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Can I Still Prove Paternity in Illinois If My Child’s Father is Deceased?Legally recognizing your child’s father, in a process known as establishing paternity, is important for a number of reasons. Your child is entitled to know their biological father, have a relationship with him, and know his family history. Your child is also subject to financial benefits from their biological father, such as social security benefits, health and life insurance coverage, veteran’s benefits, and any inheritances. Proving paternity is not a difficult process if all parties cooperate. Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity (VAP) is a form that both parents complete to establish who the child’s father is when the parents are not married. If the parties do not cooperate, you can turn to court orders for DNA testing to prove who the child’s father really is. However, for alleged fathers who recently passed away, the process can become slightly more complex.

DNA Testing

With modern technology, it is possible for you to determine your child’s father even after his passing. It is still relevant to make this legal determination for your child’s knowledge and for any financial legacy that your child may be subject to. When proving paternity using DNA testing, the child, mother, and possible biological father will all submit to DNA sampling, often through a cheek swab or blood test. Since the child is half made up of the mother’s genes, the alleged father’s genes must match up with the other half. This is a quick and definitive test that a medical professional can perform and send to the court for evidence.

You may think that since your child’s alleged father passed away, all attempts at definitively knowing his father are gone. Luckily, DNA testing can be performed on the man’s immediate family members and be used to make this determination. Since men have XY chromosomes, and women have XX chromosomes, one can test the males of the alleged father’s family to see if the Y chromosome matches your child’s Y chromosome. The Y chromosome is passed, unchanged, down the male line, and is different once the male lineage is broken. In other words, if you have a son, he will have the same Y chromosome as his father’s father and brothers. For female children, the testing would be the same, but the alleged father’s female family members would be submitted to these tests.

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McHenry County, Crystal Lake, Crystal Lake IL, criminal defense, attorney, lawyer, Driving under the influence is a criminal offense and is treated seriously under Illinois law because of the danger it poses to yourself, your passengers, and other users of the road. First-time DUI offenses are no exception, though penalties are typically less severe in recognition that the behavior may indicate a one-time lapse in judgment rather than the start of a pattern of endangerment. If you have not been convicted of a DUI before, you may be concerned about the penalties you could face if it does happen to you.

Consequences for First-Time DUI Offenders

If a law enforcement officer suspects you of driving under the influence of alcohol or another substance, they may pull you over and ask you to submit to a field sobriety or blood alcohol content (BAC) test. If you refuse a chemical test, or if the results indicate impairment above the legal limit, you can be arrested and may face consequences including:

  • Court Supervision: First-time offenders may be sentenced to supervision instead of being convicted, which allows you to avoid some of the penalties for DUI and for the charges to be dismissed if you comply with the terms of the supervision order.
  • Fines and Court Costs: If you are convicted of driving under the influence, you can face the consequences of a Class A misdemeanor, including a fine of up to $2,500. You will also likely be responsible for paying for court costs associated with your trial.
  • Jail Time: Class A misdemeanors can carry a sentence of up to one year in county jail, which may be reduced due to good behavior.
  • Suspended or Revoked License: Your driver’s license can be suspended after a DUI arrest or court supervision order, and it will be revoked for at least a year in the case of a DUI conviction. First-time offenders will often be required to install a BAC ignition interlock device in their vehicle during a suspension. You may apply for reinstatement of your license at the end of the suspension or revocation period.
  • Court-Ordered Programs: For a first-time DUI offense, you may be required to participate in a drug or alcohol treatment program or a DUI education program as part of your sentence.
  • Increased Penalties for Exacerbating Factors: Even if you are a first-time offender, you can face higher penalties and sometimes felony charges if your BAC is 0.16 or higher, if you have a child passenger in your vehicle at the time of arrest, if you are driving under the influence in a school zone, or if your impaired driving causes an injury or fatality.

Contact a McHenry County DUI Defense Lawyer Today

Many first-time DUI offenders can avoid being charged with the full extent of the possible penalties with the help of an experienced defense lawyer. At Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, we can help you obtain supervision or negotiate for a fair sentence. For a free consultation with a Crystal Lake DUI defense attorney, call 815-338-3838.

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How Can a Prenuptial Agreement Affect Your Divorce?Coming to a settlement that both parties agree to can be challenging even in the most amicable divorce. There are many important factors to consider, including division of assets and debts, spousal support, child support, parenting time, and parental responsibilities. Couples who are considering a prenuptial agreement or who already have one in place may expect that it will prevent any major disagreements in the event of a divorce, but it is important to keep a few things in mind about how a prenup may actually impact the divorce proceedings.

