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Wakenight & Associates, P.C.

1100 Lake Street, Suite 120, Oak Park, IL 60301

DuPage County | 630-852-9700

Mokena | 815-727-6144   Oak Park | 708-848-3159

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DuPage County lgbtq divorce lawyer child custodySince 2013, gay marriage has been legal in the state of Illinois, and since 2015, it has been legal throughout the entire country. Many LGBTQ couples rejoiced in their newfound ability to get married, but they may still have a number of issues to overcome when it comes to LGBTQ families and the legal dynamics of those relationships. One of the issues that LGBTQ couples still face is children and how both parents can have equal parenting rights to those children. Many laws today are still worded to accommodate “traditional” parentage, with a mother and a father being the child’s parents. A handful of states (including Illinois) have developed what is called second-parent adoption, which is useful in both LGBTQ marriages and divorces.

Defining Second-Parent Adoption

Also known as a co-parent adoption, a second-parent adoption is one of the best ways an LGBTQ couple can ensure both parents have a legal relationship with their child. Typically, establishing legal parentage is still almost entirely based on the biological ties a child has with his or her parent(s). In many cases, when same-sex couples have children, one of the spouses is the child’s biological parent, such as when the child is conceived through a surrogate or using a sperm donor.  

Why Use a Second-Parent Adoption?

Marriages between a man and a woman are rather simple when it comes to determining parentage. If the mother was married at the time of the child’s birth, the man she was married to is presumed to be the child’s biological and legal father. In same-sex marriages, legal parentage is not that easy. Even if the parents are married when the child is born, the child is typically not considered to be the legal child of the non-biological spouse. Second-parent adoptions allow the non-biological parent of the child to establish legal parentage, ensuring that their parental rights and relationship with the child are legally recognized.

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Oak Brook divorce attorney child issuesOne of the biggest worries and fears that parents have during a divorce is how the end of their marriage will affect their children. While it is no secret that divorce can put children through some stress and uncertainty, it is often the best action to take for the sake of the family. Children who are raised in unhappy households often have self-esteem problems, trust issues, and in some cases, even behavioral or emotional issues that can follow them for the rest of their lives. Telling the children about your divorce can seem like a daunting task, but these tips can help you have a meaningful conversation:

  1. Tell All of Your Children at the Same Time

Many parents make the mistake of not talking to all of their children together when breaking the news of their divorce. They may think that younger children should be sheltered from the news of a divorce, while older children can be trusted with this information. This often puts unfair and unnecessary stress on older children to keep the secret of the divorce from younger children. It is often best to gather all of your children together and tell them all at the same time to avoid any unnecessary difficulties.

  1. Try to Talk in a Way Your Kids Will Understand

Each child is going to be different when it comes to how much they understand about the divorce and what it all means. Younger children typically have a more difficult time understanding what a divorce is, so simple and clear messages usually work best when explaining things to them. Older children and teenagers tend to need more information to feel satisfied with the news of a divorce, but you should still use caution when revealing details about why the marriage has broken down.

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Hinsdale divorce and hidden assets attorneyIt is not uncommon in marriages for one spouse to handle a majority or all of the couple’s finances while the other spouse has little to no input on these matters. Family law attorneys and psychologists have a specific term to refer to the spouse who has little say in financial matters: the “out-spouse.” When you are the out-spouse, it can be fairly easy for your partner to hide assets or other property in an attempt to keep more than his or her fair share of the marital estate during divorce. Part of the divorce process is dividing up your marital assets so that you and your spouse each get your fair share. To ensure your property is divided fairly, you have to have at least some idea of what your financial situation looks like, which is rarely the case if you are an out-spouse.

The Discovery Process

If you suspect your spouse is hiding assets from you, chances are he or she will not be willing to come forward and reveal those assets and financial records willingly. During your divorce, your attorney will be able to obtain this information through what is known as the discovery process. This process is a way that your attorney can formally ask your spouse for financial records. The court can take further action in pressuring your spouse to provide the required information if he or she remains uncooperative. The basic steps of the discovery process include:

  • Request for documents: Your attorney will ask for access to certain documents, which can include tax returns, bank statements, income statements, loan applications, or any other information that may be necessary to obtain a complete picture of your family’s finances.

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Lombard divorce lawyer for marital homes

If you are one of the lucky people who gets to live out the American dream by buying and owning your own home, you know how rewarding it can be to have a place of your own. When you are married, real estate property becomes more than a house -- it becomes a home. Dealing with your family home can be one of the toughest decisions you will make when dividing your property during your divorce. In many cases, the family home is the most valuable asset a couple owns, both financially and sentimentally.

For the most part, three basic options exist when it comes to dealing with your marital home. You and your spouse can choose to sell the home, one of you can keep the home, or you can both keep the home. Each family situation is unique, so what may be right for one family may not necessarily be right for another. 

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Hinsdale divorce attorney stress coping skills

Stress is a normal part of life. We experience stress every day, whether we are at work, at school, or even just dealing with mundane tasks. While stress is an everyday occurrence, big life events like a divorce can put even more stress on you. Now not only do you have everyday stress to deal with, but you are also dealing with the immense pressure of making decisions that will affect you and your family for the rest of your life. Fortunately, there are certain things you can do to help yourself through this troubling time. Here are a few tips to help keep your stress levels to a minimum during your divorce:

1. Get Your Priorities in Order

Before you even begin making decisions in your divorce, you should know what you want out of the divorce. What is most important to you? Do you want to make absolutely sure that you get your fair share of the marital property? Or are you more concerned with getting the parenting time you want? Figure out what your priorities are, and focus the majority of your time and energy into them.

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