, empty nesters will often reassess their career, their location, and even their relationship. If you are a recent empty nester, know that you are not alone. Knowing why other Illinois couples choose to get divorced during this time may help you create a plan for your own future. 

Concerns About Underage Children Keep Many Couples Together

Even if a relationship is not ideal, many couples stay together because the thought of getting divorced with young children is a major headache. Not only does it introduce factors like complicated parenting time schedules and child support payments, but spouses who are divorced must also continue dealing with each other vis a vis their children. Many couples reach the end of their child-rearing years and see divorce as a far less complex option than it was in the past. 


naperville alimony lawyerWhen large discrepancies in income exist between former spouses, or when one spouse gave up significant employment opportunities to raise children or care for a home, spousal maintenance may be awarded. Not every Illinois divorce involves spousal maintenance (also known as alimony or spousal support), but when it is fair and appropriate, spousal maintenance must be negotiated. But how much is fair? And how are amounts and the length of payments determined? Here are three factors to consider if you are negotiating spousal maintenance in your Illinois divorce. 

What Was the Marital Standard of Living? 

Spousal maintenance is not determined simply by how much money one spouse strictly needs until he or she becomes financially independent. If spouses shared a high standard of living, then both spouses will want to continue that lifestyle after their divorce. Illinois courts would consider it unfair that, after enjoying a certain standard of living for many years, one spouse suddenly becomes much poorer while the other spouse continues the same lifestyle as they enjoyed during the marriage - especially when there are children involved. 

What, If Any, Career Sacrifices Were Made? 

Many spouses will give up aggressively pursuing an education or career in favor of raising children and caring for a home. Illinois courts respect the work involved in raising children and want to ensure that a stay-at-home parent is not financially punished in a divorce. However, there is usually a limit to how long spousal maintenance payments last. Unless a couple was married for decades, there is a formula for helping spouses determine how long maintenance payments will last while the receiving spouse gets back up on his or her feet financially. 


shutterstock_1134923861.jpg Divorced and separated parents frequently disagree about child support. The parent who is ordered to pay often feels as though the money is not being used correctly, and the receiving parent often feels as though the payments are insufficient to meet the child’s needs. Sometimes a parent will fail to pay child support because he or she feels the amount is unfair or because it seems impossible to afford it. 

But no matter the reason, Illinois takes failure to pay child support seriously. Unpaid child support places the full financial burden of raising a child on one parent and reduces the child’s standard of living through no fault of the child. If you are a parent who should be receiving child support and your child’s other parent refuses to pay, it is important to try every method possible to enforce your child support order. An experienced DuPage County child support attorney may be able to help you recover unpaid child support more quickly. 

Try Communicating First

Before taking the issue to court, try to resolve the problem with your child’s other parent. Reasonable people can sometimes explain why they missed their payments, as well as any plans to make them up. But if they fail to respond or are uncooperative, it may be time to take legal action. 


shutterstock_171259886.jpgFor most divorced parents, child support payments end once their youngest son or daughter turns 18. But for some parents, child support can last many years longer, if not an entire lifetime. If you are paying child support, here are three things to be aware of that could make child support last much longer. 

High School Graduation 

If a child is still in high school when he or she turns 18, child support payments will continue until the child graduates from high school and turns 19. This ensures that one parent is not left paying for all of a child’s educational and housing needs when he or she is still essentially functioning as a minor child. Many child support orders include termination dates, but circumstances can change and parents may need to request a court-ordered modification that includes a termination date. Failure to pay child support is a serious offense in Illinois and it is unwise to assume child support is ending unless you have a confirmed termination date. 

College Expenses

Illinois child support law is unique in that it can require divorced parents (but not married parents) to pay for their child’s college expenses as they earn an undergraduate degree. The cost of college is estimated using tuition and fees from the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana campus, so even if a child attends a private or out-of-state college, parents will not have to pay more than the cost of UICU. However, parents can be made to pay for books, tuition, and living expenses. 


napervile divorce lawyerAttorneys are one of the most frequently criticized groups of professionals in the world. Jokes about attorneys exist in every culture, and there are many stereotypes regarding attorneys, their supposed characteristics, and alleged shortcomings. Working as an attorney is a difficult job, in large part because, contrary to popular belief, attorneys do care about the well-being of their clients and want their cases to succeed. If you are getting divorced, petitioning for a parenting time modification, or hoping to adopt in Illinois, here are some tips for ensuring you have a great relationship with your lawyer.