A Prenup Can Ease Financial Negotiations in a Divorce Settlement

Under Illinois law, a prenuptial agreement can address a variety of important financial considerations that are likely to come up in a future divorce. Couples can determine which of their properties will be considered marital and non-marital assets, which may be beneficial if one or both spouses have family heirlooms or businesses that they want to retain. Couples can also agree as to how assets and debts will be distributed in the event of a divorce, as well as whether any spousal support will be paid.

If both spouses entered the prenuptial agreement in good faith, divorce settlement negotiations regarding finances often proceed smoothly, especially if the divorce is amicable. Because there are few, if any, additional property decisions to be made, divorcing couples have more time and energy to focus on other aspects of the separation.

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What Are Common Injuries Suffered in a Motorcycle Accident?The summer months are a popular time to ride a motorcycle because of the good weather and road conditions, but motorcyclists should be aware of the risks of accidents and injury associated with their vehicles’ smaller size and lack of enclosed protection. In Illinois in 2018, motorcycle accidents accounted for less than 1 percent of all automobile accidents, but motorcycles were involved in 12 percent of fatal accidents and 3 percent of accidents resulting in injury. In total, more than 2,000 motorcyclists were injured in accidents in 2018, and more than 1,000 were killed or suffered an incapacitating injury.

Some of the most common injuries for motorcyclists include:

  1. Broken Limbs: Broken and fractured arms and legs are common in motorcycle accidents, either from the force of impact of the initial crash or collision with the road surface or stationary objects on the roadway.
  2. Lacerations and Road Rash: When motorcyclists are thrown from their vehicle and skid across road surfaces, they often suffer skin abrasions and lacerations that can leave lasting scars.
  3. Fractured Ribs: Motorcycle accidents often result in multiple fractured ribs, especially for drivers over 40 years of age, which can lead to significant internal bleeding.
  4. Internal Organ Injuries: Impacts to the chest and abdominal area in a motorcycle wreck can puncture the lungs and damage the kidneys, liver, and other internal organs. Internal injuries can be especially dangerous because they are not always immediately apparent after the accident.
  5. Spine Injuries: Spine fractures and spinal cord injuries tend to occur when a motorcyclist collides at high speeds with another vehicle or a stationary object on or near the road. These injuries can be fatal or lead to long-term paralysis.
  6. Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBIs): Forceful blows to the head occur frequently in motorcycle accidents and can cause concussions and other traumatic brain injuries that can prove fatal or impair regular brain functions including memory, speech, senses, and emotions. Wearing a helmet can prevent or reduce a significant number of these kinds of injuries.

Any of these injuries can have severe, long-lasting impacts on a motorcyclist’s health and quality of life. If you are a motorcyclist who was injured in an accident caused by another driver’s negligence, you can seek compensation for your injuries, but it is crucial that you seek or accept medical attention immediately after the crash no matter how minor your injuries seem to be. Your fast action can strengthen your personal injury claim and may save your life.

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Posted on in Probate

What Can Cause Delays During Probate?Sorting through your loved one’s possessions is a necessary activity following their death. Most families go through the probate process, in which an executor will administer the estate plan of the deceased. You may have heard horror stories about the probate process taking years and leaving bitter divisions between family members. Some people structure their estate plans so that their beneficiaries will not have to go through probate. There are several complications that can delay the probate process and increase the costs associated with it:

  1. The Estate Plan Is Out-Of-Date or Incomplete: The probate process runs most efficiently when the instructions in the estate plan are clear and thorough. When significant assets are missing from the plan, the executor and beneficiaries need to determine what the deceased person likely intended to do with the assets. This can easily lead to disagreements that must be settled in probate court. The executor also must consider the value of the missing asset, how it affects the estate’s total value, and whether there are any tax consequences.
  2. Beneficiaries Contest the Plan: Even when the estate plan has clear instructions, the beneficiaries may dispute whether it is valid or legal. Someone may claim that the deceased was manipulated into modifying their estate plan to the benefit of one person. They could also say that there is a newer version of the estate plan that supersedes the original. Sometimes, a person is upset by the instructions in the estate plan and may start a legal battle that they have little chance of winning.
  3. The Executor Declines Their Responsibility: An estate plan will name an executor, but that does not mean that the person named will accept their role. The person may have never agreed to be the executor or changed their mind about it. You must name a new executor for the estate, and a court must approve that person.
  4. You Need to Assess the Property Values: The total value of the properties in the estate will determine whether the IRS will charge an estate tax. If the estate’s estimated value is close to the threshold that triggers the tax, you may need to assess the value of each property to determine whether the estate is above the threshold.

Contact a Crystal Lake, Illinois, Probate Attorney

The probate process can be long and emotionally charged. The best way to prepare yourself for challenges is by working with an experienced McHenry County probate lawyer at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC. To schedule a free consultation, call 815-338-3838.

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Illinois State Bar Association State Bar of Wisconsin Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce Illinois Trial Lawyers Association McHenry County Bar Association
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