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Recent Blog Posts

Legal Separation or Divorce? Know Your Options

 Posted on September 01, 2018 in Legal Separation

Even if you believe that your marriage is over and irreparable, leaving your spouse and pursuing a divorce can be difficult to do. However, divorce is not your only option: legal separation is an alternative.

What Is Legal Separation?

Unlike a divorce–which completely and legally dissolves a marriage–a legal separation does not legally end a marriage. When spouses enter a legal separation, they will still be married in the eyes of the law until a divorce takes place. This means that those who are legally separated cannot remarry.

Legal Separation vs. Living Apart

There is also a difference between a legal separation and simply living apart. While you and your spouse may be living apart physically, the separation will not be a legal separation unless you turn to the court and ask it to make decisions about things like child support, child custody, and spousal maintenance. For many couples, having the court issue a determination in regards to these issues is critical; some couples may have such a contentious marriage that negotiating these issues outside of court is impossible.

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How Does a DCFS Investigation Affect Parenting Time?

 Posted on September 01, 2018 in Child Custody

The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) is the agency that is responsible for the investigation of any allegations of child abuse or neglect. While DCFS does not typically get involved in a standard child custody case during a divorce or separation, DCFS will open an investigation if child abuse or neglect has been alleged by any party. If a DCFS investigation is conducted, the results of this investigation could have a large effect on each parent’s parenting time and parental responsibilities. Here’s a look into what you should know–

What Is a DCFS Investigation?

If there is any report made to the DCFS that a child is being abused or neglected, the agency often has an obligation to investigate that allegation. If a formal investigation is opened, DCFS agents, often working with police, will look for any evidence that:

  • The child was abused or neglected;
  • The child is at risk of abuse or neglect within the home; or

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Can I Suspend Overnight Visits?

 Posted on September 01, 2018 in Child Custody

If you are a divorced or separated parent in Illinois and your child spends the majority of his or her time with you, it is also likely that the child spends a fair amount of time with their other parent, too. This is because courts favor both parents being involved in their child’s life whenever possible. As such, even if your child is living with you, the other parent may have a court order that provides them with the right to overnight visits with the child.

For whatever reason, a situation may arise where you no longer believe that overnight visits are appropriate, or perhaps even safe, for your child. If this occurs, here’s a look into what you need to know about your right to suspend overnight visits:

You Should Always Defer to Your Child Custody Order

The first thing that’s important to know is that even if you don’t want your child spending the night at your former spouse’s home, you should always adhere to your court order; failing to do so can result in consequences. There are few exceptions to this – you may be able to keep your child home if you believe that sending them to your ex-spouse’s home would be dangerous for their physical, mental, or emotional health. However, having the court’s permission is always better.

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Religious Beliefs for Children after Divorce

 Posted on August 01, 2018 in Divorce

Religion is an extremely sensitive topic, and to some people, their religion is close to their heart. When parents divorce with children, the decision of which parent is able to decide the child’s religion can be a very touchy–and often divisive and contentious–topic. If you are getting divorced in Illinois or have recently divorced, here is a look into what you need to know about which parent will be able to make decisions regarding religious upbringing.

Allocating Decision-Making Responsibilities in Illinois Divorce

Choosing a child’s religion falls into the category of “significant decision-making responsibilities.” This is not the same as having physical custody of a child; parents may share physical custody and decision-making responsibilities, or share physical custody and but only one parent has decision-making responsibilities. Decision-making responsibilities include the power to make decisions about a number of aspects of a child’s life, including:

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Do I Have to Sell My House in a Divorce?

 Posted on August 01, 2018 in Divorce

One of the biggest concerns with getting a divorce in Illinois is the fear that a party will be forced to sell their house. Indeed, dividing real estate in a divorce can be one of the most complicated parts of the divorce settlement, and individuals are often confused about their rights. If you are getting a divorce and are worried about whether or not you’ll have to sell, here’s a look into what you need to know–

How is Property Divided in a Divorce?

Illinois is what is known as an “equitable distribution” state. In an equitable distribution state, all marital property is subject to equitable–but not necessarily equal–division between the parties. Marital property means all assets and debts that were acquired during the course of the marriage. This means that if you and your spouse both own your house or if one of you purchased the house after you were married, your home must be counted as marital property, and will be subject to division as such.

