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Arlington Heights family law attorneysThe state of Illinois believes that children deserve to benefit from financial support from both of their children. If your child’s father refuses to pay child support, there are several things you need to know. First, in order to request a child support order from the Illinois family court system, your child’s father must be formally established. There are several ways to accomplish this. Secondly, only child support orders established through the court can be legally enforced. Illinois courts do not have the authority to enforce informal child support orders. If you need help establishing paternity or child support or enforcing a current child support order, a qualified family law attorney can help.

How Do I Officially Establish Paternity?

If you and the child’s father were not married at the time your child was born, the state does not assume paternity. In such a situation, there are three ways that you can establish paternity. First, you and the father can sign a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity and file this document with the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (DHFS). However, if your child’s father does not admit that he is the father of your child, you may not be able to convince him to sign this document. The second way to establish paternity is to pursue an Administrative Paternity Order through the DHFS. Lastly, you can request an Order of Paternity to be established through the court. The father may be required to submit to DNA testing in order to establish that he is indeed the biological father of your children.

How Do I Get Child Support After Paternity Has Been Established?

After the legal relationship between your child and your child’s father is established, you will be able to pursue child support through the DHFS. If you already have a child support order but your child’s father is not paying, he faces several serious consequences. Child support nonpayment in Illinois is punishable by wage garnishments, property liens, driver’s license suspension, and more. In extreme cases, a father who does not pay court-ordered child support can be sentenced to jail. For help establishing child support for the first time or enforcing a current child support order, contact a family law attorney who is experienced in handling child support nonpayment issues.

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Arlington Heights divorce attorneyHas your marriage reached the point where it is no longer a healthy part of your life? A marriage can deteriorate for many reasons, but according to Illinois law, there is only one legal basis for divorce. Thanks to changes to the state’s family law statutes several years ago, a divorce can only be granted on the grounds that irreconcilable differences have pushed the marriage beyond the point of repair.

Understanding Irreconcilable Differences

When Illinois permitted fault-based divorce, such grounds were fairly straightforward. They included behaviors like adultery, repeated mental or physical cruelty, abandonment, and other actions that were easy to understand, even if they were difficult to prove during a divorce. Irreconcilable differences, on the other hand, are rather vague. In fact, there is no single definition of irreconcilable differences contained in the law. Instead, the phrase is understood to mean that the spouses are no longer able to remain in a marital relationship with one another.

It is important to realize that the actions that were once grounds for a fault-based divorce could be contributing factors to a couple’s irreconcilable differences. If your spouse cheated on you, for example, that could be enough for you to recognize that the marriage is broken and cannot be fixed. On your divorce paperwork, however, you will need to cite irreconcilable differences instead of adultery.

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Arlington Heights family law attorneyAs you go through the divorce process, you and your spouse will have many issues to consider and address. For example, you must decide how you will divide your marital assets, make arrangements regarding your children, and think about how you will manage your post-divorce life. In many divorce cases, the issue of maintenance—also known as spousal support or alimony—can be challenging, as it is not easy to “put a price” on the end of your marriage.

You might be perfectly content to allow the court to make decisions about maintenance, but it is important to keep in mind that you have the right to develop an agreement with your spouse that meets both your needs while keeping the court out of the decision-making process.

Cooperate and Communicate

Frankly, divorce is never easy, but more and more couples today are approaching the process with a spirit of cooperation. It is not uncommon for both spouses to reach the mutual conclusion that they would be better off apart than they would be if they stayed married. The spouses still care about one another, however, and have no desire to cause one another unnecessary stress by dragging out the divorce process. With a similar attitude, you and your spouse could develop a spousal maintenance arrangement quickly and efficiently.

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Arlington Heights prenup lawyer

Going through a divorce can be a messy process, especially when it comes to splitting the assets between the two partners. Sometimes, it is hard to agree upon how to divide certain pieces of property, businesses, monetary assets, etc. so that both parties can separate happily. This is why many people do not enter a marriage without a prenuptial agreement. This is a legal and binding document signed before a marriage begins, and it predetermines who is entitled to what assets in case of a divorce.

What Can Be Included in a Prenuptial Agreement?

Illinois law says that issues related to a couple's children, such as child support and the allocation of parental responsibilities, may not be affected by a prenuptial agreement. Things that can be protected by means of a prenuptial agreement include:

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