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emergency, DuPage County family law attorneysMotions to modify parenting time or parental responsibilities are common, especially if the one parent has experienced a change in their work or living circumstances. However, sometimes a true emergency will happen, and in such a case, an emergency motion may be filed, Relief, however will not always be granted. Alternatively, a motion may be filed as an emergency when it is not one, and it is important to know the difference.

The Process of Filing

The regulations surrounding emergency motions differ from county to county. In Cook County, for example, the requirements are set out in the Rules of Court and are fairly clear, but things may be murkier in other jurisdictions. Emergency motions are generally somewhat different to the standard requests for modification in two major respects: the type of notice required and the requirements as to who must be present. With a “normal” motion, notice must be served on the other party, usually by mail, before a hearing can proceed. Emergency motions require only “emergency” notice (at least in Cook County), which is loosely defined as making at least one reasonable attempt to inform the opposing party of the motion’s filing.

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Posted on in Child Custody

parental rights, Wheaton family law attorneysDespite a common misconception, merely being the biological parent of a child does not grant an adult immediate and total governance of that child’s life. Parental rights manifest when someone accepts legal responsibility regarding a child, and those rights can be lost. Still, there are quite a lot of misconceptions about parental rights that it is important to correct.

Definition of Parental Rights

Generally speaking, parental rights exist in any person who has been legally granted decision-making authority for a child—often referred to as legal custody. Despite the name, parental rights may be apply to anyone who has custody, including grandparents, or even an unrelated person or organization. It is a matter of good public policy and general fairness that, if possible, every child should have acknowledged legal parents. In Illinois, by law, a biological father actually has no legal rights to his child unless he acknowledges paternity.

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Posted on in Child Custody

guardian ad litem, Wheaton family law attorneyDivorce does not only affect you and your spouse. It can affect your extended family, and most certainly, your children. Sometimes, especially if your divorce is drawn out and complicated, it can be useful to have a person who is specifically invested in protecting your children’s interests, as they can occasionally get lost in the shuffle. This is the role of a guardian ad litem (GAL).

GALs in Illinois

A GAL’s role differs in different states. In Illinois, they are essentially advocates for children who the subject of parental responsibilities proceedings. In most cases, such proceedings are part of the divorce process. However, GALs do not concern themselves with questions of property or fault. Their aim is entirely to obtain enough information to make a recommendation on what outcome would be in the child or children’s best interests, though they may not advise the child directly. They do this through interviews with the children and parents and accessing records which might shed light on each parent’s financial, physical, and mental situation.

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Posted on in Child Support

drug, Wheaton family law attorneysIllinois courts weigh a number of factors when allocating parental responsibilities—previously known as child custody—in divorce cases. The ultimate goal is promoting the best interests of the child. These factors include each parent's relative mental and physical health. For example, a judge may take into consideration a parent's alcohol or drug abuse when deciding who the child should live with.

If you have reason to suspect your ex-spouse or co-parent is unable to properly care for your child due to substance abuse, it is important to bring your concerns to the court's attention. You should not, however, make unfounded accusations without proof, nor should you assume that your personal experienced is a substitute for medical evidence.

Court Dismisses Father's Secondhand Allegations Against Mother

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parental responsibilities, Wheaton family law attorneyChild custody disputes often provoke the most heated battles between parties. When it comes to allocating parental responsibilities, the best interests of the children sometimes take a back seat to the stress and anxiety of the parents. Especially when raised in the midst of an already contentious divorce, the resolution of parental responsibility issues may be delayed by weeks, months, or even years.

All of this can take a toll not only on parents and children but the courts as well. Next door to Illinois in South Bend, Indiana, a local newspaper recently reported on how much time family courts consume dealing with child custody disputes. The report indicated that statewide, Indiana courts take 39 minutes of a judge's time for “the average divorce case without children.” In contrast, if children are involved, the judge will spend nearly four times as long—259 minutes on average—dealing with the parties.

There Are Alternatives to Litigation

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