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Illinois custody attorneyFortunately for married same-sex couples in Illinois who have children, the Illinois Parentage Act provides the same protections that were once afforded to fathers in a heterosexual marriage. Traditionally, a man married to a woman who gave birth to a child was considered the child’s legal father. This means that the man could get custody or visitation rights without necessarily have to prove the child was biologically related to him.

This same presumption is now extended to same-sex couples. The Illinois Parentage Act signed into law in 2015 now extends the definition of a presumed parent to a person who was in a marriage or civil union at the time the mother gave birth to the child, or within 300 days of a termination of the couple’s marriage or civil union. Same-sex parents are also permitted to have both their names on a birth certificate, and there is a presumption that the parents listed on a birth certificate are the child’s parents.

This legal presumption is important when it comes to custody issues in a divorce. Without this presumption, a parent who wants custody to a child would have to prove a legal relationship with the child in order to have standing to seek custody. For example, two women live together without getting married or entering into a civil union. If one woman gives birth to a child, and the women agree to raise the child together, there is no guarantee that the non-biological mother will be able to share custody of the child if the two women split up. A person who does not have standing cannot prevail in a legal challenge seeking rights to custody or even visitation.


Illinois defense lawyerWhen most people think about the division of assets in their divorce, they may overlook one important asset – their retirement accounts. Retirement accounts held by either spouse are divisible in a divorce, depending on when the money or benefits in the accounts were accumulated. There are different considerations in the division of retirement assets, and various legal forms that have to be filed with the employer or entity which holds the account.

Retirement benefits to be divided in a divorce are those that were earned during the marriage. Any of the retirement benefits a person acquired before the marriage are not included in the division because they are not marital assets. Retirement benefits are divisible as marital assets even though they aren’t vested, and even if the employee did not make any contributions outside of the employer contributions to the plan.

If divorcing spouses can agree to an offset, they can come to different agreements as to how the value of the retirement assets will be allocated. For example, one spouse can agree to take a different property or a sum of money from the other spouse in lieu of the retirement option. In addition, the spouses can agree that each will keep his own retirement accounts and not divide the accounts. Spouses can put the agreement in a marital settlement agreement and present it to the court for approval.


Illinois child custodyDivorces can be as difficult for children as it is for the parents, if not more difficult. If the parents are particularly hostile to each other and fight over all the issues, including time-sharing and parental responsibility, the children may feel as though they are in the middle. When this happens, the children may need a neutral advocate to represent their best interests in the process. The court may appoint this neutral advocate by appointing a guardian ad litem.

A guardian ad litem is a person, usually an experienced family law attorney, who is appointed by the judge in a divorce case to investigate and present finding on issues outlined by the court. The guardian ad litem is supposed to find out what the best interests of the child are by interviewing the parents and the children involved. In some cases, the guardian ad litem may have to interview other people involved in the child’s life.

The guardian ad litem does not work for either parent and is not supposed to be influenced by either parent to present a slanted or biased view of what would constitute the best interest of the child. If a parent feels that the guardian ad litem is being biased, he should discuss this with his attorney in order to notify the court of the possibility. However, the guardian ad litem may have to ask the parents some difficult questions, and although these questions may make a parent uncomfortable, they may not raise a reasonable claim of bias.


Posted on in Divorce

Illinois divorce lawyerA divorce case, like every other case that is filed in a court of law, will at some point in the process require the parties to exchange crucial information. The process through which this information is exchanged is known as discovery. The word discovery in the legal context is different from the common usage, although the discovery process does seek to uncover unknown information.

In most Illinois divorces, the discovery process is used mainly to seek financial information. This is especially important if one spouse was in charge of the finances during the marriage, and the other spouse is not sure what assets and marital property are subject to equitable division as part of the divorce.

A court can order the spouses to exchange financial documents such as bank statements, investment records, and records showing ownership of real estate. In addition to the assets, parties also have to turn over information on debts and liabilities. Documents involving financial information are usually turned over pursuant to a subpoena or a formal request for documents. The court may also allow depositions, where a person is questioned by the attorney for the other side, and the testimony is preserved and may be used in court in some circumstances.


Illinois divorce attorneyGoing through a divorce while pregnant can be stressful. In addition to the emotional aspect, there may be added legal delays to the divorce until the child is born in order to address all the issues that apply to the child in the final divorce order. Additionally, in Illinois, pregnancy does affect a couple’s ability to get a simplified divorce. A pregnancy does not halt a divorce or act as a barrier for a judge dissolving the marriage.

The potential issues that are raised by a pregnancy in the context of a divorce are child support, parental responsibility, and time sharing. These issues would not be present in a divorce between couples with no children who may be able to go through a simplified divorce in Illinois.

When a couple files for a simplified divorce, they generally have agreed to most of the issues, such as the division of marital property and debt, and are willing to waive support from each other. There are several requirements the couple must meet in order to get a simplified divorce, including that the couple has been married for less than eight years, and that the wife not be pregnant by her husband.

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