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Can I Refuse Parenting Time if My Child is Sick?

 Posted on August 01, 2018 in Child Custody

All parents will inevitably be tasked with caring for a sick child, probably dozens of times throughout the child’s life. While most illnesses are common and fairly easy to remedy with rest and basic care, taking care of a sick child can be complicated when parents share custody. Here’s a look into what you need to know about sharing parenting time when your child is sick–

Stick to Your Parenting Plan as Much as Possible

It can be tempting to deny the other parent their afternoon or weekend with your child as it is, but even more so when your child is sick – you surely want to nurture your child back to health yourself. However, refusing visitation or parenting time for minor illnesses is inappropriate; your child’s other parent has just as much of a right to care for your sick child as you do. What’s more, assuming that your child is suffering from a minor illness, such as a cold, they can receive just as much care at their other parent’s home as they would at yours. If parenting time is missed due to an illness, the parent should have the opportunity to make up that time at a later date.

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Spousal Support and Remarriage

 Posted on August 01, 2018 in Divorce

Spousal support, also called spousal maintenance or alimony, is a common part of an Illinois divorce settlement. An order for spousal support is issued in the event that one party is not able to support themselves otherwise and had been dependent on the other party throughout the course of a marriage.

Spousal support awards can be issued for various amounts, can be made in various ways (i.e. lump sum vs. monthly payments), and can last for various amounts of time. That being said, even awards that are considered to be permanent can be terminated if certain events occur: remarriage (or cohabitation) or death.

Will Getting Remarried Mean I Lose Spousal Support?

If you are a recipient of spousal support payments, you can count on those payments being terminated in the event that you remarry. As such, if you are in a romantic relationship and are thinking about remarrying, the fact that your spousal support will be terminated may make you reconsider.

However, do not make the mistake of thinking that remarriage is the only way that spousal support can end; cohabitation may also result in a termination too. Cohabitation means that you and another party are living together and maintaining a relationship similar to that of a husband and wife.

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What Happens in a Custody Battle?

 Posted on July 01, 2018 in Child Custody

If you and your spouse are divorcing or separating, you may have fears about the upcoming “custody battle” that will take place between you and your spouse regarding your children. While it is true that many custody cases can be very contentious, a battle is not inevitable. Here’s a look into what you need to know about how custody is decided, and what happens if your case goes to court–

Creating a Parenting Plan

In Illinois “custody” is now referred to as “allocation of parental responsibilities.” When custody of a child needs to be decided, parents are encouraged to work together to create a parenting plan. The parenting plan addresses multiple issues that are typically associated with child custody, including where the child will live, how the child will be transported from one parent’s home to the others, where the child will go to school, each parent’s responsibilities, how decisions pertaining to the child will be made, and more.

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Do I Need Permission to Take My Kids on Vacation?

 Posted on July 01, 2018 in Child Custody

Taking your child on an out-of-state vacation seems very reasonable. From road trips to family reunions to European getaways, traveling can be a fun way to bond with family. However, if you and your spouse are divorced and share custody or parental responsibilities of a child, are you legally allowed to take your child out of the state without the other parent’s permission? Here’s a look at what you need to know–

Refer to Your Parenting Plan

At the time of divorce, parents must create a parenting plan that specifies how parenting time with a child will be shared, how decisions about a child will be made, etc. In some cases, the parenting plan may even talk specifically about vacations and out-of-state vacation. For example, if one parent typically travels out of state for a week during the summer for a family reunion, the child’s attendance may be noted in the parenting plan.

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Do I Have to Pay Child Support if I Am Deployed?

 Posted on July 01, 2018 in Child Support

Understanding Illinois family laws, divorce laws, and child support laws while you are serving in the military and are deployed can feel overwhelming. Indeed, if you are abroad or plan to be abroad, knowing whether or not you need to pay child support, how that decision will be made, and how to modify your child support arrangement may feel burdensome and confusing. Our family law attorneys at the offices of Fay, Farrow & Associates, P.C. can help you to understand your child support obligations if you are deployed.

Do I Still Have to Pay Child Support?

Regardless of your station in the military and whether or not you are deployed, you must pay child support. All parents in Illinois have a duty to support their children financially. While you are obligated to pay support, precisely how that support is calculated and when you can request modification of a support order may vary if you are deployed or plan to be deployed in the future.

How Is Child Support Calculated?

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