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mchenry county domestic violence lawyerThe Illinois Domestic Violence law prohibits any person from hitting, choking, threatening, or interfering with the personal liberty of an individual within their family or household. Domestic violence is a very serious crime and it is often very difficult for victims to take action. With the help of a family law attorney, victims can petition for an order of protection that can cease any access that their abuser has to themselves or their loved ones.

Why Would Someone Want an Order of Protection?

An order of protection is a very effective way to halt abuse committed by a relative, someone you share your residence with, a caregiver, a significant other, or a previous significant others (for example, an ex-boyfriend). The purpose of an order of protection is to protect a victim of domestic violence by prohibiting the following behaviors:

  • Physical abuse and intimidation


crystal lake divorce lawyerAfter a messy separation, it is not uncommon for one spouse to relocate for a fresh start in life. Moving to a different city or state, can be a much-needed change of scenery, but it can also be a catalyst for confusion if a parent takes their child to a different state. In any divorce case, parents must create a parenting plan that outlines how they will share parenting time and decision-making responsibilities. If a parent or child lives in two different states, however, confusion can come as to where the case for child custody should be filed. In these situations, the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA) provides rules and guidelines to follow to determine which state has jurisdiction over the case.

Determining Home State Jurisdiction

Under the UCCJEA, the child’s home state is the area with the ultimate jurisdiction. The home state is the state in which the child resides or the state in which the child resided in the six months before the custody proceedings. A parent must still reside in the state for it to be considered the child’s home state for jurisdictional purposes. The only time a state other than the child’s home state can proceed with initial custody determination is when the child has no home state or the home state declines jurisdiction. 

Determining Jurisdiction When No Home State Exists

In some cases, a state can decline jurisdiction over a case if it finds that another state would be able to better determine custody issues or if the state finds that the parent committed unjustifiable conduct, such as removing the child from his or her home state unjustly. If a child is found not to have a home state or the child’s home state declines jurisdiction, then there are three other ways to determine the jurisdiction of a case:


crystal lake paternity lawyerWhen a child is born to married parents, that child’s biological parents are presumed by law. The biological mother of a child is obvious -- it is whoever gave birth to the child. When it comes to the child’s biological father, any man who is married to the child’s biological mother at the time the child is born or within the 300 days before their birth is automatically presumed to be the child’s biological father. When a child’s parents are not married at the time of the child’s birth and were never married, parents must go through other avenues of establishing paternity. Paternity is important to establish, both for the father and the child, as doing so establishes certain rights for both.

Ways of Establishing Paternity

When parents are unmarried, there is no presumption of paternity -- the parents must take steps to establish the paternity of their child. The simplest way of establishing paternity for a child is by having both parents sign a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity (VAP). This form can be signed right in the hospital after the child is born, or parents can obtain the form later and file it with the Department of Healthcare and Family Services.

If paternity is contested, meaning either the mother or alleged father do not agree with the supposed paternity, they will have to take further steps to establish paternity. This typically means that all parties are required to submit to DNA testing to determine if the alleged father is indeed the biological father.


Crystal Lake IL paternity lawyerThe composition of the average American family has changed drastically over the years. According to the Pew Research Center, one in four children today lives with parents who are not married. One of the biggest reasons for this is an increase in the number of babies born to unmarried mothers. In 1970, only 26 out of 1,000 births were to unmarried mothers, but in 2016, 42 out of every 1,000 births were to unmarried women. Having a child outside of marriage is common these days, but it can come with its own legal hurdles. If your child is born and you are not married when it happens, you may need to take extra steps to establish paternity for your child.

Voluntarily Establishing Paternity

In Illinois, the paternity of a child is only legally presumed if the mother was married at the time of the child’s birth or within the 300 days prior to the child’s birth. If she was, the man the mother was married to is presumed to be the child’s biological father. If the mother is unmarried when she gives birth, steps must be taken to establish paternity for the child. The easiest way to do this is through a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity, or VAP, for short.

A VAP is a form that the parents must fill out, sign, and either return to hospital staff who will turn it in to the Department of Healthcare and Family Services, or take the form home and send it in at a later date. The form must be signed by both the mother and the father in order to have the father’s name and information added to the child’s birth certificate.


McHenry County family law attorneyWhen a family court judge must decide how parental responsibilities (formerly known as child custody) must be allocated, that decision is always based on what arrangement will be in the child’s best interests. Many parents going through this process are unsure of what the court will be looking for in order to determine their children’s best interests. The following is a brief overview. For a more detailed explanation and how the best interest standard may apply in your situation, contact Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC.

Factors that Contribute to a Child’s Best Interests

The child’s best interests are an important factor when the court decides how parenting time and parenting responsibilities will be shared between the two parents. In many cases, it is in the child’s best interests if the two parents share custody equally, although that is not always possible given the location of each parent or their relationship with each other. There may also be issues where one parent should not have significant parenting time. Here is a closer look at what factors the courts will consider:

  • Child’s needs and adjustment to their current routine - The court will seek to ensure that the parenting arrangement provides for a child’s care needs and minimizes changes to their school and extracurricular activity routines.

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