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Social media seems innocuous enough – what is risky about keeping in touch with friends and family? A lot, apparently: studies show that there is a link between social media usage and decreased marital quality. And if marriage ends up in divorce, the things that you say to others on the web may be used against you, too.

The Connection Between Social Media and Divorce

The more that one spouse in the relationship uses social media, the more jealous or suspicious the other spouse may become, creating tension in the marriage. In fact, one study reports that as many as one in every seven people has stated that they have thought about divorce as a result of their partners’ online activity. The study, conducted by a UK law firm, also found that 17 percent of couples participating in the study argued about social media usage every day. If you want to reduce your chance of divorce, staying off of Facebook may be part of the answer.

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Posted on in Divorce

If you are an unmarried or soon-to-be-divorced parent of a child in Illinois, some of the questions that are at the top of your mind are surely who will be responsible for paying for child support, and how much will be owed each month. The child support attorneys at Fay, Farrow & Associates, P.C. can help guide you through everything you need to know about child support payments in Illinois. In the interim, here are answers to a few FAQs about child support:

Which Parent Will Be Responsible for Making Child Support Payments?

Which parent will be responsible for making child support payments is one of the most commonly asked questions. Typically the parent who has a greater amount of parenting time with the children receives child support payments. In some circumstances, the payment of child support from one parent to the other may be reserved.

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Posted on in Divorce

A parent may be ordered to pay child support in the event that he or she separates from the child’s other parent. The amount of child support ordered depends on income and, to some extent, the amount of parenting time (visitation) each parent has with their child. Because child support laws vary on a state-by-state basis, it is important to know what child support covers, who has an obligation to pay child support, and how child support is calculated in Illinois. If a person fails to pay his or her child support payment, he or she may face legal consequences as a direct result. If you need help understanding child support, do not hesitate to reach out to an attorney.

What Does Child Support Cover?

Child support is designed to cover all basic needs of a child. This includes needs such as food, clothing, and shelter. Further, both parents may be obligation to contribute to other expenses of the child including, but not limited to, educational expenses, day care expenses, extracurricular activity expenses, and out-of-pocked medical expenses. A child support order is a mandatory order.

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Posted on in Divorce

A divorce is not only an emotional process, but an intense legal one as well. If you are considering getting a divorce or have filed for divorce in Illinois, there are number of important steps that you should take as soon as possible to protect your interests.

Make a List of All Assets

Make a list of all assets, including assets that are titled jointly, or individually in your name or your spouse’s name immediately. You should also make a list of all debts. Do you share a car loan or mortgage? Do you have joint investment accounts? It is a good idea to gather statements for every account in which you or your spouse have an interest, prior to discussing divorce with your spouse.

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If you are seeking a divorce and have a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement with your spouse, many issues that are common in a divorce, such as division of property, may be a moot point. This is because prenuptial and postnuptial agreements are designed to settle certain issues in divorce before they even arise. The following considers how a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement affects a divorce:

The Difference Between a Prenuptial and Postnuptial Agreement

A prenuptial agreement, also known as a premarital agreement, and a postnuptial agreement are not the same thing. A prenuptial agreement is a legally binding contract that is entered into by both parties in a marriage before the marriage actually occurs; a postnuptial agreement is a legally binding contract that is entered into both parties in a marriage after the parties are already married. Both can address the exact same issues, and both may be enforceable if a divorce occurs.

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In Illinois, child custody is now referred to as “allocation of parental responsibilities” and visitation is now referred to as “parenting time.” Mothers who give birth to children automatically have full parental rights over that child, including the right to allocation of parental responsibilities (formerly known as child custody). When the mother of the child is married to the child’s father, the father too is automatically granted parental rights. However, in the event that the mother and the father are not married, the father is only the “alleged” father. An alleged father has no legal rights, including no rights regarding child custody, or allocation of parental responsibilities. For this reason, it is essential that you establish paternity and hire an Illinois child custody lawyer.

Allocation of Parental Responsibilities (Custody) and Parenting Time (Visitation) When You Are Not Married to Your Child’s Mother

In the event that you are not married to your child’s mother but are in a relationship with her, custody and visitation should be non-issues. However, in the event that you are not married to the child’s mother and you and the mother separate, the mother may try to deny you custody and visitation rights. Because you have no legal rights established, the mother can do so until legal action is taken.

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Posted on in Divorce

All divorcing couples face their own set of issues, problems, and hiccups during the divorce process. Further, what is important to one couple in a divorce may be completely different than what is important to another, especially when the couples’ ages, financial statuses, home ownerships, or parenthood is taken into account. For those who are pursuing a grey divorce, many of the issues that other couples face are not relevant. The following considers some of the unique complications and issues of grey divorces, such as division or property and spousal maintenance, in Illinois, including the areas of Wheaton, Naperville, and Downers Grove:

What is Grey Divorce?

