The Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C.

630-409-8184

1444 North Farnsworth Avenue, Suite 307, Aurora, IL 60505

The structure of the American family is drastically changing. Even though the majority of children are still raised in households with a married mother and father, that number has been decreasing over the years. According to the Pew Research Center, less than half of American children are living with both of their parents in their first marriage. Family structures in the United States have been changing and now include blended families with step-parents and children, parents who cohabitate and LGBT families. According to The Williams Institute, about half of LGBT women and a fifth of LGBT men are raising a child. The Case Recently, an Illinois court ruled that a woman has parental rights to a child that was conceived in her lesbian marriage. The woman’s former wife had sought a sperm donor to carry the child that was to be raised by the both of them. When the child was born, both parents identified themselves as co-parents on the birth certificate but split seven months after the birth. Even though the woman has no biological connection to the child, she was granted parental rights and partial custody of the child by a Winnebago County court. Determining Parentage Under Illinois law, a person is considered to be a parent of a child if the mother of the child and the person entered into a marriage, civil union, or other legal relationship before the birth of the child and the child was born during the time of the relationship. Using this law, the mother seeking parental rights in the case involving her non-biological child had a right to seek custody. Illinois Parental Rights Laws

According to Illinois law, parents can assert rights involving their non-biological child and they can also be held responsible for providing child support payments.  In the state of Illinois, parental responsibility consists of two things - significant decision-making and parenting time. Significant decision-making consists of things such as:

  • Education, including the choice of schools and tutors;
  • Health, including all decisions pertaining to the medical, dental and psychological well-being of the child;
  • Religion;
  • Extracurricular activities; and
  • Unless an agreement by both parents is submitted that details the allocation of parental responsibilities, the court will determine which responsibilities are allocated to each parent.
Determining Factors

In the event that the parents can not come to an agreement in determining parental responsibilities, the court will determine the responsibilities that each parent is accountable for. When making these determinations, the court looks at these factors:

  • The wishes of the child;
  • The child’s adjustment to his or her home, school and community;
  • The mental and physical health of the child and both parents;
  • The ability of the parents to cooperate, or the level of conflict between them;
  • The level of each parent’s past participation in parental responsibilities;
  • Any prior agreement between the parents involving parental responsibility;
  • The wishes of the parents;
  • The child’s needs;
  • The distance between the parent’s homes, the difficulty of transporting the child to and from the homes, each person’s daily schedules and the parent’s ability to comply with the arrangement;
  • The willingness and ability of each parent to encourage and facilitate a relationship between the other parent and the child;
  • The likability of abuse by either parent to the child; and
  • Whether one of the parents is a sex offender.
Seek Help from an Illinois Parental Rights Lawyer Navigating the court system when you are seeking custody arrangements for your child is difficult and can be confusing. Having an experienced Illinois parental rights lawyer with you can provide a sense of relief and support. The Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C. can help you figure out what is best for you and your child. Call 630-409-8184 to schedule a consultation.

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relocation, DuPage County family law attorneyUnder Illinois law, if you are subject to a parenting plan or child custody order and you wish to move to a new city or state with your child, you will probably need the permission of the other parent to do so. If the other parent does not consent to your move, you have the option of asking the court to override his or her objections. When the court takes up a relocation case, it must give consideration to a number of factors to determine if the relocation will ultimately serve the child’s best interest.

Relocation Defined

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act provides that a relocation is more than just a simple move. You are permitted to move with your child within a certain radius of current home without needing anyone’s approval. If your move exceeds that radius, however, it is considered a relocation by law. A parent with the majority of the parenting time or equal parenting time must seek the other parent’s consent—or that of the court—for a move with the child that is:

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parenting plan, DuPage County family law attorneysIf you are a divorced, separated, or unmarried parent, holidays can present a number of rather unique challenges. In most families, holidays are a time for getting together with loved ones, many of whom who have not seen one another in some time—possibly since the same holiday last year. Of course, parents want their children to be part of the festivities and to visit with family members who may have traveled a great distance for the occasion. If you are subject to a shared parenting agreement, however, it may take some negotiation to figure out where your children will be spending the holidays.

Do Not Wait

While November may have only just started, Thanksgiving is less than three weeks away. This means that you and your child’s other parent should not delay in making plans regarding your holiday parenting time. The first thing you should do, however, is to check your existing parenting plan document, as many such plans contain a holiday parenting time schedule created years in advance to reduce confusion. If your plan does not include a holiday schedule or provides that you will negotiate a reasonable agreement each year, it is time to start preparing for winter holidays.

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Tparents, Aurora divorce attorneyhe decision to file for divorce is always a difficult one, but the challenges are often magnified when the situation involves children. While issues like marital property and spousal support are certainly important, the future of your children and your parental rights should never take a back seat to more material concerns. The judge overseeing your divorce has authority under the law to issue orders regarding your children, but the process should begin with the two people who know your children the best: you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse.

Statutory Encouragement

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act presumes that divorcing parents will have an interest in developing a parenting plan that fits their individual circumstances and serves the best interests of their children. Therefore, divorcing parents are expected to draft and submit a proposed arrangement to the court. Each parent may draft a separate plan or the parents can work together on a single proposal. If the parents submit a jointly-drafted plan, the court must review it to be sure that it is reasonable and that the child’s interests are fully protected.

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alcohol, DuPage County family law attorneyMany marriages are gravely damaged or even destroyed by substance use every year. Addiction to drugs and alcohol puts additional stress on a relationship, builds resentment between spouses, execrates financial hardship, and can sometimes contribute to infidelity.

Troubling Numbers Regarding Drinking and Divorce

A study published in Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs gives numerical data to this correlation.  Researchers from the University of Michigan studied more than 17,100 individuals in order to compare divorce rates involving people with a serious alcohol-use problem and with that of those that did not. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the divorce rate of those couples which included an alcoholic spouse was higher than the divorce rate of those couples which did not report an issue with alcohol. Specifically, 48.3 percent of individuals with an alcohol-use problem were divorced at some point in their lives while only 30 percent of individuals without an alcohol-use disorder were ever divorced.

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The Law Office of Matthew M. Williams, P.C.

630-409-8184

1444 North Farnsworth Avenue, Suite 307, Aurora, IL 60505

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