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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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Hinsdale divorce attorney for child issuesCouples get divorced for many reasons. Maybe you and your spouse have realized that you are two different people who want different things. Maybe you still love each other, but you have grown apart. Or maybe some other type of conflict has occurred, such as infidelity or financial issues. Whatever the reason for the divorce, it is likely that you and your spouse will not be on the best of terms. It is not uncommon for couples to experience contentious divorces, and issues involving children are often some of the most difficult matters to resolve. Sometimes, children can be caught in the crossfire of marital conflicts. Here are a few ways you can protect your children as much as possible during your divorce:

  1. Do Not Fight in Front of the Kids

One of the most detrimental things children can experience is to witness their parents constantly fighting and arguing. High levels of conflict can create a sense of tension and unhappiness in the home, and this can manifest negatively in children. Kids who observe their parents’ arguments are more prone to behavioral problems and emotional issues. During your divorce, you should do your best to avoid arguing in front of your children, forcing them to take sides, or asking them to send messages between you and your spouse.

  1. Keep Routines as Stable as Possible

As you go through the process of ending your marriage, you and your children will probably experience many changes. You and/or your spouse may need to find new living arrangements, your daily schedules may shift, and your life in general will change. For children, all of these adjustments can be difficult, especially when they come all at once. You can help your children transition into these changes by maintaining consistent routines as much as possible. Try talking with your spouse to make sure the same rules are followed in both households, and try to stick to similar schedules for meals, bedtimes, etc.

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Hinsdale divorce lawyer credit scoreDivorce can often have a large impact on your finances. With attorney’s fees, filing fees, court costs, and the asset division process, costs can add up quickly. This is why it is so important to protect your finances during and after your divorce. Many people who are considering ending their marriage may wonder how their divorce will affect their credit score. Having decent credit is extremely important, especially when you are starting your new life as a single person. While getting a divorce will not automatically affect your credit score, there are ways a divorce can be detrimental to it. Here are a few tips on protecting your credit score during and after your divorce:

  • Close all of your joint accounts as soon as possible. This should be one of your first steps in protecting your finances during a divorce. If you have any type of joint accounts with your spouse -- whether those are checking or savings accounts or credit cards -- you should close them in a timely manner to protect yourself. Even if your credit card debt is allocated to your spouse, you will still be held legally responsible for repaying that debt unless you remove your name from the account.

  • Keep paying all of your bills, even if you do not think you should have to. It is very important that you keep paying all of your bills during your divorce, or you could see your credit score start to drop. Until you separate all of your accounts, you must keep making payments on your joint accounts, or both you and your spouse will suffer a drop in your credit score. Even if you just make the minimum payments on things such as credit cards and auto loans, you will be in a much better position than if you did not pay.

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Oak Brook parenting time attorney

There is arguably no relationship more sacred than the one between a parent and child. For children, solid, loving relationships with their parents are crucial for their healthy development and well-being. Because of this, many states, including Illinois, have placed specific emphasis on allocating parenting time to both parents of a child, rather than solely to one parent. Though it may not always be a 50/50 split, most cases involve both parents having parenting time with their children, and it is typically in the child’s best interests to spend time with both parents. However, there may be cases in which a judge finds that it is necessary to place restrictions on parenting time.

When Are Parenting Time Restrictions Appropriate?

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) specifically states that both parents are presumed to be fit to care for their child and that in such cases, the court will not place restrictions on parenting time. In divorce and family law cases, the duty of the judge and the court is to ensure the child is being taken care of adequately. If the court finds that the child’s physical or emotional well-being would be endangered if he or she were to spend time with a parent, then the judge can restrict parenting time for that parent.

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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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