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Rockford IL Family Law Blog

Illinois safe haven law creates adoption opportunities

Many families in Illinois would love to have children, but are unable to for one reason or another. There are options available for these families and many of them will turn to adoption in order to have children. There are also many women in Illinois who have children before they are ready to be mothers or who know they will not be able to properly care for their children. As a result, adoption entails family legal issues for both adoptive parents as well as for biological parents.

In response to this issue, in 2001 Illinois passed a safe haven law. This law allows parents to legally abandon their newborn within 30 days of the child's birth. The parents simply need to bring the child to a designated fire station, police station or hospital and inform them that they are leaving their child. These children are then evaluated at a hospital and placed with adoptive families. Many times the children avoid foster care and are quickly with a new family. Since the law was passed over 100 children have been saved due to this law.

What is marital and non-marital property in Illinois?

When two people get married, they start to share their lives with each other. If they should happen to get a divorce, they will also have to divide what they had been sharing. This can cause some disputes if both spouses want a certain piece of property or if one spouse has to give a significant portion of a bank or retirement account to the other spouse. However, under Illinois law, the couple must have an equitable division of the marital property. So, it is important to understand what is considered marital property in Illinois.

The general definition of marital property is all property acquired by either spouse during the marriage. This is includes money earned, retirement accounts, investment accounts, real property, stock options, personal items such as jewelry, automobiles, artwork and many other items.

Learn more about the impending changes to Illinois' alimony laws

The holiday season is officially here. While it's understandable how you can get caught up in everything this entails, it's important not to overlook your legal affairs for too long -- especially if you are considering or are already in the middle of a divorce.

That's because you need to be aware of developments not just in your own case, but in the area of family law as well.

For instance, were you aware that alimony is going to change in a major way here in Illinois?

If not, you can learn how by reading our firm's recently published white paper on this topic entitled "What Illinois' New Spousal Maintenance Law Will Mean For The Average Divorce."

Obtaining help from Illinois Domestic Violence Victim Services

With the recent news surrounding NFL running back Ray Rice's domestic assault case, there is a lot of attention being paid to domestic violence in general. This is an issue that is unfortunately prevalent in Illinois as well as the rest of the nation. Domestic violence, which can involve more than just physical abuse, can be very traumatizing and in many instances the victims need legal help in dealing with the situation. However, many domestic violence victims may not know where or how to obtain that help.

One place victims can initially turn to is the Domestic Violence Victim Services provided by the Illinois Department of Human Services. There are programs located throughout Illinois to assist victims of domestic abuse. The services are free and anyone can use them. There is a helpline that the victim can call without leaving their home or the abuser. The helpline will then determine what is the best plan for the victim.

How does Illinois decide the "best interests of the child?"

Many parents in Illinois have children and are going through a divorce or are no longer with the other parent. Generally, in these situations child custody must be established for the children. Child custody litigation can be very complicated and contentious as often times both parents want to be able to parent their children. The ultimate custody determination is based on the best interests of the child. However, one may be wondering how the Illinois courts determine the best interests of the child.

Penalties for not paying child support in Illinois

Child support orders are fairly common in Illinois. If a child is born out of wedlock or the parents are divorced most likely there is a child support order in place. These orders are designed to ensure the child's needs are being met by both parents and not just the custodial parent. For many children this child support is essential for their upbringing. However, not all parents pay their child support.

In order to combat this problem, in Illinois there are criminal penalties for failure to pay child support. If a parent has not paid child support for at least six months, owes at least $5,000 for past child support or leaves the state to avoid paying child support, they can be charged with a misdemeanor. The parent could be sent to jail and fined additional amounts ranging from $1,000 to $25,000 depending on how much they owe and how long it has been since they paid child support.

Spousal support at issue in divorce of "7th Heaven" actor

Illinois fans of the popular television show "7th Heaven" may have heard about the current divorce case of actor Stephen Collins, who played the father. Recently an audio recording of the actor, in which he allegedly admitted molesting underage girls in the past, appeared on a popular entertainment website. Collins' wife admits she turned the tape over to police but denies releasing it to the website.

In the divorce case, Collins' wife is seeking spousal maintenance of over $13,000 per month. Her attorney claims Collins will have sufficient assets to pay that amount once the divorce is finalized. Collins' attorney, on the other hand, has stated that his client has lost job opportunities and income after many television stations stopped airing re-runs of the popular show.

Learn more about the evolution of spousal support in Illinois

Our firm recently published an important SlideShare presentation about how alimony, also known as maintenance under state law, is going to undergo a major change. View our presentation below for insight into what the future holds concerning spousal support.

In our presentation, we provide you with information regarding:

How is mediation used in a divorce in Illinois?

There are many marriages in Illinois every year. Weddings tend to be very happy occasions and, in most cases, the couple is in love. The couples also are generally able to work things out and deal with differences that arise. However, in many marriages, differences arise that the couple is not able to work out. Often times, these marriages end in divorce. Divorces tend to be the opposite of weddings. They are still emotional, but the emotions often involve sadness and/or anger rather than happiness.

Despite this marked change in emotions, many issues need to be resolved during a divorce. Couples need to divide their marital assets, determine whether one spouse will pay the other spousal maintenance and make decisions regarding child custody and child support.

Benefits of an Illinois order of protection

Domestic violence in Illinois is a difficult issue to talk about and an even tougher one to eliminate. There are many victims of domestic violence and it can have very detrimental effects on both the victim and their family. Unfortunately, many victims of domestic violence are not just abused one time. Often there are multiple incidents and the abuse can continue for years. Therefore, it is important to help ensure that the abuser is not able to have contact with the victim.

To help achieve this goal, the victim of crimes such as domestic assault may be able to obtain an order of protection. These orders were created especially for the victims of domestic violence in order to help keep them from harm. To achieve that goal, the order can prohibit the abuser from contacting the victim.