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Posted on in Family Law

How to Contest Paternity of a ChildIllinois law has presumptions of paternity that help men establish their rights as fathers. If a child was conceived or born during a marriage, the husband of the mother is presumed to be the biological father of the child. If the parents are unmarried, the father can sign a voluntary acknowledgment of parentage (VAP) form that will list him as the biological father on the child’s birth certificate. However, these same laws can become an obstacle if a man believes that he is not the biological father of a child and does not want to be responsible for the child.

Paternity and Marriage

Most husbands have no reason to believe that they are not the biological father to their wife’s child unless they used a sperm donor to conceive the child. If you learn that your wife conceived the child through infidelity, you may understandably be upset and wish to have nothing to do with your wife or the child. However, you cannot sever your financial obligation to the child by divorcing your wife and proving that you are not the biological father. You would still be responsible for paying child support until the child becomes an adult. To deny paternity in Illinois, you must:

  • Sign a denial of parentage form
  • Identify the biological father of the child
  • Have the biological father sign a VAP form

Illinois wants a child to have two legal parents to ensure that they are financially supported by more than one parent. If you cannot identify the biological father, you will still be the legal father of the child, even if a DNA test proves that you are not the biological father. If the biological father refuses to sign the VAP form, you will have to challenge your paternity in court if you want to transfer parental obligations to the biological father.


Receiving Survivor’s Benefits From Workers’ CompensationWorkers who have been seriously injured on the job can take some comfort in the fact that they survived. According to the U.S. Occupational Health and Safety Administration, 5,147 workers in the U.S. died in 2017, which is more than 14 workers a day. When someone dies on the job, it is their family that suffers the most – both emotionally and from the loss of a financial provider. Illinois’ workers’ compensation system allows surviving family members to receive benefits when someone has died due to a work-related incident.

What Can You Receive?

The death benefits paid to survivors is equal to two-thirds of the deceased worker’s gross weekly wages from the 52 weeks before their death and also includes compensation for funeral expenses based on the average rate in the state. The benefits will be paid at the same interval as the worker received their wages, or weekly if that is not feasible. Twice a year, the state adjusts the maximum and minimum weekly benefits that survivors can receive based on the cost of living. Until Jan. 14, 2020, survivors can receive no more than $1,529.84 per week and no less than $573.69 per week. Beneficiaries can also negotiate to receive the payments in a lump sum.

Who Can Receive Benefits?

Workers’ compensation benefits are meant to go to the people who were financially dependent upon the deceased worker:


How Holiday Decorating Can End in InjuryWhen it comes to holiday-related injuries, people may think of classic comedies such as “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.” While the accidents are played up for comedic effect in the movies, holiday injuries are real and no laughing matter for those who are hurt. According to one study, Christmas decorations injured around 173,000 people in the U.S. from 2007 to 2016. Recovering from an injury can put a damper on your holidays, which is why you should be careful when decorating in and around your house. In some cases, a faulty product may cause your injury, which could allow you to seek personal injury compensation from the manufacturer.

Outside Decorations

Decorating your house can be dangerous because you may be installing lights and hanging objects from high places. There is always a risk of electrocution and fire when handling electricity. Climbing up a ladder or onto your roof puts you in a precarious position, particularly if you are dealing with ice and snow. Falling from the top of even a one-story home may cause broken bones, head trauma, and other serious injuries. You can protect yourself while putting up outside decorations by:

  • Waiting for a day with clear weather
  • Removing snow and ice from surfaces
  • Replacing strings of lights that have exposed wires and broken bulbs
  • Testing your ladder to make sure it is stable

Indoor Decorations

The largest decoration hazard inside your home is likely your Christmas tree. Whether you have a real or artificial tree, it can injure you if it falls on you or catches on fire. Broken ornaments can cause cuts, and leaving small ornaments or hooks in the reach of young children could be a choking hazard. Illuminating your tree with lights once again brings risks related to electricity. You can protect your family against indoor decoration injuries by:


Auto-Brewery Syndrome Can Affect BAC TestAs odd as it may sound, it is possible for someone to ferment alcohol in their gut without having had any alcohol to drink. It is a rare condition known as auto-brewery syndrome or gut fermentation syndrome. People with this syndrome can be falsely suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol because a blood alcohol concentration test will give an inaccurately high reading. If you can prove that you have auto-brewery syndrome, you may be able to get your DUI charges dismissed, but this defense rarely applies.

How It Happens

People develop auto-brewery syndrome because of yeast or bacteria that grow in their gastrointestinal system – the same type of yeast that is used to ferment alcohol. Auto-brewery syndrome is most commonly diagnosed in people who have other conditions, such as diabetes, obesity, Crohn’s disease, and short bowel syndrome. Auto-brewery syndrome can cause the same symptoms as alcohol intoxication, such as:

  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of coordination
  • Vomiting
  • Belching
  • Disorientation

Unlike with consuming alcohol, a person with auto-brewery syndrome cannot reasonably predict when these symptoms may occur. Physicians may treat the syndrome by prescribing anti-fungal medicines and recommending that the patient goes on a low-carbohydrate diet.


Divorcees Must Divide Debts Along with PropertiesA couple in a marriage often must share the good and the bad. The same concept extends to the division of property during divorce. Just as divorcees in Illinois are promised an equitable share of marital properties, they also must take on an equitable share of their marital debt. Couples with low amounts of debt may be able to divide it with little arguing or even repay the debts before the divorce. They may have a greater disagreement if faced with large debts, such as home mortgages, credit card bills, and student loans.

What Is Marital Debt?

As with marital properties, any debts that you incur during your marriage are assumed to be marital debts. Debts created by one person before your marriage are nonmarital debts unless the other spouse agreed to share liability for the debt. If you are unsure whether a debt is marital, you should check your agreement with your creditor to see whether both of your names are on it.

How to Divide the Debt

An equitable division of debt does not mean you have to divide it equally between each other. The law requires you to divide the debt in a way that is fair to both sides, which may be influenced by factors such as:

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