Help Your Lawyer Build the Strongest Case Possible

Even if your attorney believes you are completely justified in pursuing your preferred outcome, no attorney has the power to snap their fingers and bend the law. Part of engaging with the law is understanding that it is complex, sometimes vague, and often feels unfair. Your attorney’s job is to represent you and pursue the best possible outcome with your case. You can help your attorney build the strongest case possible by being forthcoming about any information that may be relevant to the case. Gathering any financial documents, relevant paperwork, and evidence like text messages can also help your lawyer develop a powerful case. 

Avoid Antagonistic or Revenge-Seeking Behavior Against the Other Party 

Whether you are getting a divorce, petitioning for sole custody of your child, adopting your stepchild, or taking on any other family law matter, it is best to be as non-antagonistic as possible. Hostility toward the other party can make the situation even more difficult to manage for both you and your attorney. Hostile actions can even lead to orders of protection or other legal consequences in extreme cases. 


dupage county visitation lawyerThe relationship between a child and his or her father can be one of the strongest bonds a person ever experiences. Unfortunately, in the past, many unmarried fathers have experienced difficulty and frustration when trying to pursue a relationship with their child. For some fathers, these challenges continue even today - but most would agree that their relationship with their child is worth the fight it sometimes takes to get there. If you are a father in Illinois and you want to seek parental rights, including parenting time and allocation of parental responsibilities, read on. 

Establish Paternity

No father has a legal claim to spend time with a child with whom he does not have a legal relationship. Establishing paternity over your son or daughter is the most important first step in a lifetime of love and support. If your child’s mother rejects the possibility of your presence at birth and you cannot sign a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity, you may need to get a court-ordered declaration of parentage. You may need to submit to a DNA paternity test to confirm the biological relationship to the child and establish paternity. Once paternity is established, you can petition the court or parenting time and parental responsibilities.  

Show You Are Responsible 

Although it may seem unfair that a father has to prove his worthiness as a parent, it is important to act responsibly - even if the outcome seems unfair at the moment. It can take time to establish parental rights, which can be frustrating. However, a court is more likely to take your claims seriously if you always pay child support, demonstrate your home is a safe and nurturing place for a child to live, and show up to your court dates looking clean and organized. 


dupage county divorce lawyerDivorce is notoriously expensive, long, and difficult. Many couples delay what they know is an inevitable divorce because they have children, want to save money, or are simply not quite ready to make the final decision. But divorce professionals suggest that postponing divorce for some interminable future date may ultimately backfire. Rather than waiting for enough money or the children to reach a set age, experts suggest talking to your spouse openly and trying to create an amicable exit plan. 

Creating an Exit Strategy for Divorce

So you may not be ready to end the marriage - yet. But if you and your spouse already know such a separation is coming, and there are no pressing issues like domestic abuse or financial dissipation, you do not necessarily have to act with urgency. Rather than being reactive to an unpredictable process, you can create a plan for ending your marriage that leaves both spouses in a better place. Here are five steps you can take: 

  • Map out a multi-year plan - Include financial goals, parenting goals, and perhaps even agree not to date or introduce any romantic complications into the picture. 


naperville divorce lawyer Prenuptial agreements can be excellent legal instruments for protecting newlyweds from the inevitable strife of divorce. Spouses-to-be can be flexible in addressing their needs, and a prenup can cover many things, from premarital property ownership to spousal maintenance. But though some spouses may want to sign their prenup and forget about it, for other spouses, it is better to consider the prenuptial agreement as a kind of living document that may change or be updated if necessary. Here are three common reasons couples in Illinois amend their prenuptial agreements. 

Spousal Maintenance 

If one spouse earns a substantially higher income than the other spouse, couples may wish to forego or proscribe spousal maintenance in a divorce. But if couples have been married for a long time and one couple suffers a job loss, serious illness, or, on the other hand, inherits a substantial sum of money, the balance of financial power may change. Spouses may wish to raise or lower the amount of spousal maintenance if one partner’s financial picture changes substantially. 

