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A divorce can be a difficult process in the United States alone, but divorcing in two countries can turn into a real ordeal, says a recent article in the Chicago Tribune. There are many problems, for example, cultural differences, financial issues and bureaucracy, faced by an American who wants a divorce and is either a dual citizen, lives abroad or is married to a citizen of a foreign country.

Custody issues have become more common in the recent years. There are more conflicts, litigation and parental kidnappings these days because in the past it was almost hopeless for a man to win the custody of his child. Robert Makielski, 52, hopes that times have changed and he will get the custody of his two under aged children living in the Dominican Republic. "I'm basically dealing with a corrupt system in a foreign court," he says. Makielski has spent $50,000 on the case and expects to spend a whole lot more.

If you live abroad, you may not be able to file for a U.S. divorce. It is your place of residence that determines which court has the jurisdiction, not your birth place. The laws can differ greatly between countries. Usually, divorce and dual citizen matters are easier to deal with in the United States and Europe. The divorce will proceed in the country where it is filed, so time is of the essence too.

Posted on in Adoption

Adoption is a complex legal proceeding involving the termination of the legal parental rights of birth parents and the assumption of legal parental responsibilities by the adoptive parents. It is advisable to consult an experienced family law attorney to make sure that your adoption case gets the best possible outcome.

There are several important issues families should know when considering adoption, for example, who can adopt and who selects adoptive parents. In Illinois, any person, male or female, who is not under legal disability, is of legal age and a reputable person can adopt a child, according to the Illinois Adoption Act. Adoptive parent(s) must have resided in Illinois without interruption for at least 6 months. The residency requirement does not apply to adoptions involving relatives. In independent or relative adoptions, the birth parents choose the adoptive parents.

It may be possible for the potential adoptive parents to have the child placed with them temporarily before the actual court proceedings, if the birth parent(s) authorize this. In independent adoptions, a review is completed by court services to ensure that the adoptive parents are capable to adopt a child. In relative adoptions the procedure is different; an investigation form is completed for the guardian ad litem which is eventually sent to the court. A guardian ad litem is “a person appointed by a court as guardian of an infant or other person to act on his or her behalf in a particular action or proceeding.”

Under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, 750 ILCS 5/504, a spouse can seek maintenance, or what is commonly known as alimony, from his or her spouse in the context of a dissolution of marriage, legal separation, or annulment proceeding. Maintenance may be temporary or permanent in nature. The amount and duration of a maintenance award is up to the discretion of the court, which must take into consideration all relevant factors, including the following:

  • The income and property of each party
  • The needs of each party
  • The present and future earning capacity of each party
  • Any impairment to a spouse’s earning capacity due to his or her devotion to domestic duties during the marriage, thus forgoing educational or employment opportunities
  • The time necessary for the party seeking maintenance to obtain the appropriate education or training in order to become self-sufficient through employment, or whether the party is the custodian of a child, making it appropriate that the party not seek employment
  • The standard of living established during the marriage
  • The duration of the marriage
  • The age, physical condition, and emotional condition of the parties
  • The tax consequences of the property division upon each party’s economic circumstances
  • Any agreement of the parties, and
  • Any other factor that the court finds to be just and equitable

Essentially, the court has the authority to determine whether a maintenance order is appropriate, how much that order should be, and how long that order should last. The court does not have to specify the length of the order, but can simply enter an indefinite order, depending on the circumstances. Based on the factors listed above, a court may make the following common types of maintenance orders:

  • Rehabilitative maintenance is designed to allow a spouse a specific period of time in which to become financially self-sufficient.
  • Permanent maintenance is typically awarded in a case where there has been a long marriage and one spouse is unable to support himself or herself due to disability, age, or length of time out of the workforce.
  • Temporary maintenance usually only lasts while the divorce is pending.
  • Maintenance in gross is a certain amount that is made by one spouse to the other, either in a lump sum or through installments.

If you are seeking a maintenance award in your divorce, or if your spouse is seeking a maintenance award from you, you will need the assistance of an experienced Geneva, Illinois divorce lawyer to help you with your case.

A. Requirements for filing for Divorce in Illinois:

Grounds - In order to file suit for divorce in Illinois, you must prove that you have met the necessary "grounds" for divorce. Those grounds include:

-  Residence for six months in state

There are two ways to end a marriage, either through annulment or divorce.  So it is important to understand the differences in the two requirements and processes of annulments and divorces.  A divorce is a dissolution of marriage.  Both parties revert back to a single status and have the ability to remarry if they so desire.  The process itself is a lengthy and can include a lot of negotiations concerning aspects like division of property, child custody, and other things that must be separate after a divorce.

An annulment can be understood as an expungement of a marriage.  The Catholic Church often requires an annulment if people want to be remarried in the Catholic faith, which is where the process originated.  There will essentially be no record of such a marriage existing if the annulment can be legally justifiable.  Either spouse has the ability to file for an annulment but must prove that the grounds for annulment are in fact valid.  If the grounds are proven to be factual, the marriage can be pronounced null and void by a court.

Some of the reasons you can file for an annulment are as follows:

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