Grey divorce refers to the separation of couples who are age 50 or older, and is becoming a more common occurrence in the United States. In fact, an article in NPR News reports that Americans over age 50 are now twice as likely to get divorced today as they were 50 years ago. After spending so many years together—for some couples, more than half their lifetime—a grey divorce can be painful and emotional, even when it is the right thing to do.

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Struggling with a mental illness can be a very emotional thing to cope with. What can be even more challenging, however, is when you are going through a divorce or separation and have questions about how your mental health may affect your right to custody of your child. If you are facing a child custody hearing in Illinois, here is a look into how your mental health may play a role, and why you need an attorney on your side who will advocate for your rights.

What Factors a Judge Considers When Making a Child Custody Determination

Per Illinois Compiled Statutes – Illinois Marriage and Dissolution Action, Section 602, a judge must make a custody determination that is within the best interests of the child. Further, a judge must consider all relevant factors, including:

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For parents who have been ordered by an Illinois court to make a child support payment, following the court order is absolutely necessary; failing to do so can result in your income being garnished, and you may even be held in contempt of court as a result, which can carry serious criminal penalties. Many parents, though, wonder what their rights are in the event that they lose their jobs. If you are unable to earn an income, are you therefore able to default on a payment, or have a court change your child support obligation?

The Penalties for Defaulting a Child Support Payment

Regardless of whether or not you lose your job, experience a change in income, or are otherwise financially unable to make your child support payment, your child support payment is due on time and in full per your court order. If you do not make your payment on time and in full, legal actions may be taken against you. These legal actions include, but are not limited to:

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Thinking about divorce is rarely a pleasant topic. However, if you believe that a divorce from your spouse is imminent, there are a few things that you should start doing immediately to prepare for the divorce and ensure that your rights are protected.

1. Make an Inventory of Marital Property

In Illinois, any property that is acquired during the course of your marriage is considered to be marital property. This means that the property will be subject to equitable division upon divorce. It you believe that a divorce is pending, it is best to make an inventory of all property that may be up for division. This includes a home, vehicles, jewelry, pets, furniture, and other items of value throughout the home.

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Many people believe that if they are a victim of violence that is committed by a family member, they have no legal recourse. However, this is not true. While taking legal action against a family member can be emotionally trying, it may be the best thing you can do to protect yourself and other within your home. A family law attorney can help you to understand what to do when you are a victim of domestic violence, including filing an order of protection.

What Constitutes Family Violence?

Family violence, officially referred to as domestic violence under Illinois code, refers to any acts of: hitting, choking, kicking, threatening, harassing, or otherwise interfering with the personal liberties of a family or household member, according to the Illinois Attorney General. This can include family members who are blood relatives, married couples, children, persons who have child in common, or others who share a home or living area.

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In a same-sex relationship where the couple is married and has a child, both biological parents are automatically granted parental rights and custody over that child. This allows both parents to make decision about the child, and protects both parents in the event of a divorce; both parents may have the right to child custody or visitation with that child, and both may also be obligated to pay child support.

However, in a same-sex relationship, parental custody can be much more complicated. In the event that only one person in the relationship is the biological parent of the child, the other parent may have no legal rights over the child. If this is the case, second-parent adoption can give the second parent the same legal rights as the biological parent.

What Is Second-Parent Adoption?

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Rates of infidelity in the U.S. are hard to pinpoint – many respondents are not entirely upfront about whether or not they have committed adultery. That being said, most estimates set the rate of infidelity somewhere around 10 percent; 12 percent of men, and seven percent of married women say that they have had sex with someone outside of their marriage in a given year.

Adultery is illegal in the state of Illinois, although criminal penalties are rarely, if ever, enforced. However, for those who have committed adultery, or for the married partners of those that have, there is a pressing legal question that should be considered: how does infidelity affect divorce in Illinois?

Adultery Is Grounds for Divorce in Illinois

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Years ago, you and your spouse divorced. At the time of the divorce, you were ordered by the court to make a modest monthly child support payment to help to pay for your child’s clothing, food, housing, and extracurricular activities, to which you happily agreed. Now, your child is about to graduate from high school, and has hopes of attending college (which you could not be more thrilled about). But while you may think that the approaching date of your child’s 18th birthday may also be the day when your child support payments are terminated, think again; you may be ordered to pay for your child’s college expenses.

