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DuPage County paternity attorney DNA testingYou might think being able to use science to determine paternity with absolute certainty through DNA testing would make family law cases much easier, especially when it comes to defining child custodychild support, and parenting time. However, the truth is that it can actually complicate things even more than intended. Here is how introducing DNA testing into the legal process has changed paternity, fatherhood, and father's rights:

Why Paternity Is So Complex, Especially Now With DNA Testing

Paternity has always been a complex issue, but before DNA testing, according to the law, it was relatively simple: if you were married, and your wife had a baby, you were considered the father. However, as many people know—and even knew then—it is rarely that simple in actuality. Now that medical technology has caught up with the dilemmas surrounding paternity, DNA testing has provided the courts with an exact, indisputable science to determine the identity of a child’s father.

You might think this has made things easier, but it has actually caused great cognitive dissonance for many fathers. A father may spend years thinking a child was his and raising that child as his own, only to discover during the divorce process that he is not the child’s biological father. He would not want to disrespect and lose that beautiful relationship with his son or daughter just because he did not want to be responsible for child support payments. At the same time, he may feel a sense of resentment when paying support for a child that was not even his. What is a father to do?

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DuPage Count divorce attorney child custody order modificationAfter your divorce, if certain circumstances change with regards to your co-parent, you might want to consider the modification of child custody orders. However, doing something like petitioning for sole custody of your children or significantly altering parenting timechild visitation rights, allocation of parental responsibilities, or parenting plans can often be a contentious and complex legal issue. You need to be sure you have a strong case to request such modifications. Below are some signs it might be time for you to request modifications of child custody orders or other orders pertinent to parenting.

5 Warning Indicators That Child Custody Modification Is a Good Idea

While many indications that you might need to assume sole custody of your children are more obvious than others, there are still plenty of warning signs—both blatant and subtle—that now might be the right time to take legal action. Overall, the most important thing to consider with any order modifications related to your kids is whether making such changes will be in your children’s best interests. Here are some of the most significant reasons to seek such modifications:

  1. You suspect your co-parent is abusing your children, be it physically, sexually, or in any other way that causes harm to them. In most cases, if your children are found to be in immediate harm’s way, this will expedite such modification orders.

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Wheaton divorce attorney for domestic violence and orders of protectionThese difficult times might have revealed many issues and vulnerabilities within marriages, leaving some couples wondering whether divorce might be a good option for them. However, there are other couples who might be dealing with even more problematic situations involving accusations of domestic violence. Since Governor Pritzker issued the original Stay-at-Home Order in Illinois, reports of domestic violence across the state have spiked. Here is an analysis of some of the most common ways that these challenging times have led to such increases in domestic abuse reports:

5 Reasons Domestic Violence Cases May Increase

In some parts of the country, there have been fewer reported cases of domestic violence and abuse during this public health crisis. However, in many regions throughout Illinois, reports of such cases have actually increased. This may be due to an increased potential for conflicts within most homes, including:

  1. Difficulties Related to Being Forced to Stay at Home Together—This public health crisis has forced couples and families to spend much more time alone together than they are accustomed to. In addition to increasing minor irritations, forced proximity can exacerbate existing relationship problems, and arguments or conflicts may become heated, leading to accusations of domestic violence.

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DuPage County divorce lawyer COVID-19 child custodyOver the last few months, it may have become increasingly difficult for you and your co-parent to properly follow your court-approved parenting plan. You both want to fulfill your parental responsibilities and ensure that you can spend a fair amount of parenting time with your kids, but you also do not want to put anyone’s health or safety at risk. Conflicts in these areas may be even worse if you and your co-parent have different philosophies regarding the Illinois Stay-at-Home Order. Governor Pritzker deemed from the beginning of the order that it is essential for parents to honor their court-ordered parenting commitments, but under certain circumstances, doing so might not be a good idea. Here are some things to consider while you both adapt to the “new normal” as co-parents during a crisis:

What to Consider When Addressing Co-Parenting Conflicts

Perhaps your co-parent refuses to wear a mask in public as ordered by the governor, or your co-parent has accused you of not keeping your home sanitary enough during these challenging times. Before getting into a heated argument about these issues, you may want to consider some of these main points when addressing each grievance:

  • Remain calm. Heated arguments will not do anyone any good. During a crisis such as this, contentious disputes can be even more detrimental than under normal circumstances. It certainly will not help your children if they witness any of that behavior, since they likely already dealing with enough stress.

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DuPage County collaborative divorce lawyerThere are a wide variety of issues that will need to be settled in a divorce case, and resolving disputes through litigation in court can be costly and time-consuming, while resulting in less than optimal decisions for your family. To address these matters more effectively and avoid contentious disputes, you might want to consider alternative dispute resolution (ADR), which could include collaborative lawmediation, or arbitration.

Why Use Alternative Dispute Resolution?

Some of the best reasons to use alternative dispute resolution instead of traditional litigation include:

  1. Efficiency—ADR can provide significant savings of both time and money during the divorce process. Making multiple court appearances and preparing for a divorce trial involves significant expenses, and legal proceedings can last several months, or even years. ADR can help you streamline the process of resolving your disputes and allow you to reach a divorce settlement much more quickly while avoiding unnecessary expenses.

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