parenting plan, DuPage County family law attorneysWhen you are in the midst of a divorce, it may seem very tempting to just sit back and the let a judge make the difficult decisions. Of course, this approach fails to account for the multiple court appearances that will be probably be necessary, and the fact that you will still need to provide the court with all of the information and evidence relevant to your case. Divorce laws in Illinois explicitly promote amicable agreements between divorcing spouses whenever possible. Divorcing parents, in particular, are expected to work together in developing a plan for cooperative parenting and protecting their children’s best interests.

Parents Know Best

There are many examples in Illinois family law indicating that a court must presume that parents will act in the best interest of their child. This is based on the idea that, unless proven otherwise, parents are equipped to fully understand the situation at hand and to make decisions for their child that are ultimately beneficial.

Under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, the same concept applies to co-parenting and the allocation of parental responsibilities. Rather than assuming that courts should make parenting judgments, the law requires divorcing parents to develop a strategy for parenting together. The plan, of course, must be reviewed and approved by the court, but the court will only make changes or enter a judgment of its own when absolutely necessary to protect the child’s interests.

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testosterone, Wheaton family law attorneysWhen two people enter into a relationship, the quality of that relationship is typically defined by how each person treats the other. Outside factors such as finances, children, and employment-related stresses certainly play a role, but the behavior of the individuals involved is usually the determining factor in whether the relationship lasts or not.

Science has long studied the link between hormones and human behavior, particularly in regard to how such hormones affect sexual relationships. High levels of testosterone in men, for example, have been regularly linked to attracting sexual partners and more aggressive sexual behavior. Relatively little research, however, has been conducted to examine how testosterone levels may affect other aspects of human sexual relationships. A new study from a research team in Canada sought to do just that.

A New Look at Long-Term Relationships

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, Illinois child custody lawyer,Lawyers often develop long-term professional relationships with their clients, especially when the attorney is only one of a handful of attorneys in the local area (as is often the case in rural parts of the state). The same attorney a young couple consults for advice during their first home purchase is likely to be the same attorney the couple goes to when looking to start a new business or when they need to establish and amend their estate plan. The trust and feelings of comfort that such a professional relationship engenders are not easily replaced. When the couple determines that their marriage is not salvageable and a divorce is needed, both spouses may run to the same attorney they have known and turned to for years. Not only may this attorney not be the best choice to handle their divorce, but ethical rules governing conflicts of interest may also prevent the attorney from representing either of the spouses during the divorce.

What Is a Conflict of Interest?

Professional rules that govern the conduct of attorneys are clear: an attorney owes an obligation to his or her client to advocate forcefully on their behalf and to remain loyal to that client’s best interests. Even after a lawyer has ceased actively representing a client – for example, the lawyer had drawn up a will years ago at the request of a client and the client made no further requests for service or assistance – the lawyer owes a duty of loyalty to that client. For example, that lawyer may not use information he or she learned about the client during the course of representation (i.e., lists of assets or other financial information discovered during the course of representation) to sue the client or take an adverse action against the client on behalf of a new client. When a lawyer cannot give a present client his or her independent judgment and loyalty because of ethical obligations to previous clients, a conflict of interest exists and the lawyer must excuse him- or herself from representing the new client.

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