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Inverness divorce attorney

During your divorce, you will want to be sure you are working with an attorney who is the right person for your case. In some situations, you may have personality conflicts with your divorce lawyer, or the trust or confidence in your attorney may have broken down. If you are not receiving the legal help you need, you may ask yourself if you should change divorce lawyers. However, before ending your relationship with your lawyer and hiring someone else to represent you, you should be aware of some important considerations.

Reasons to Look for a New Lawyer

There are many reasons you may want to change the divorce lawyer who is working on your case. These include:


Palatine divorce attorney, educational support orders, college expensesAs children grow, their financial needs tend to increase. College tuition is no exception. In today’s world, student loan debts are staggering for new graduates, and many families struggle to financially help their children to go to college. When parents are divorced, the situation can be even trickier, especially when parents do not see eye to eye on the subject.

However, recent revisions to Illinois law have clarified the guidelines for educational support orders, allowing parents to better understand their future potential obligations.

Limits on Payment of College Expenses


parenting plan, Palatine family law attorneyRecent revisions to Illinois law require that parents submit a parenting plan to the Court whenever there is a dispute about the allocation of parental responsibilities, or what was previously known as custody and visitation. Parents can also agree to modify their parenting plan and simply submit the plan to the Court for approval. Whatever the case may be, your parenting plan must address certain concerns that involve your children. Essentially, your plan must contain not only the elements required by Illinois law, but also any provisions that may be unique to your family or important to you.

Parenting Plan Basics

A parenting plan is a written document that sets forth each parent’s legal rights and obligations with respect to the children. The plan addresses the same types of issues that a custody agreement or parenting agreement previously addressed. Rather than referring to custody and visitation, however, Illinois law now only refers to the allocation of parental responsibilities, or how parents will effectively parent their child together. Basic elements of a parenting plan include the following:


Posted on in Family Law

Palatine collaborative law attorney, child placementIllinois law provides guidelines that the Department of Children and Family Services must follow when placing children in either temporary or permanent homes. The most important qualification is that the placement be in the best interests of each child. However, a new law ensures that family members retain certain rights concerning foster care arrangements.

Current Law

The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) is given discretion in determining what type of environment is in each child’s best interest and making a placement based on that information; however, DCFS is still required to place a child, when appropriate, in the custody of certain individuals, including:


equitable adoption, Palatine Family Law AttorneyThe Illinois Supreme Court's recent decision in In re Parentage of Scarlett Z.-D addressed the sensitive issue of a non-parent’s rights during a custody proceeding. The plaintiff in the case presented a unique argument, claiming that the doctrine of equitable adoption, which had previously only been applied to probate proceedings, also governed custody cases. Ultimately, the Court disagreed, holding that the doctrine could not be extended to custody disputes.


In 2003, a Slovakian national and American immigrant, Maria, returned home on a trip to visit her extended family. During the visit, Maria and her fiancé Jim decided to adopt a young orphaned girl, Scarlett, whom they had encountered on the trip, despite the fact that under Slovakian law, Jim was not permitted to legally adopt the child.


child abuse, corporal punishment, Nicholas W. Richardson, Palatine child custody attorney, dicipline childrenIndicted by a Texas grand jury in September on charges of child abuse for using a tree branch to discipline his son, Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson made the issue of corporal punishment and a parent’s right to discipline a national conversation. The question:  "Can the use of corporal punishment have an adverse effect on child custody?" may have also crossed your mind.

Corporal Punishment and Illinois Best Interests of the Child Illinois Courts make an award of child custody based on the best interests of the child. There are a number of different factors the Court must consider when making a custody determination. One factor is “the physical violence or threat of physical violence by the child’s potential custodian, whether directed against the children or directed against another person.” So where does corporal punishment fall? Is it physical violence that can tilt the balance of what custody placement is in the child’s best interest against the parent who utilizes it? Or is corporal punishment simply a right of the parent that cannot be used as evidence of a parent’s use of physical violence? Unfortunately, Illinois law is unclear on the issue. A parent can be charged with Illinois child abuse if he or she “inflicts excessive corporal punishment” upon the child. But the law does not elaborate on what constitutes “excessive” corporal punishment. Is it two spanks, or 10? Can the parent use an object, like a whip, belt, or even a shoe to discipline? Or is anything other than an open hand considered excessive? Is it only excessive if the punishment inflicted leaves welts or other marks that last longer than an hour? The Illinois Courts offer a little guidance, consistently ruling that a parent’s right to discipline his or her child is “limited by a standard of reasonableness.” But nowhere in any of the decisions does the Court elaborate on what is and is not reasonable punishment. In addition, much of the commentary following Adrian Peterson’s indictment shows that what is considered reasonable varies among age, gender, socioeconomic status and even geography. This case is an example of how the law can sometimes fail to provide a clear-cut answer. In those cases, you need an experienced child custody attorney representing you. Resolution of this issue in your favor – whether you are arguing for or against the issue of reasonableness – depends heavily on your child custody attorney’s ability to make the Judge understand your point of view, and to persuade the Judge that being granted custody of your child is in his or her best interests. Nicholas W. Richardson has more than a decade’s worth of experience doing just that, and he will work tirelessly to for time with your child. Palatine Child Custody Attorney Even when the relationship is over and the divorce finalized, changing circumstances mean child custody may need to be revisited. If you are contemplating a divorce with children, or if you need a custody modification, you need an experienced family law attorney who understands the need to get the best possible outcome for your child, and can help you get it. Contact Palatine child custody attorney Nicholas W. Richardson today to schedule a consultation.

Posted on in Divorce

dating during divorce in illinoisbill winding its way through the Massachusetts legislature wants to ban couples going through a divorce with children from having sex or even dating until the divorce is finalized, unless the Court grants permission. Illinois has no law prohibiting dating during the divorce proceedings but that does not mean that dating during divorce is a good idea.

Why Dating During Divorce is a Bad Idea

There are a number of emotional and practical reasons why dating before the divorce is finalized may not be a good idea.


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