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Belleville Family Law And Criminal Defense Blog

Could you go to rehab instead of jail via Illinois drug court?

An addiction can impact every area of your life, even before you find yourself dealing with legal consequences. Once law enforcement officers get involved and you wind up charged with a crime, your addiction could very well completely derail your future.

A conviction related to addiction, even if you are only accused of possession, could impact your ability to obtain student aid if you want to go back to school and keep you out of a good job. It could even prevent you from volunteering at your child's school as a chaperone for a field trip.

What are your parental rights and responsibilities in Illinois?

Not so long ago, the Illinois family courts referred to determinations about the future of children as custody decisions. However, the term custody implies ownership of an item and does not honor the true nature of relationships between parents and children.

As a result, Illinois lawmakers have adjusted the language of the state's family code to refer to the allocation of parental rights and responsibilities instead of custody. Many divorcing couples find this terminology confusing. That confusion can lead to mistakes in strategy when planning for divorce. After all, how do you learn what your rights and responsibilities as a parent really are?

Mediation can help you file an uncontested Illinois divorce

You know that your marriage is over, but you don't exactly relish the idea of battling it out with your ex in court. If the thought of a public divorce leaves you anxious or if you can't imagine spending the time and money necessary to litigate your divorce, uncontested divorce filings are probably the best option.

Unfortunately, filing an uncontested divorce requires that you and your ex agree on all the terms for your divorce. It is relatively unusual for couples separating to remain in perfect agreement about what is fair and reasonable for their relationship, children and possessions.

Addiction and drug treatment programs

If you were sober, you'd never break the law. You don't have some inherent drive to cause trouble. You're a pretty high-functioning individual. You have a good job, an education, a family and everything else that society expects of you. When it comes to most laws -- theft, assault, etc. -- you never have a problem. You consider yourself a good, law-abiding citizen.

Unfortunately, you are rarely sober. You're an addict. You suffer from a disease. It drives your actions and makes you do things that run counter to everything else in your life. This includes possessing and using illegal drugs and alcohol.

Is it time to move to a new state with your child?

Imagine you only came to Illinois because your ex-husband got a new job. This is not your home. You never liked it, and the only thing you've wanted since you got here was to be closer to your family. But you're a mother and you share a child with your ex, so you're not free to simply pack your bags and go. There are legal procedures that must be followed or you could risk your parental rights.

When parents have shared legal custody -- even if the child lives full-time with one of the parents and the other parent has visitation rights -- the custodial parent (whom the child lives with) will usually need to obtain permission from the other parent before moving away. Without said permission, the noncustodial parent with visitation rights can block the other parent's move. Most child custody decrees and agreements specifically state that neither parent can move to another state without the other parent's permission. Doing so without court approval could cause the parent who moved to lose custody.

The step-by-step process required to establish paternity

Fathers who had children without being married to the woman hundreds of years ago were at a severe disadvantage. Without being married, it was usually impossible for them to prove that the child was theirs without the mother's agreement. These days the situation is different. Fathers can initiate the process of legally establishing paternity, and with DNA evidence, they can show that they are the biological fathers of their children.

If you're a father seeking to establish paternity, here are a few details you might want to understand:

Red flags that your spouse is hiding assets in your divorce

Hiding assets during divorce is not entirely uncommon; therefore, if you suspect that your soon-to-be ex is being less than financially honest, you should look deeper into the situation immediately.

Fortunately, with a little bit of forensic accounting, most spouses can unearth what's going on with their other half's finances, especially when they make a formal request in court for additional information.

When could a parent lose parental responsibility?

If you have children whom you love and adore, it's terrifying to think that you could lose parental responsibility of your children. However, this can happen in Illinois when certain circumstances are present.

If you're worried about losing parental responsibility -- or if you're a parent advocating for sole responsibility of your kids and want to file a petition to remove the other parent's status -- you might want to learn about the reasons for losing parental responsibility below.

Make a plan for telling your children about the impending divorce

Parents planning to divorce face an uncomfortable challenge in having to relay the news to the children. Because kids have lived their entire lives with both parents in the same home, learning of the split can be devastating. Younger children might not understand what is going on and older kids can get resentful.

If possible, both parents should be there to discuss the matter with the children. Ideally, you will take time to plan out what you are going to say and how you will handle the situation.

Can these tips help save your marriage from divorce?

Are you facing marital difficulties? Have you come to realize that you need to take action or your marriage is in serious danger of ending in divorce?

Saving your marriage is easier said than done, but you owe it to yourself to try. Although you may feel alone, there are many other people in the same position as you. Also, your spouse is probably sharing many of the same feelings.

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