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adoption, stepchild, Kane County Family LawyerIn light of recent numbers showing that remarriage in the United States has reached an all-time high, an increasing number of families are being combined as a result. Many stepparents develop strong emotional relationships with their stepchildren as each becomes accustomed to new role and family dynamics. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the family, some stepparents are interested in more than just establishing a bond with the child; instead, they may seek the recognition and rights as the child’s legal parent through a stepparent adoption.

Stepparent Adoption Requirements

Related adoptions occur frequently in the United States, and stepparent parent adoptions represent the most common form of all adoptions in the country. Generally, the simplicity of a stepparent adoption in Illinois is contingent on three criteria being met:

postnup, Illinois divorce, Kane County Family LawIt is very common today to hear about couples, particularly those who are very wealthy or celebrities, refusing to marry without a prenuptial agreement. For many, it is rather understandable, as most prenuptial agreements help delineate which assets may or may not become part of the marital property along with other possible considerations. One of the potential drawbacks to relying solely on a prenuptial agreement, however, is that, by definition, the agreement must be finalized prior to the marriage. Unforeseen issues and opportunities that may develop over the course of the relationship may be better dealt with by means of a postnuptial agreement instead.

A postnuptial agreement is a cooperative effort between spouses to formally outline the responsibilities and obligations of each party. It is established after the marriage, and in some cases, many years after the beginning of the marriage. Like most prenuptial agreements, a postnuptial agreement can help a couple prepare in the event of divorce, but more than that, such an agreement can contribute to a more fulfilling marital situation.

Take an Objective Look at the Marriage

Posted on in Divorce

single parent, parenting, Illinois family lawyer, Illinois family law attorney, child custodyAs the divorce rate increases, so too does the number of single parent households. Right now, there are fifteen million children in this country who live without a father. That’s 1 in 3 children. And there are almost 5 million children who live without a mother.

Dealing with the issues that come up when raising children can be hard enough in two parent households, but it can be twice as hard for single parents who are doing all the work alone. Single parents typically face more financial struggles, especially single mothers. Statistics show that the average annual income of married parents is $80,000. The average annual income for single mothers is $24,000.

Time is another commodity that single parents find there just is not enough of. Having the sole responsible of taking care of the children, all the household responsibilities, plus being the only breadwinner in the house can take its toll. It’s important to have a support system in place, whether it’s a family member, friend or child-care provider, to help provide some respite from all your parenting responsibilities.

Posted on in Annulments

annulment, marriage, relationship, divorce, eligibility for annulment, Illinois divorce lawMany people have heard of the term “annulment” and understand that it somehow similar to getting a divorce, but different in some mysterious way. Under Illinois law, an annulment is referred to as a “declaration of invalidity of marriage”. Unlike a divorce, an annulment does not simply terminate a marriage; an annulment states that a marriage is not valid and completely dissolves it as if it never existed in the first place.

 Before you get excited, thinking an annulment is the answer to all of your problems, it is important to recognize that not everyone is eligible for an annulment. There are four reasons for getting an annulment here in Illinois. According to the Illinois General Assembly, those reasons are:

  1. A party lacked capacity to consent to marriage at the time of the ceremony due to mental incapacity or infirmity or the influence of alcohol, drugs, or other incapacitating substances or was induced to enter into a marriage by force, duress, or fraud involving the essentials of the marriage;
  2. A party lacks the physical capacity to consummate the marriage by sexual intercourse and the other party was unaware of the incapacity at the time the marriage was solemnized;
  3. A party was aged 16 or 17 years old at the time of marriage and did not have the consent of his or her parents/guardians or judicial approval; or
  4. The marriage is prohibited.

In order to be eligible for annulment, you must file for the court order within the time frames or “statutes of limitations” for each of the four grounds for annulment:

student privacyThe Illinois legislature hopes to put parent’s mind at ease when it comes to their children’s digital privacy, while at the same time protecting parental rights with new changes to Illinois family law and criminal law.

The Privacy in the School Setting Act prevents any public elementary or secondary school district, and any higher learning institution from requiring or requesting that a student, prospective student, or parent/guardian turn over their social network password. To protect student privacy, the law also bans schools from accessing student email accounts without a parent or guardian’s permission. The law does provide an exception for cases when the school has reasonable cause to suspect that a student has violated school disciplinary rules or policies and has posted evidence of the violation on social media.

Schools must provide students and their parents or guardians with a statement that the school may request the student’s password or account information if the school suspects that disciplinary policy has been violated. The notice must be set forth in the school’s policy book, handbook, disciplinary code, or communicated by similar means. The new law went into effect on January 1, 2014.

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