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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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Posted on in Family Law

modifying parenting time, Crystal Lake Family Law AttorneyParenting children with your former spouse can be a challenging experience, especially when the divorce was contentious. The way your spouse wants to parent may differ from your ideal choices, and this can cause legal problems as one or both parents decide to operate outside of the court ordered plan. However, there are steps that a parent can take to avoid disobeying court orders and still protect his or her children.

Modifications to orders granting parenting time are possible; however, in most cases the parents have to wait two years after the original order is entered before seeking modification, unless certain exceptions apply. In order to modify the parenting plan before the two years, the court must find that the child would be endangered mentally, physically, and emotionally under the current plan. If a parent has become unstable or abusive since parenting time was ordered, it would be possible to seek and be granted a modification to the parenting plan before the two years have passed because this kind of behavior may endanger the child.

After the two years have passed, modification may generally be possible if the parent seeking modification can show changed circumstances. Changed circumstances can include the parent's failure to follow the parenting plan that was previously approved or the parent's change in work hours or location requiring the parent to relocate. As with most decisions involving children, the court is supposed to consider the child's best interests in deciding whether or not to order modification. Depending on the age of the child, the child's wishes may also be considered.

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Posted on in Family Law

paternity in Illinois, Crystal Lake Family Law AttorneysA father has rights and responsibilities to his child, and therefore, establishing paternity can be important when discussing issues of child support and seeking decision making responsibility or parenting time with the child. Paternity of a child can be determined in different ways in Illinois, and can sometimes depend on a man's relationship to the mother at the time of the child's birth.

In today's world, a DNA test can prove whether or not a man is the biological father of a child, and in many situations, this is all that is required to prove paternity. However, legally, a man may be considered a child's father even in the absence of a DNA test if other conditions are met. There are four main ways to establish legal paternity in Illinois:

  • If a man is married to or in a civil union with the mother when a child is born, he is presumed to be the father of the child;

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