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Posted on in Mediation

b2ap3_thumbnail_custody3_640.jpgAny good parent wants as much time with their children as is possible to obtain. Sometimes, however, a parent will question the wisdom of letting the other parent see the children at all, or may try to place restrictions on visitation. In these types of situations, one remedy can be to go to court, but in recent years, it has become more common to utilize mediation to address custody and parenting concerns.

The Role of Your Attorney

There are some misunderstandings about the role of an attorney in a non-courtroom proceeding, but in truth, the attorney’s role is very similar to their role in a standard divorce. An experienced legal professional can always provide advice and guidance, regardless of who the trier of fact may be. Most people at least consult attorneys before beginning mediation, primarily to ensure that their goals are attainable and realistic within the confines of the law. However, it is the mediator, not the attorney or attorneys, who is tasked with facilitating an agreement between you and the other parent.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_guardian-minor-children-600x400.jpgSometimes, parents prove unwilling or unable to take care of their children. In these scenarios, there are several options for the children to receive care, but one that is becoming increasingly common is for a grandparent or grandparents to step in. A decade ago, there were around 100,000 grandparents raising their grandchildren in Illinois, and the number has only risen since then. If you are in a position where you may decide to raise your grandchildren, there is a process to follow to ensure everything is legally sound.

Obtaining Physical Custody and Parental Responsibilities

There are several different options for grandparents to obtain decision-making power over their grandchildren, as well as physical custody of the children. The most commonly used is to bring an action for parental responsibility under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA). There are two scenarios under this law in which a grandparent could conceivably obtain physical custody. The first is if the child is not in the physical custody of their parent—if the parents are both deceased, for example, or if one or both parents voluntarily abandoned the child. The second is if one parent is deceased and the other is missing or incarcerated. If either of these applies to your family situation, the IMDMA is likely the best law under which to bring your petition.

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Posted on in Family Law

b2ap3_thumbnail_divorce_640_20170912-182941_1.jpgAccording to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 40% of both men and women have been victims of “coercive control” by their significant other. This is a form of domestic violence which is rarely talked about but is sadly common. Abuse in a relationship does not always involve physical acts like hitting and pushing. Often, abuse perpetuated by a significant other is psychological. The term “coercive control” refers to acts of manipulation, harassment, and humiliation which are meant to tear down an individual’s sense of independence and to make the victim question his or her own sanity. One of these tactics is “gaslighting.”

What Is Gaslighting?

The term “gaslighting” traces its roots to a 1938 play and 1944 movie called Gas Light in which a husband emotionally manipulates and abuses his wife. Individuals who gaslight use psychological tactics to make the victim feel as if they “are going crazy.” Abusers often deny that events or conversations occurred, make up stories and lies, and isolate their victims from friends and family. The behavior is meant to gain control over the victim by making them question their own thoughts and beliefs.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_inheritance-rights_640-1.pngGetting married can be an extremely happy time in a person’s life. During this time, you may be focused on the wedding day and your upcoming honeymoon. However, spending some time on a properly-drafted prenuptial agreement could ensure your future happiness, even in the event of a divorce. Protecting assets received as an inheritance, for example, is made much easier with an effective prenuptial agreement than doing so without one. As a result, it is important to stress that during a divorce proceedings, absent a prenuptial agreement, it may be too late to protect vacation homes, rare collectables, and other inherited assets.

Strategies for Protecting Inherited Assets in Divorce

In Illinois, the law draws a distinction between marital property and separate property, specifically recognizing inherited assets as non-marital property in most cases. However, inherited assets that are combined with marital assets and used for family purposes can lose their identity as separate property, regardless of a person’s intentions. With that in mind, there are a few strategies for protecting inherited assets during divorce:

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Posted on in Child Custody

b2ap3_thumbnail_parenting-plan_600x400.pngThe Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act states that a separating parent has a right to pursue a temporary parenting arrangement regarding his or her child while working through the divorce process. The temporary parenting agreement—commonly referred to as a temporary custody order—provides security and consistency for the child and both parents during the course of the divorce. The parent who does not receive the majority of the parental responsibilities under this agreement generally receives visitation—now called parenting time—with the child. Temporary child custody agreements can also be adapted into more permanent parental responsibilities arrangements.

What is Temporary Custody?

Recent changes to Illinois law have all but eliminated the use of the term “child custody,” replacing it the more neutral “allocation of parental responsibilities.” Many people, however, still understand orders related to the care of their children as “custody agreements,” and probably will continue to do so for some time.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_prenuptial-agreement4_640.jpgWith many Americans waiting longer than ever before to get married for the first time and the rise in the rate of second and third marriages, prenuptial agreements have become increasingly common across the country. You may be wondering what age and remarriage have to do with prenuptial agreements, and the answer is relatively simple. Those who get married at a later age—those getting married for the second or third time are older than they were when they first got married—tend to bring more with them into their new marriage. “More” refers to not only property and debts but also to children, previous spousal maintenance obligations, and other concerns.

With all of the potential considerations, it makes sense that individuals considering marriage would look to protect themselves by drafting a prenuptial agreement. If it is not executed properly, however, your prenuptial agreement may not stand up to challenges in court, making it essentially unenforceable and leaving you possibly unprotected.

The most common reasons that a divorce court court set aside a prenuptial agreement include:

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Divorce-kids_640.jpgIf you are a divorced, separated, or unmarried parent, your child is most likely your top priority, especially if you have been allocated the majority of the parenting time. You work hard to meet your child’s needs and to provide the best possible life for him or her. In an ideal situation, your child’s other parent would also make your child a priority, and while your opinions on specific aspects of parenting may differ, common goals can allow you to work together constructively.

Issues often arise, however, when parents have drastically different views on what is appropriate for their child. In some cases, this can even lead to the child being placed in dangerous environments. If you believe that your child is in any type of danger when he or she is with the other parent, you may need to take action quickly.

What the Law Says

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