phone stalking, Rolling Meadows family law attorneyCyberstalking is becoming an increasingly common component of domestic abuse. Most cell phones have GPS and location features which could be providing an abuser with a victim’s exact location, and it happens more than you might think.

To determine the extent of the problem, NPR interviewed 70 domestic violence shelters across the United States, and the results are staggering.  Nearly 85 percent of shelters reported that they work with victims whose abusers used GPS to stalk and harass them.  Even more disturbing, three-quarters of shelters have found hidden apps on victims’ mobile devices used to eavesdrop on conversations. Most domestic abuse shelters encourage victims to turn off the location services on their cell phones and to disconnect from social media apps like Facebook to help prevent this.

The Main Goal of Stalking Is to Gain Control

Cell phones are not the only risk related to being cyberstalked. A woman in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, discovered a GPS tracking device in her shoes, which was feeding location information to her abuser. Many abusers will use the information gathered from these types of malware to harass their victims and gain power over them. For example, an abuser may constantly question the victims’ whereabouts and forbid them from going to certain homes or locations.

According to Cindy Southworth from the National Network to End Domestic Violence, stalking behavior is mainly aimed at making a victim feel powerless and controlled.  She writes, “The strategy of offenders is to have complete and utter domination and control of their victims, so it’s not enough that they just monitor the victim.” She says abusers may push the issue by challenging their victims with questions like “Why were you telling your therapist this?” and “Why did you tell your sister that?” or “Why did you go to the mall today when I told you couldn’t leave the house?”

Spyware is disturbingly easy to download onto an unsuspecting victim’s computer, tablet, or phone.  The software allows the abuser to record keystrokes, conversations, location and more. Southworth encourages women and men in abusive situations to be aware of their devices and to be on the lookout for an abuser who knows more personal information than he or she should.

Seek Legal Help

If you have been the victim of cyberstalking by a current or ex-partner, or any other member of your family, an experienced Rolling Meadows family law attorney at Cosley Law Office can help. Call 847-253-3100 for a free consultation today and get the assistance you need in finding the security you deserve.



Posted in Domestic Abuse, Family Law | Tagged , , , , , , ,

postnuptial agreement, Illinois family lawyerPrenuptial agreements are fairly common among married couples in this day and age. They can be used to clarify ownership assets, resolve questions of property division in the event of a divorce, and a host of other legal concerns. However, many couples do not sign prenuptial agreements only to discover a need for such an agreement later in the relationship. In such cases, fortunately, a postnuptial agreement may be an option.

Why a Postnuptial Agreement?

Postnuptial agreements are those conducted after a couple is married, but before any divorce plans—if they ever occur. They may cover many of the same questions as prenuptial agreements, but not all. Some considerations—such as the disposition of assets or debts acquired since the marriage began—are only going to appear in a postnuptial agreement.

One of the common reasons for couples to consider a postnuptial agreement is when one or both partners decide to embark on a new business opportunity or enter into another situation that might put several marital assets at risk. In cases like this, a postnuptial agreement can safeguard some of the marital assets that might otherwise be at risk if the business fails. Another other common reason is when a couple is experiencing problems, but the spouses are hesitant to divorce lest they lose certain assets. If property is a settled question, some people feel more comfortable making a decision about the future of the marriage.

Postnuptial Agreements in Divorce

Some couples, even if they are having problems, elect to postpone getting a divorce, instead choosing to protect their assets with a postnuptial agreement. However, if they do end up deciding to divorce, there is no need to dispose of those assets again. In Illinois, your postnuptial agreement may be incorporated into a divorce decree in its entirety as long as it complies with the tenets of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA). In other words, your postnuptial agreement must not attempt to dispose of any assets or divide any responsibilities that are legally the province of another entity to manage—child support, for example, which must be handled by a family court at the time of the divorce. If the agreement is drawn up according to the applicable law, a divorce court will take its provisions into account when disposing of marital assets and debts, including classifying specific assets as ‘nonmarital’ if the postnuptial agreement has placed them into that category.

Be advised, however, that when drawing up a postnuptial agreement, it is imperative that you and your spouse ensure your interests are protected, which is often done by engaging separate attorneys. If a postnuptial agreement is a collaborative effort, there is less likelihood that it will be ruled unconscionable or unenforceable.

An Attorney Can Help

Some couples see prenuptial and postnuptial agreements as proof of a lack of trust in one’s spouse. Others see them as just one more tool to ensure that all members of the family are well taken care of, no matter what may happen. If you have questions about prenuptial or postnuptial agreements, contact an experienced Rolling Meadows family law attorney. Call 847-253-3100 for a free consultation today.



Posted in Postnuptial Agreements, Prenuptial Agreements | Tagged , , , , , ,

paternity, Rolling Meadows family law attorneyWhile more and more couples are having children before marriage or even eschewing marriage altogether, it is still imperative for any child to have two legally recognized parents. If this step is not taken, your child may miss out on advantages that stem from the achievements or status of their parents—opportunities that could make an enormous difference in their lives.

Paternity Laws in Illinois

The Illinois Parentage Act governs issues of paternity, and it sets out three ways that paternity can be established if the parents are not married at either the time of the child’s conception or birth. If the parents are married, the mother’s spouse is presumed by law to be the child’s other legal parent. To establish paternity otherwise, the parents have three options:

  • Voluntary acknowledgment, demonstrated by signing a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity (VAP) form at the time of the child’s birth or soon after. Both parents will sign the form, meaning it is almost always used in instances where parentage in not disputed;
  • Court hearing. This is the method used when the mother and putative father do not agree on who is the legal father; or
  • A hearing at the Department of Healthcare & Family Services (DHFS), which will only settle the issue of paternity and child support. These hearings will not address parental responsibilities or parenting time.

If the putative father of your child refuses to acknowledge paternity, you will likely need to take him to court or to ask for a DHFS hearing. It is important to note, however, that this works both ways; if you dispute a man’s claim to paternity, he may be able to file a petition asking the court to adjudicate or to settle issues of parenting time. In some states, signing a VAP confers custodial rights on the father, but in Illinois, this is not the case. A father must file to be granted parenting time rights.

Benefits to the Child

When an adult is designated the legal parent of a child, the benefits to the parent are numerous. However, there are also multiple benefits—tangible and intangible—that may be conferred on the child by having both parents in his or her life. Intangible benefits are understandable, such as the security of knowing that both parents love and care for the child enough to be in his or life. In addition, the ability to learn from and share memories with both parents will expand a child’s consciousness.

Tangible benefits that a child receives from having both parents present in their life may include having financial support from both, including medical insurance and the cost of attending college. A child may also be eligible for hereditary benefits—such as scholarships for the children of veterans—if the child has a legally recognized relationship with the person in question.

Call Us for Help

Ensuring that your child has both parents in their life is an important aspect of parenting, and it can -make a critical difference for your future as well as that of your child. If you have questions about the paternity process, contact a Rolling Meadows family law attorney. Call 847-253-3100 for a free consultation at Cosley Law Office today.



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