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Peoria Family Law Blog

Not the father? You'll want to protect your rights

Want to make life a little better? Some with wisdom will tell you that one thing you can do is to always assume positive intent. Those who make that their practice say it makes it easier to face any given moment calmly, collectedly and rationally.

Assuming positive intent is something that can be difficult to do in the context of Illinois family law. Where issues of parentage are concerned, especially in cases where the parents of a child are unmarried, there can be a general bias against the father. We touched on this in an earlier post.

When creating a prenup, what are you allowed to include in it?

For many couples, the prenuptial agreement is shrouded in mystery or it is just something that the couple won't consider because of preconceived notions about the contract. That's perfectly understandable because there was a time -- and it wasn't too long ago -- when prenuptial agreements were frowned upon. But now, these contracts are huge parts of not only the divorce process, but the couple's marriage as well.

So what can you include in a prenuptial agreement, and what is forbidden from being included?

Are you and a spouse or partner rehashing the same old arguments?

As human beings, we all have certain wants and needs and when these things aren’t being fulfilled or met, we tend to feel unbalanced. For married couples, a spouse who feels unbalanced may, on some level, blame his or her wife or husband. Regardless of how different couples and spouses can be, all married couples argue and, according to marriage and family counselor and researcher Dr. John Gottman, the topics of these arguments tend to be similar.

In his 40 years of studying and researching marriage and the relationships between spouses, Gottman estimates that nearly 70 percent of the arguments in which married couples engage remain unresolved. Why do they remain unresolved? According to Gottman, most married couples don't argue effectively and, consequently, end up rehashing the same issues over and over again.

Same sex marriage, divorce now legal in all 50 states

There have been many changes to the laws regarding same-sex relationships in Illinois over the years; however, the biggest change of all came today when the U.S. Supreme Court held that gay marriage is a fundamental right in all 50 states.

The 5-4 decision came as a hard-earned victory for Illinois advocates who have been fighting for marriage equality for years. The Chicago Tribune reported that the decision is likely the most impactful victory for same-sex couples in U.S. history, and means there is no more distinction between gay marriage and heterosexual marriage.

How is child support calculated and what happens if a parent doesn't pay?

When a minor-aged child's parents divorce or split-up, steps must be taken to decide child custody and visitation. In most child custody cases, one parent is deemed to be the custodial parent or the parent with whom the child lives the majority of the time. In order to provide for a child's basic, education and medical needs; a custodial parent is advised to file for child support.

Illinois' child support law uses a basic percentage formula for determining child support. Under the statute, a non-custodial parent with one child is required to pay the equivalent of 20 percent of his or her net income in child support payments. The percentage and amount increases depending on the number of dependants involved and maxes out at 50 percent with six or more dependants.

Planning to marry? Don't ignore nagging feelings of doubt

We frequently write about the many concerns, issues and challenges facing individuals who are planning or going through the divorce process. Given the numerous emotional, personal and financial difficulties associated with the divorce process; it seems unlikely that anyone would choose to get married unless he or she was 100 percent confident in and committed to a significant other. However, a recent UK study of more than 1,600 divorcees revealed that nearly half had serious doubts about getting married in the first place.

Anyone who is married or was ever married can likely relate to the many pressures associated with wedding planning. According to the website “cost of wedding”, U.S. couples spend an average of $25,200 on a wedding and often spend months if not years planning and preparing for the big day.

Caitlyn Jenner shines spotlight on issues facing transgender parents

Earlier this week, the world was introduced to Caitlyn Jenner. Jenner, who was formerly known to the world as famed Olympic athlete, Bruce Jenner, has shined a spotlight on the many issues and challenges faced by transgender men and women.

Jenner, who is age 65, is also a parent and his two youngest children are still in their teens. Jenner and ex-wife Kris Jenner were married for 22 years and recently finalized their divorce. While Jenner's fame and wealth make her specific situation somewhat unique, her decision to undergo sex reassignment procedures raise questions about transgender parents and child custody.

Do you and your spouse struggle to balance childcare, household and work responsibilities?

According to the U.S. Census Department, as of 2012, roughly 47 percent of U.S. women age 16 and older worked outside the home. When compared to the roughly 30 million U.S. women who worked outside the home in 1970, by 2012 that number had more than doubled to 74.8 million.

As more women continue to pursue higher educational degrees and employment and career opportunities, there's been a major shift in societal views about gender roles and duties. Today, according to research from the University of North Carolina-Greensboro, married men and women tend to divide housework more equally. Research also indicates, however, that this trend towards equality and housework changes once a child enters the equation.

Illinois fathers have parental rights too

All too often, while going through a divorce in Illinois, fathers approach child custody from the mindset that it does not really matter what they say or do, as the mother is just going to be awarded custody. Instead of fighting for equal parenting rights, many fathers just mentally prepare themselves for every-other-weekend visits, assuming their child or children will primarily live with their mother. 

At Butler & Giraudo, P.C., we are here to tell you that, while a common misconception, the idea that the children will automatically be with the mother is inaccurate. Rather, fathers can -- and do -- end up with joint or primary custody.

The many and complex factors that lead to divorce

For couples who choose to marry, some may wonder if their marriage will be one of the 50 percent that lasts. While, when it comes to predicting divorce, there's no crystal ball; there are definitely factors that increase the likelihood that a marriage will not endure until death do us part.

One law firm recently examined numerous studies and research to discover some of the less traditional factors that may lead a couple to divorce. Perhaps not surprisingly, the use and potential abuse of social media were among those reasons cited as contributing to divorce.

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