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Naperville family law attorney guardian ad litem

Not every divorce is amicable, and some are highly contentious. In certain situations, parents may be unable to reach an agreement about the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time, and these matters may be left up to a judge to decide. In these cases, a guardian ad litem, also known as a “GAL,” may be appointed by the court. A GAL serves as an attorney who represents the children, ensuring that their best interests will be protected. In a sense, they act as the “eyes and ears” of the courtroom. It is important to understand the legal role a GAL plays and how they may affect your case. 

A Guardian ad Litem’s Duties

Because a GAL’s job is to represent a child’s best interests, they are carefully vetted. To become a GAL, a person must complete extensive education, including training on how to recognize signs of abuse and/or neglect. 

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DuPage County allocation of parental responsibilities attorneyA divorce can be challenging for all the involved parties, including for a child the couple had together. Many changes will take place once the final decree is issued. Whether you and your spouse and your attorneys plan to resolve the allocation of parental responsibilities (child custody) in or out of divorce court, you will want to make sure you are putting your child’s best interests first. According to the United States Census Bureau, about five out of every six custodial parents were mothers (82.5 percent), and one out of every six were fathers (17.5 percent) in 2014.

When addressing the allocation of parental responsibilities, it is important to weigh these six factors to keep your child’s well-being in mind:

  1. The wishes of your child: In many states, including Illinois, the court will consider the wishes of the child, taking into account the child’s maturity and ability to express reasonable preferences in regard to parenting time.

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Naperville uncontested divorce attorney

The decision to divorce can be difficult for many couples, regardless of whether they were married a few years or a few decades. According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, a divorce may be granted when “irreconcilable differences have caused the irretrievable breakdown of the marriage” and efforts at reconciliation have failed or future attempts to reconcile would not be in the best interests of the family. Illinois is known as a “no-fault” state, meaning one or both spouses do not need to find an issue within their marriage, such as violence, substance abuse, or adultery, to file for a divorce. An uncontested divorce occurs when both you and your spouse mutually agree to the divorce and are able to reach a settlement on the outstanding issues, such as allocation of parental responsibilities, spousal support, child support, and asset/property division.

Reasons to Choose Uncontested Divorce

An uncontested divorce allows you and your spouse to reach a settlement in a quick and efficient manner compared to a contested divorce, in which various issues may need to be settled in court. The advantages of choosing uncontested divorce include, but are not limited to:

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Posted on in Adoption

Winfield family law and adoption attorney

The act of adopting a child can transform lives. Couples who cannot have biological children of their own often provide a loving and safe home for a deceased family member's child, an orphan, or a neglected child. Due to the nature of this responsibility, adoption can be a long and complicated process. Regardless if it is a related, domestic, or international adoption, there are many legal steps to complete. Approximately 135,000 children are adopted in the United States every year. Adoptions can take place through the foster care system, private domestic and international agencies, or between family members. It is important to understand the legal steps for adopting in order to achieve your dream of becoming an adoptive parent. 

The Illinois Adoption Act

The Illinois Adoption Act is the law that governs adoptions in Illinois. This law applies whenever adoption is finalized in Illinois, regardless of where the child was born. As stated by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), adoption “establishes you as a child’s legal parent with all the rights and responsibilities of a child born to you.” A “child,” per Illinois statute, means a person under the legal age of 18. As an adoptive parent, you assume all rights and responsibilities for your child, such as, but not limited to:

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