Children Enter the Picture

Although prenuptial agreements can never address child custody matters, spouses may wish to amend their prenup after a child is born. For example, one spouse may have owned a home before getting married, and the original prenup protects the spouse’s rights to ownership. However, once a child is born, that spouse may wish to change the prenup to state that the home’s value will be divided so that if the couple gets divorced, both parents can afford to have a decent place to live with their child. 


shutterstock_1921584095-min.jpgWhen an adult in Illinois is sufficiently disabled such that he or she is unable to make or communicate decisions about their care, living arrangements, and finances, legal guardianship may be necessary. Illinois law provides legal protection for its adult disabled citizens and Illinois has one of the most progressive guardianship laws in the US, with helpful procedures for appointing guardians and detailing the responsibilities of guardianship. 

Serving as a guardian for a disabled adult is a major responsibility. If you are considering becoming a guardian, it is important to understand what you can expect and what will be expected of you. 

Types of Guardianships

There are two basic types of guardianships in Illinois: Guardianship of the estate and guardianship of the person. Although these can be broken down into more specific categories, these two basic types offer a helpful umbrella for understanding the different responsibilities contained within each role.


naperville guardianship lawyerParents in Illinois who are struggling with a chronic or terminal illness may reach the point where they feel unable to care for their child properly. When this happens, or when a parent anticipates it will happen in the near future, he or she may decide to share their parental rights with someone who can better care for the child. 

A standby guardian is a person who willingly takes parental rights on behalf of a child’s custodial parent who is very sick, disabled, or deceased. Just as a parent would be, a standby guardian becomes responsible for caring for the child’s needs. If you are considering appointing or becoming a standby guardian, this blog may be helpful to you. 

Who Can I Appoint as a Standby Guardian? 

A parent can appoint anyone who is eligible to become a legal guardian in Illinois and who is willing to take on the parental rights and responsibilities for a child. Depending on the situation, a standby guardian may be the child’s other parent, a grandparent, the parent or child’s sibling (if over the age of 18), or even a good friend. 


shutterstock_1095300188-min.jpgParents getting divorced in Illinois frequently struggle to resolve issues related to the children. Determining child support, dividing parenting time, and allocating parental responsibilities can be very difficult for parents who are locked in conflict and unable to cooperate. Although most parents can prioritize their children’s best interests even during divorce, some cases require court intervention. In cases like this, a court may appoint a guardian ad litem (GAL) to determine a child’s best interests. If you have had a guardian ad litem assigned to your case and want to know more about what to expect, read on. 

What is a Guardian ad Litem’s Role? 

Guardians ad litem are responsible for investigating all aspects of a case wherein there are questions about which parent should have parenting time or parental responsibilities. To do this, GALs will interview the child and both parents and may also speak with the child’s teachers, neighbors, and religious leaders - anyone who can provide appropriate and helpful information. GALs often investigate a child’s past academic performance and medical history. They will also check both parents’ criminal histories and follow up on any allegations of abuse. 

Once their investigation is complete, GALs write a report and submit it to the court. The report contains the findings of the GALs investigation and often contains recommendations for resolving issues in the child’s best interests. GALs try to provide the child with an arrangement that allows for a meaningful relationship with both parents, but only if it is safe or healthy to do so. 


dupage county guardianship lawyerLife is complicated and unpredictable, and sometimes unexpected events cause a parent to be incapable of caring for their child. Whether due to mental illness, substance abuse, child abuse or neglect, or death, children in Illinois sometimes need care from an adult who is not their parent. If no family members are available to care for a child, the child may have to enter a foster home. But if a family member like a sibling or a grandparent is available, they may be able to get legal guardianship of the child. 

Legal Guardianship

Children moving into the care of the Illinois foster system have often been essentially taking care of themselves for many years, and many have the help of an older sibling. However, unless the older sibling is an adult and applies successfully for legal guardianship, they do not have the legal authority to fully care for the child once the state intervenes. 

Obtaining legal guardianship allows an adult to take legal responsibility for the care of a child, making important decisions and taking on the responsibility for providing the child with what they need. This includes day-to-day care, like a child’s hygiene and nutritional needs, as well as long-term needs like their education and medical care. If an older sibling, grandparent, or even uncle or aunt are already caring for a child in these ways, they can continue doing so if they are appointed the child’s legal guardian. 

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