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Geneva family law attorneyFamily law issues, such as divorce or child-related issues (i.e. allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time) are complex legal matters that can emotionally drain and devastate all involved. Mediation – an alternative dispute resolution method that encourages families to work toward a mutually beneficial agreement – can sometimes help parties resolve their matters in a more amicable way. In some instances, parents may even become better communicators if they can manage to find common ground and successfully complete the mediation process. But it is not the right option for everyone.

How Mediation Works

In mediation, there are at least three parties: the disputants (you and your ex) and the mediator. As an impartial party that does not represent one side or the other, the mediator is not able to make a decision about the dispute. Instead, they help facilitate productive communication and help you find common ground so that you can develop a solution for your legal problems. You can, however, seek assistance from your own attorney during this process to help ensure you have considered all aspects of your matter, and that the decisions you make are carefully considered beforehand.

Geneva family law attorneyDivorcing couples usually have a number of questions and concerns about spousal maintenance (alimony) when they begin to address financial arrangements at the end of the marriage. One of the most pressing questions for most spouses is whether or not they are eligible for alimony at all, and if so, how that decision is reached.

Circumstantial Factors

It is understandable to want to know how much you must pay your spouse or how much you are eligible to receive, but the answers to these questions are not cut and dry. The court handles spousal maintenance on a case-by-case basis, taking a number of factors into consideration to first determine whether or not alimony is appropriate. Illinois law examines all of the following factors before deciding to grant an alimony award to either spouse:

Kane County family law attorneyAs the high school graduation season draws to a close, prospective college freshmen are looking ahead toward the beginning of a new adventure. Over the past several decades, however, rising tuition costs and tighter household budgets have made paying for post-high school education more difficult than ever. More and more students are turning to their parents for help with college expenses, though many couples lack the financial ability to assist their children. Some can afford to help, but make the decision not to do so. When this happens, does a college-bound student have any recourse under the law?

Non-Minor Support for College Expenses

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) does contain a provision that could allow the court to require divorced parents to contribute toward their child’s college expenses, even after the child has reached adulthood. The existence of such a law seems to create a double standard: a child whose parents are divorced can get help, but a child whose parents are still together cannot. The reality, however, is not quite that simple.

Geneva family law attorneyAs a parent, you will always want what is best for your child. By law, you also have a number of rights and responsibilities related to his or her upbringing and support. Exercising your parental rights can be challenging in the wake of divorce, especially if your ex-spouse has been allocated a majority of the parenting time and decision-making authority. When your ex gets remarried, your situation can become even more challenging, especially if his or her new partner expresses interest in legally adopting your child. If you are concerned about your parental rights being threatened, there are some steps that you can take to protect yourself.

Stepparent Adoption Requires Consent

In order for your ex’s new spouse to adopt your child, in most situations, you must grant voluntary consent. This means that you willingly terminate your parental rights and responsibilities for your child, as the law permits a person to have only two legal parents. A stepparent adoption is not a mere formality; it expressly transfers full parental authority and creates a legal parent-child relationship between your son or daughter and the stepparent.

Posted on in Annulments

Geneva family law attorneyFor many years in the United States, there was much talk about the idea of marriage and whether the government had the right to decide the types of couples who should and should not be eligible to get married. The context for that discussion primarily concerned the marital rights of same-sex couples, and a resolution was reached about a year ago when a United States Supreme Court decision recognized same-sex marriage throughout the country. Each state, however, still maintains laws that govern who is and who is not eligible to get married, and, in Illinois, a prohibited marriage is grounds for an annulment.

Unlawful Marriages

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) is a collection of statutes that provide marriage and divorce-related guidelines for the state. According to the IMDMA, a marriage is prohibited if:

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