paternity, Rolling Meadows family law attorneyPaternity issues are complicated, emotional, and sometimes contentious matters- so much so that some may wonder why it is important or even necessary. Rest assured: this legal process, which is used to establish the biological father of a child, offers numerous benefits for all involved. Understand why you should take steps to legally establish paternity.

Benefits of Establishing Paternity for Mothers

When a married woman gives birth to a child, her husband is automatically presumed to be the father. He is generally the one who will be held responsible for child support, and he is the one who will likely split parenting time with the mother should the marriage end in divorce. The one exception is if a husband or an alleged father contests the validity of the child’s paternity.

In contrast, children born to unmarried mothers have “alleged” (potential) fathers. Before she can seek child support, assistance with health insurance, or other benefits for her child from the alleged father, legal steps must be taken to establish his paternity. Once she does, her child will be eligible for any paternal benefits that the father may be obligated to provide.

Benefits of Establishing Paternity for Alleged Fathers

An alleged father does not have any obligation to their child nor does he have any legal rights. This means that he cannot assert his right to participate in the life of his child. Furthermore, if the mother loses custody, decides to place the child up for adoption, or otherwise loses or relinquishes her parental rights, then the alleged father cannot step in and assert his right to assume custody.

Establishing paternity does not give an alleged father automatic rights to their child. However, it is a big step in the right direction. Legal paternity gives a father a way to pursue parenting time and decision-making power in the life of his child. If the mother’s rights are terminated, either by choice or by the courts, the legally established father is able to assert his right to raise the child.

How Paternity is Legally Established

There are three ways that an unwed couple can establish paternity. If they are both certain that the alleged father is the biological father, both parents may sign a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (VAP). However, parents who are uncertain of the father’s biological tie to the child, they should refrain from signing a VAP form. Instead, they should pursue another method to establish paternity.

Alleged fathers are able to request genetic testing to validate their biological tie to the child. From there, a judge can enter an Order of Paternity in court, or an Administrative Paternity Order can be entered by the State of Illinois’ Department of Healthcare and Family Services. Alternatively, an alleged father or natural mother can contest paternity or file a Rescission of Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity within 60 days of signing a VAP form.

How Our Family Law Attorneys Can Help

Failing to legally establish paternity or accepting an invalid Order of Paternity can have long-term, long-standing consequences. Our Arlington Heights family law attorneys can protect your rights, and the rights of a child that is caught in the middle. Contact us to schedule your initial consultation today.



Posted in Paternity | Tagged , , , , , ,

spousal support, Arlington Heights divorce lawyerFor many years, spousal support, or alimony, was a generally accepted part of the divorce process. When a couple decided to end their marriage, one spouse—usually the wife, statistically speaking—would be a severe financial disadvantage due to roles and responsibilities she assumed regarding the family. In most cases, the wife would also be granted primary responsibility for the couple’s children, meaning that it was even more difficult for her to obtain sufficient employment to support herself and her family. As such, the other spouse—usually the husband—would often be required to make spousal support payments, helping to ease the other party’s financial burden and making the end result of the divorce more equitable.

Changing Society, Changing Expectations

Over the last four decades or so, it has become increasingly more difficult for families to rely on a single income. This shift has been accompanied by a dramatic evolution of our cultural expectations for spouses in a marriage. Today, gender is much less of a factor for most families when determining household and family responsibilities. As times have changed, so has the state’s approach to granting spousal support or maintenance, as it is known in the law.

Currently, the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act provides guidelines for deciding if maintenance is appropriate or not, but makes no guarantees. Spousal support is not automatic under the law, unless the divorcing couple has previously executed a valid prenuptial or postnuptial agreement stipulating that it should be. If left up to the court to decide, maintenance will only be ordered after careful consideration of the couple’s circumstances.

Circumstantial Factors

When deciding whether or not to award maintenance, the court is required to take into account:

  • Each spouse’s income, assets, and resources, including each party’s share of the marital estate;
  • Each spouse’s needs;
  • The realistic earning potential of each spouse and any impairment to earning potential;
  • How long it will take the underprivileged spouse to gain sufficient training or employment;
  • The length of the marriage and the lifestyle established;
  • The contributions of each spouse to the other’s career;
  • The age, health, and employability of each spouse;
  • Arrangements being made for the couple’s children; and
  • Any other factors found to be relevant.

If spousal support is determined to be needed, the law provides formulas for calculating the amount that should be paid and for how long payments should continue. The court retains the discretion to deviate from the statutory formulas when justified by the specific circumstances of the case in question.

Professional Legal Advice

If you are considering a divorce and have questions about spousal support in Illinois, contact an experienced Rolling Meadows family law attorney. Call 847-253-3100 to schedule a free consultation at Cosley Law Office today.



Posted in Spousal Maintenance | Tagged , , , , , ,

divorce weight gain, Rolling Meadows divorce lawyerWhile the feelings of anger, sadness, guilt, and depression often felt after a divorce are far from gender-biased, a new study suggests that men may be more prone to the resulting behaviors and symptoms. They may be more prone to excessive weight gain in the weeks, months, and even years following a divorce. However, the study did find that women were also at risk for weight gain and poor self-care. Understand these risks, its potential impact on your health, and how you may be able to protect yourself against them.

Weight Gain After Divorce in Both Men and Women

Published in Social Science and Medicine, the study tracked the dietary habits and weight gain of 11,577 participants between the ages of 40 and 80. At the beginning of that study, 89 percent of the men and 78 percent of the women were married, and by the second analysis that took place 3.5 years later, 2.4 percent of men and 4.5 percent of the women had been divorced, widowed, or separated.

At each interval of the study, researchers asked the participants to divulge what they ate and how much, giving them a choice of 11 fruits and 26 vegetables. Women did not have a significant change in diet, the authors said, but men consumed 25 percent fewer fruits and vegetables and had diets that were less varied after divorce. This, the study authors said, put men at higher risk for weight gain after a divorce.

Another recent study, conducted by researchers at Ohio University, complemented the results in finding that, while men and women were both at risk for weight gain after a divorce, men typically reported gaining more weight than women. They believed that this might be due, in part, to the fact that women are more likely to gain weight during the marriage than men, while men are actually more likely to lose weight during a marriage. As a result, men may be prone to excessive weight gain after divorce than women.

Potential Complications of Weight Gain and Poor Self-Care After Divorce 

While a small weight gain after divorce may not cause complications among those that are generally healthy, excessive weight gain can carry significant risks, including an increased risk for coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, stroke, gallstones, sleep apnea, and osteoarthritis. These risks are even further heightened for those that were already overweight or suffered from related or similar health complications.

Protecting Your Health after Divorce

If you are going through a divorce and are already beginning to struggle with feelings of sadness or depression, it is important that you first speak with your healthcare professional to determine if therapy, medication, or another treatment may be necessary. In addition, you can work to be more mindful of what you are eating and when. Exercise daily, even if it is a short walk, and reach out to your support system to protect yourself from deeper negative feelings and symptoms.

Reap the Benefits of a Skilled Divorce Lawyer

The experienced attorneys at Cosley Law Office have been helping clients dissolve their marriages for more than 20 years. Skilled and compassionate advocates, we understand the emotional and financial stress that often stem from a divorce. We work hard to make the process as smooth and seamless as possible by providing honest, responsive representation for your divorce. Schedule your free initial consultation with our Rolling Meadows divorce attorneys today by calling 847-253-3100.


Posted in Divorce | Tagged , , , ,