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Arlington Heights, IL divorce attorney child support

A divorce may require that child support payments continue for years after a married couple separates, and the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS), Division of Child Support Services (DCSS) has the power to modify child support orders so that they reflect any changes in Illinois law and personal circumstances. Although divorce settlements may require a spouse to pay both spousal support and child support, any modification passed by the DCSS does not apply to spousal support orders. 

Spousal support may also be eligible for modification, but you would have to bring that up with a different department. Navigating the complexities of the Illinois family court system can be challenging, so do not hesitate to reach out to a family law attorney with plenty of experience helping clients modify child support orders.

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Arlington Heights, IL family law attorney DCFS investigation

In March 2020, the State of Illinois banned all visitation between parents and children in the DCFS system with the intent of keeping kids and parents healthy in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Visitation guidelines have changed over time, and if you are a parent who plans on visiting your child anytime soon, it is important to stay up to date with the evolving DCFS coronavirus guidelines. For any remaining questions regarding family law and the DCFS, consult a knowledgeable family law attorney in your area.

DCFS COVID-19 Guidelines 

Initially, all in-person visits between parents and children through the DCFS were banned. Remote visits were still allowed. For a couple of months, many parents were separated even from newborn children. This policy was heavily criticized, and as COVID-19 guidelines have evolved in the last few months, the ban has been lifted as well. However, there are some new rules to follow if you are planning for an upcoming visit. 

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Arlington Heights, IL domestic violence defense attorney

Domestic violence is a serious offense, and Illinois law treats it accordingly. One of the worst elements of the COVID-19 pandemic is how stay-at-home restrictions have led to a rise in domestic violence cases. Many people who relied on the flow of everyday life before COVID-19 to help avoid abusers now find themselves in dangerous situations. However, not all domestic abuse claims are true, and you should be prepared to develop a strong defense if you are accused of domestic violence. Whether an accuser does not fully understand the scope of domestic violence law in Illinois or he or she is making false accusations, the outcomes can still be serious. A domestic violence attorney who is well-versed in all aspects of family law will increase your chances of winning your case, so begin working with one as soon as you can. 

Worldwide Domestic Violence Rates 

Domestic violence rates have risen not just in the United States, but across the globe. For example, at the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, domestic violence hotlines in Spain experienced an 18 percent increase in calls. French police reported a 30 percent increase in domestic violence rates in April. The term “Intimate Terrorism” was coined to reflect experts’ observations that during prolonged confinement, abusers are using nearly the same tactics people would use when holding others hostage. Even the divorce proceedings that many victims were relying on to get them out of these dangerous environments were delayed because of the pandemic. 

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Arlington Heights family law attorneysThe Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) is the agency responsible for investigating allegations of child neglect and abuse. If someone accuses you of harming a child, the DCFS may conduct an investigation to determine the validity of the accusations. The investigation is used to find evidence of child abuse or neglect, determine whether or not the child is at risk of further harm, and find ways to help the family via services in their community. If you have been accused of child abuse or neglect, you could be facing both criminal charges and significant child custody-related consequences. It is possible that your child may even be removed from your home. For help managing DCFS investigations and child custody concerns, contact an experienced family law attorney.

Responding to Accusations of Child Neglect or Child Abuse

Tragically, millions of children are abused and neglected every year in the United States and across the globe. In many cases, intervention by governmental organizations like the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services may save a child’s life. However, not every accusation of child abuse or neglect is credible or well-meaning. In fact, some parents who are involved in custody disputes may make false claims of abuse or neglect in an attempt to sway their child custody case. If you have been falsely accused of harming your child, you may understandably feel shocked and outraged. However, it is important to remain calm and comply completely with any DCFS investigations that may be initiated.

What Happens During a Child Abuse Investigation?

When a report is made to the DCFS about a child who is potentially in harm’s way, the agency will dispatch a child protection investigator to evaluate the veracity of the concerns. A DCFS investigation is not the same thing as a criminal investigation, but DCFS agents often work very closely with the police.

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Arlington Heights family law attorneystepparent adoption occurs when a stepparent wants to adopt his or her spouse’s child. The legal difficulties associated with a relative adoption such as a stepparent adoption are often much different than other types of adoptions. If you are interested in adopting your spouse’s child, speak with a family law attorney experienced in relative adoption cases to get the guidance you need.

Obtaining the Other Parent’s Consent

Many stepparents view their spouse’s child as their own. If you are a stepparent considering adoption, you have probably developed a strong relationship with your stepchild. However, in the eyes of the law, stepparents do not have the same legal rights and responsibilities that a biological parent has. Children can only have two legal parents. In order to adopt your spouse’s child, the child’s other parent may need to consent to the adoption. If the other parent agrees to the adoption, his or her parental rights are terminated, and the stepparent has the opportunity to assume those parental rights.

If the child’s other parent does not want to terminate his or her parental rights, the court will determine whether or not the parent’s parental rights should be terminated involuntarily. For example, if the other parent has been absent from the child’s life for a significant amount of time, the court may terminate the parent’s parental rights through a verdict of abandonment. A parent may also be deemed “unfit” and loose his or her parental rights due to:

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