End of Child Support Duties

In the vast majority of cases, a child support duty ends when the child turns the age of 18, or is emancipated by the court at an earlier date. The latter can occur in the event that the child gets married, joins the military, or no longer requires parental support for another reason. In some cases, a child support order may extend beyond the age of 18, such as situations in which the child:

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In the event of a divorce, separation, or other extenuating circumstances that involve a child, with whom the child will reside is often a pressing question. And while each of the child’s parents has the right to petition for custody and visitation, in some cases, neither parent is fit. As such, the question remains: who else can seek – and be granted – the custody of a child in Downers Grove, Illinois and surrounding areas? What about visitation rights? To help you answer this question, be sure to consult with a child custody lawyer before taking legal action on your own.

A Look Into Child Custody

If either parent is available and physically, mentally, and psychologically fit to have custody of the child in question, then a person other than a parent cannot be granted custody of the child. In the event that the court deems the parents to be unfit, the parents of the child cannot be found, or the parents are residing in jail (or a combination of the above), a grandparent can petition for, and may be granted, custody. However, because granting custody to an individual is a permanent decision, custody is unlikely to be given to a grandparent except for in extenuating circumstances, such as a child’s parents’ death. Guardianship, on the other hand, is more common.

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In the event that a person fathers a child with another person to whom he is not married, or separates or divorces from that person, the father may have questions about his rights regarding the child. For more clarity on fathers’ rights and paternity in Naperville, Illinois and surrounding areas, reach out to a skilled family law and fathers’ rights attorney.

How to Establish Paternity

In order to have any parental rights over a child as a father, paternity must be established. In the event that a couple is married at the time of the child’s birth, the paternity of the male in the marriage is implied. A voluntary acknowledgement of paternity may also be entered into in the event that the child’s parents are not married, but both acknowledge the male as being the child’s biological father and if there is no other man listed on the child’s birth certificate.

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Parental alienation is an unfortunate, yet not uncommon, occurrence during a divorce where a separating couple has one or more children. The following considers what parental alienation is, how it can affect your child, your rights to custody, and how to avoid it. If you are separating, divorcing, or have questions about child custody or visitation rights in Illinois, an experienced family law attorney can provide more insight.

What Is Parental Alienation?

Parental alienation occurs when one parent—either intentionally or unintentionally—affects the psyche of a his or her child(ren) to the effect that the child(ren) emotionally rejects the other parent. Typically, parental alienation occurs when one parent continuously disparages the other parent to the extent that the relationship between the other parent and the child is severely affected and impaired.

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For those who are seeking a divorce in Wheaton or another area in the state of Illinois, the first thing that you must do is to file a petition for dissolution of marriage. Following this, you will need to serve your summons to your spouse, informing him or her of your petition for dissolution of marriage. However, in the event that your spouse cannot be located—and therefore cannot be served—divorce by publication may be necessary. For assistance in executing a divorce by publication, consult with a Wheaton divorce attorney as soon as possible.

What Is a Divorce By Publication?

A divorce by publication is a very unique way of serving—or making known your request to divorce—your spouse. Also referred to as service by publication, a divorce by publication is when the spouse seeking the divorce publishes his or her notice of the pending action in the local newspaper. The publication of the notice of the pending action must also include:

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Following a child custody court order is sometimes an emotionally challenging thing to do, especially when the order is not in your favor. To mitigate the actions of those non-custodial parents who are tempted to remove their child from the state—referred to as interstate kidnapping—every state has adopted the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act. In the event that your child is taken out of the state by his or her non-custodial parent or in violation of a court order, the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) allows for a determination to be made about which state has jurisdiction over the custody case, and can be key in the enforcement of a custody order. For help understanding the UCCJEA and enforcing a child custody order, consult with a Wheaton child custody attorney today.

The Basics of Illinois’ UCCJEA

Illinois’ UCCJEA addresses a number of issues related to parental kidnapping and a state’s jurisdiction over a custody case. If a custody issue is pending and there are questions over which state has legal jurisdiction, the Illinois UCCJEA will determine whether or not the state of Illinois has the power and authority to hear the case and make a determination about it. In the event that the authority of two or more states is in question, the law prevents both states from making a determination about the custody case.

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Posted on in Divorce

Beginning January 1, 2016, changes to Illinois’ divorce law will take effect. The following provides a review of these changes, found under Senate Bill 57, and what you need to know if you are considering getting divorced in Illinois. For more clarification and legal representation, be sure to seek the counsel of a Downers Grove divorce attorney.

Changes to Grounds for Divorce

Under Illinois’ current divorce code, the grounds for seeking dissolution of marriage in the state include:

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