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Staying Together Not Always Best for KidsWhen spouses consider the pros and cons of getting a divorce, one of the strongest arguments against separation is the negative effect it will have on their children. A divorce disrupts children's lives and can cause immediate and long-term emotional damage. However, parents staying in a loveless or hostile marriage can also hurt children, as they will be exposed to their parents' unhealthy relationship. Divorce is not always the answer in a troubled marriage, but sometimes it is in a child's best interest.

Psychological Impact

Children pick up on the tense emotions parents exude in a toxic relationship, but feel powerless to say or do anything about it. They will internalize those feelings, which can lead to psychological damage, such as:

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Presumptions of Paternity in Your Illinois Family Law Case, family law, establish legal paternity, Crystal Lake family law attorneys, Illinois child support, Paternity PresumptionsFans of daytime television in Illinois may remember the talk show Maury, a show wherein a large number of the participants were either attempting to prove or disprove allegations that they were the parent of a particular child. (Those who remember the show may recall the host's famous line and delivery: “You are [or are not] the father/mother!”)  Any entertainment value aside, being found to be the legal father or mother of a child comes with rights and responsibilities, including the right to visit and parent the child as well as the responsibility of financially supporting the child.

What are Paternity Presumptions?

In cases where the child's other parent may not be immediately known or established, Illinois law provides for certain “presumptions of paternity.” In other words, if one or more of the following situations applies to an individual in relation to a child, a court may presume that person to be a parent to the child. These situations include:

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Posted on in Family Law

What is a Psychological Parent?, Crystal Lake Family Law AttorneyA psychological parent is an adult who develops a strong, parent-like bond with a child without actually becoming the child's legal parent. In many cases, a psychological parent is the child's legal parent's romantic partner. This partner might not be able to legally adopt the child because the child already has two legal parents or because the court feels that such an adoption would not be in the child's best interest.

Illinois recently passed a law granting psychological parents the right to be considered for parenting time and parental responsibilities by the court. One high-profile case involving this law was that of a woman who, claiming to be the child's paternal grandmother, cared for an infant born with opiates in his system for nine months following his birth. After a paternity test determined that she was not biologically related to the child, she sought parental responsibilities for him because she was the only parent he had ever known. After a lengthy court battle involving the child's biological mother, who had previously not been involved in the child's life, the court granted the woman full parental responsibilities on the grounds that she was his psychological parent.

Defining a Psychological Parent

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How You Can Voluntarily Prove Paternity of Your Child in IllinoisThere are numerous reasons why becoming a father is a huge event in your life. Suddenly, you are a big part of someone else's well-being and have a massive responsibility on how someone else will grow up and enjoy their life. People everywhere agree: There is no greater joy or responsibility than being a parent. Legally speaking, becoming a parent also endows you with certain rights and responsibilities, as well. Some of these legal rights and obligations are no small matters and can have a huge impact on both of the child's parents for years to come and, through them, on the child, as well. This is why it is so important for a child's father to voluntarily claim paternity of the child.

Voluntarily Proving Paternity of a Child

For many men, proving that you are a child's father is easy. There is a legal presumption that you are a child's father if you are married to the child's mother. Children born in wedlock are assumed to be the child of the husband and wife.

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child support beyond the court orderSome parents who are court-ordered to pay child support may feel like the system is unfair and that they are being taken advantage of when they are ordered to pay a certain amount because they also provide in other ways for their children. These other costs can include paying for a sport, providing clothes or diapers, or paying for a portion of day care fees. These costs are often as a result of an arrangement with the other parent that came before the court ordered child support.

While every parent should provide for his or her own child, sometimes providing beyond the ordered child support can cause a parent to fall short in supporting other children born in a marriage or relationship that comes after the first child is born. In these cases, if the extra costs are not court ordered, the parent may choose to stop providing them, and instead, just pay the court-ordered child support. However, this may not necessarily end the parent's requirement to provide assistance with these costs.

Child support in Illinois is set according to a statutory formula that awards a certain percentage of a parent's net income depending on the number of children to be supported. A judge has to have a good reason and find it in the best interest of the child in order to deviate from the statutory guidelines. However, under Illinois law, the parent receiving support can also ask for additional assistance with costs related to child care, medical costs beyond those covered through health insurance, educational costs, and extracurricular activities. Support for these costs above the child support amount can be granted if the court finds such costs reasonable. Additionally, if the parent ordered to pay child support has access to employer-provided health insurance, he may be ordered by the court to provide insurance coverage for his child through the employer, and, if he fails to do so, may be ordered to reimburse the other parent for up to 50 percent of the health insurance costs incurred by that parent.

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