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Posted on in Child Custody

DuPage County child custody attorneyIf you share parental responsibilities regarding your child with a former partner who has proven time and again to be inconsistent and unreliable, terminating his or her parental rights may make the most sense to you. However, under Illinois law, unless there is another party willing to step in and adopt the child, parental rights usually will not be terminated at the request of the other parent, unless there are extreme circumstances involved.

What Does Termination of Parental Rights Mean?

When a person’s parental rights are terminated, it means that he or she is no longer legally responsible for a child. When this happens, the terminated parent no longer is required to make child support payments, but he or she also no longer has rights to parenting time or any say in how the child is being raised.

The Illinois Adoption Act (750 ILCS 50) states that the only circumstances in which a parent’s rights can be terminated are when another person is looking to adopt the child, or when a court has found that a parent is unfit. In most cases, the court will agree that a child will best benefit from the care, or at least the financial support, of two parents. However, parental rights may be terminated if a parent is shown to be unfit for one or more reasons, including:

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Posted on in Child Custody

DuPage County family law attorney divorcing while pregnantMost divorce cases involve a variety of complex issues, but there are some situations that may leave spouses wondering about their rights and how they can protect themselves going forward. One concern that some divorcing couples may face is determining how to proceed when they are expecting a child. Emotional and psychological issues notwithstanding, there are many challenges that may arise when getting a divorce while a spouse is pregnant.

Legal Issues Involved When Divorcing While Pregnant

A spouse’s pregnancy can greatly complicate the divorce process. Some of the issues that may need to be addressed in these cases include:

  • No Simplified Divorce—Although some married couples can get a simplified divorce, this option is not available if the spouses have children together or are expecting a child. This means the divorce proceedings will be more involved, and they may take longer to resolve.

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DuPage County child custody attorney GAL child representativeIn previous blogs, we have discussed the role that guardians ad litem (GAL) play in child custody cases. But GALs are not the type of only objective third party who can work to help judges and determine the best interests of children in Illinois. There are also child representatives and attorneys for children. While all three roles are very similar, there are a few distinct differences between them. It is important to know these distinctions in case a lawyer or judge thinks it is a good idea to appoint one for your child custody case.

The Three Roles and How They Are Different

The three roles of guardian ad litem, child representative, and attorney for children are very similar overall in Illinois law, and the terms are sometimes used interchangeably, even though this is inaccurate. However, each of these roles can serve a different purpose, depending on the case.

  • Guardian Ad Litem—As discussed in prior posts, GALs investigate the children, the parents, the families, any other related parties, and the child’s home life in general in order to develop a comprehensive report that will provide the proper recommendations for a judge with regards to child custody. A GAL will conduct interviews and study the case from the children’s perspective so that they can help make a final determination in the case as a third party.

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DuPage County divorce lawyer for allocation of parental responsibilitiesIn Illinois, child custody is referred to as the “allocation of parental responsibilities,” and divorce and family law cases will focus on the “best interests” of the child when determining how parents will share decision-making responsibility for their children. There are a variety of factors considered when making these important decisions, and they will often be dependent upon the particular dynamics between the child and the parents, making the final decisions quite subjective. Because of this, it can be difficult to predict exactly what will go into making a ruling. However, there are some specific elements of the best interests of the child that judges will consider thoroughly in these cases.

The Definition of “Best Interests”

In many cases, parents will focus on the more tangible best interests of a child simply because they are so much more apparent. These physical best interests include children’s general needs, such as:

  • Food

  • Water

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DuPage County family law attorney for international travelMany families enjoy traveling together, and visiting another country can provide parents and children with an amazing experience that allows them to embrace new cultures. However, when a divorced parent plans to travel internationally with their child, this can raise concerns and legal issues. The other parent may worry about the risks the child may face and how international travel will affect their parenting time. If either parent plans to travel with their child to another country, they will need to ensure that the proper legal procedures are followed.

International Travel Restrictions for Children

When a child is preparing to go on an international trip, certain precautions must be taken before he or she can leave the United States. The child will need a passport for international travel just like every other person. However, there are additional processes that must be followed. If a child under the age of 16 applies for a passport, both parents must:

  • Consent to the passport application

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