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IL family lawywidth=Whether it is a divorce, child custody dispute, paternity case, or another family law issue, children certainly complicate legal matters. Parents, grandparents, and other guardians want what is best for the children. When parties disagree about what is best for kids, the issue can escalate into a full-blown legal battle.

Best Interests Factors in Illinois Law

When a legal dispute involves children, the court seeks to determine the case outcome that serves the child's best interests. Of course, understanding what is in the child's best interests is not always easy. When evaluating child-related cases, the court will consider the "best interests factors" listed in Illinois law. These factors include but are not limited to:

  • The child's preferences, taking into account the child's age and ability to articulate these preferences
  • Each party's preferences regarding the outcome of the case
  • The child's needs
  • How adjusted the child is to his or her current home, school, and community
  • The mental and physical health of the parties involved in the case
  • The ability of the parents or other parties to cooperate and work together for the child's benefit
  • The parties' past involvement in the child's life
  • Prior agreements between the parties
  • The distance between the parties' residences and any challenges transporting the child between the parties' homes
  • Whether any restrictions on decision-making or parenting time are necessary due to abuse, neglect, drug or alcohol addiction, or other issues
  • The parties' ability and willingness to encourage a good relationship between the child and the other party
  • Any domestic violence or abuse directed toward the child or other family members

To fully evaluate each of these factors, the court will consider evidence and testimony from a wide variety of sources. Testimony from parents, teachers, child specialists, or child psychologists may shed light on the child's best interests. Evidence in the form of police reports, financial documents, and medical records may be considered. Often, the court will appoint a Guardian Ad Litem to gather information and provide the court with an informed, professional opinion on the case.

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Crystal Lake order of protection lawyerProtection orders and restraining orders are court orders often used to protect domestic violence victims from further mistreatment. The state of Illinois takes accusations of abuse, stalking, and harassment very seriously. Individuals who are worried for their own safety or the safety of their children may be able to get an Emergency Order of Protection (EOP) on the same day on which it is requested.

Unfortunately, many people hesitate to seek protection through an EOP because they do not know how protection orders work or the benefits an order can provide. Read on to learn answers to the most frequently asked questions about Illinois Emergency Orders of Protection.

How Can an Emergency Order of Protection Help Me?

If you have been threatened, harassed, stalked, or abused, you may be unsure of whether getting a protection order will actually help your situation. EOPs are court orders that prohibit a person from certain actions or require certain actions.

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McHenry County Child Support Lawyer Child support helps parents cover the cost of their child’s education, housing, groceries, clothing, and other needs. In Illinois, both parents are expected to contribute to these financial needs – even if the parents are no longer together.

A parent’s child support obligation is based on the parents’ net incomes. If you are like many parents, you may wonder what happens when a parent has zero income due to unemployment. Read on to learn more about how unemployment affects child support payments in Illinois.

What If I Cannot Afford My Child Support Obligation?

Unexpectedly losing your job can make it hard or even impossible to fulfill financial responsibilities like child support. If you lost your job and cannot afford child support, make sure to notify the other parent as well as the court as soon as possible. Failing to pay child support is considered a violation of a court order and can lead to substantial penalties. You may be able to modify the child support order and reduce your payments. However, the court will only reduce your obligation if you can show that the job loss was involuntary, and you are making good faith attempts to regain employment.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_356898968.jpgWith divorce cases, orders of protection are not uncommon. Unfortunately, domestic violence and other circumstances that place people’s safety in jeopardy may be a key factor in someone’s desire to file for divorce as it is. 

While getting a divorce is an excellent first step in distancing yourself from a partner who places you or your children in harm’s way, the divorce process can sometimes take a long time. For people who need protection sooner than later, there are options, known as protection orders, that can keep children out of their partner’s reach before the divorce is finalized. 

Who Can Obtain an Order of Protection?

In Illinois, there are five situations in which someone may be eligible for an order of protection. In order to obtain an order of protection in Illinois, one of the following details must be true: 

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b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_691352821.jpgOrders of protection are legal documents that instruct one party to refrain from contacting, harassing, or abusing the other party. While the exact reason for obtaining an order of protection will differ from one circumstance to the next, many orders of protection are granted in situations where domestic violence, sexual assault, child abuse, or various forms of harrassment are taking place. Since an order of protection is designed to keep someone safe from another person, having an ex who violates a protective order can be terrifying. 

What Happens When an Order of Protection is Violated? 

Violating an order of protection in the state of Illinois is a serious offense. In some instances of protection order violations, the person who has failed to uphold the conditions of the order of protection may be charged with a misdemeanor, which may entail serving jail time and paying a fine. From there, additional consequences may coincide with a failure to uphold the order of protection, ranging from community service requirements or therapy to probation, should the judge deem any of these necessary or appropriate. A felony charge may arise if someone chooses to violate an order of protection on more than one occasion. 

What To Do If Your Ex Violates an Order of Protection in Illinois 

If your ex-partner or spouse violates an order of protection, it is advisable to call the police immediately. By doing so, you will create a paper trail that documents the events as they unfold, which is very important. 

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