venue, Rolling Meadows divorce attorneyWhen you are considering divorce, there is a seemingly unending list of things to think about. Will you keep the family home? Who will be responsible for the children? Will you have to pay child support or alimony? In many cases, the implications of the divorce are given more thought than the process itself. The process includes filing the necessary paperwork, responding to the court when required, and remaining in compliance with deadlines and court orders. For many, the first important decision to be made is in regard to where the petition for divorce should be filed. An experienced divorce attorney can help you make the right choice for your unique situation.

What the Law Says

According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, the proceedings for a divorce are to take place in the county in which either the petitioner or the respondent resides. If you are the spouse who files, you are the petitioner, and your spouse would be the respondent. This means that the law presumes that you will file for divorce in the county where you live or where your spouse currently lives. The law also provides that your divorce matter may be redirected to any county within the state of Illinois as needed.

As you might expect, there are exceptions to almost every rule. You have the right to file your divorce in any county that you would like, though you will be required to justify your choice. If you file your petition in a county other than your home county or that of your spouse, you must include with your petition your reasons for choosing that county. For example, assume that you and your spouse spent 15 years of marriage in DuPage County. When you separated, you found an apartment in Cook County, while your spouse moved in with a friend in Kane County. If you filed in DuPage County on the basis that most of your marital life was spent in that county, it would be up to the court to decide whether to keep the case in DuPage County or direct it somewhere else.

Objecting Choice of Venue

If your spouse was the one who filed the petition and he or she chose a county that you do not believe is an appropriate setting for your divorce, you have the right to object. You must provide your reasons for objecting with your initial response to the divorce petition, as such objections will not be heard later in the process.

The law clearly states that the venue for a divorce proceeding is not jurisdictional. This means that each county has the same authority under state law to rule on a divorce and that you cannot appeal a divorce ruling on the basis that the matter was heard in the wrong county.

Legal Guidance for Your Divorce

A divorce can be confusing and complicated, so it is important to have a knowledgeable advocate at your side. Contact an experienced Arlington Heights divorce lawyer to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. Call 847-253-3100 and get the answers you need to whatever questions you may have.



Posted in Divorce | Tagged , , , , ,

no-fault divorce, Illinois divorce attorneyDivorce on the grounds of irreconcilable differences has been available to couples in Illinois for several decades. For most of that time, such a divorce was just one of the options that a couple had, as one spouse could still legally look to the end the marriage based on about a dozen other so-called “fault grounds,” including adultery, abuse, or abandonment. Beginning this year, however, the landscape of divorce in the state has changed such that fault no longer has any recognized place in an Illinois marriage dissolution.

Irreconcilable Differences Only

In the summer of 2015, Illinois lawmakers passed a measure that substantially reformed the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage act on several fronts. The changes included an evolution in the state’s approach to child custody—now called the allocation of parental responsibilities—parenting time, and moving with your child to a new city. The new law also addressed the process of dissolving a marriage, eliminating all fault-related grounds from the statute. As a result, every divorce in the state will only be granted on the no-fault grounds of irreconcilable differences. It does not matter, as far as the court is concerned, which spouse did what to the other, at least as it applies to legally ending the marriage.

Separation Requirements

Over the last several decades, no-fault divorce has become the easiest, least stressful way for a couple to end their marital relationship. It does not require proving one spouse’s destructive or abusive behavior or assigning official blame for the breakdown of the marriage. The only problem, historically, is that the process often took too long to complete. The previous version of the law required spouses to live separate and apart for two years before a no-fault divorce could be granted. The separation could be reduced by mutual agreement, but it could never be less than six months.

Today, however, there is no required separation period for a no-fault divorce in Illinois. If both parties agree, the proceedings can continue immediately. In the event that one party does not agree to the divorce, a six-month separation will be seen as irrefutable proof that the marriage is beyond repair.

Get the Help You Need

If you have questions about the no-fault divorce process in Illinois, contact an experienced Rolling Meadows divorce attorney today. Call Cosley Law Office at 847-253-3100 for your free, confidential consultation and get the answers you need. We are ready to help you seek the happier, healthier future you deserve.



Posted in Divorce | Tagged , , , , ,

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.



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