adoption, DuPage County family law attorneysThere are countless reasons that parents may consider putting their child up for adoption. In most cases, they believe that doing so will give their child a much better opportunity at a happy, healthy life. A large percentage of adoptions in Illinois involve single mothers who feel that they are not able to provide properly for their child. The choice of a single mother to make her child available for adoption is, undoubtedly, a difficult one, but what about that child’s father? Does he have any say in the process?

Your Rights as a Legal Father

If you are the legally-recognized father of a child that is being placed for adoption, the proceedings may not continue without your consent. In most cases, you must be willing to voluntarily terminate your parental rights. It is possible for your parental rights to terminated against your will, but only if you are found to by the court to be an unfit parent. Grounds for such a finding include abandonment of the child, failure to maintain interest, concern or responsibility, neglect, repeated physical or emotional abuse, substance abuse, and other negative behaviors.

Putative Father Registry

In any adoption proceeding, the mother should make every effort to identify the father of the child. Such identification does not necessarily have legal implications, but before a child can be adopted, the state or applicable agency will attempt to locate the father and to give him the opportunity to contest the adoption. If you believe you are the father of a child who may be placed for adoption but have not established legal paternity, you may wish to register with the Illinois Putative Father Registry.

The Putative Father Registry is your first step in exercising the rights you may have as the child’s father. You must register before the child is 30 days old or the court may determine that you have waived your rights by inaction and the adoption may be permitted to continue without your consent. If you decide to contest the adoption, you should be prepared to take on the full responsibility of being the child’s father. While you may ultimately proceed to establish your legal paternity, and eventually seek parenting time and responsibilities, you may also be ordered to pay child support in the meantime.

Get the Help You Need from a DuPage County Family Law Attorney

To learn more about your rights as a legal or putative father, contact an experienced Wheaton adoption attorney. We can help you fully understand the law, as well as your inherent responsibilities. Call 630-665-2500 to schedule a confidential consultation today.



Posted in Adoption | Tagged , , , , |

annulled, Wheaton family law attorneysIf you are married and the marriage is not living up to what you hoped it would be, you may be interested in getting your marriage annulled. In Illinois, annulments are rarely granted, and only individuals who meet certain criteria will be granted an annulment by the court. For married individuals who do not qualify for an annulment, a divorce may be the only option for ending the marriage. Depending on the individual’s needs, a legal separation may also be an appropriate choice. Read on to learn the difference between separation, divorce, and annulment in Illinois and how you can get the legal help you need to end your marriage.

Annulment Cancels an Invalid Marriage

When a married couple gets a divorce, the marriage is ended. On the other hand, when a married couple gets their marriage annulled, it is as if the marriage never occurred because the marriage was not legally valid to begin with. In Illinois, annulments are called “Declarations of Invalidity of Marriage.” There are several issues that can cause a marriage to be invalidated including:

  • The marriage is prohibited by law because the spouses are closely related to each other or because a spouse was already married when the marriage was performed
  • Either spouse was under age 18 and did not have the required parental authorization to marry
  • One of the spouses is unable to have sexual intercourse and the other spouse was unaware of this incapacity at the time the marriage was made official
  • A spouse could not consent to the marriage at the time the marriage was made official due to mental incapacity or the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Either spouse entered into the marriage through fraud, force, or duress

If you wish to pursue a Declaration of Invalidity, you should know that certain statutes of limitation might affect your eligibility.

Legal Separation Can Offer Some of the Same Benefits as Divorce

Some individuals seek an annulment instead of a divorce because of religious or cultural reasons. In these circumstances, a legal separation may be an alternative choice. If a couple gains a legal separation, they are still technically married but they agree to live separately. A legal separation also grants the spouses many of the legal remedies that are also available through divorce including those related to parenting arrangements, child support, and spousal maintenance.

Contact a Wheaton Annulment Lawyer

Getting an annulment is much more complicated than it appears on television and movies. To learn whether or not your marriage qualifies for a Declaration of Invalidity of Marriage, contact a knowledgeable DuPage County family law attorney from Stock, Carlson & Duff LLC. Schedule a confidential consultation to discuss your case by calling us at 630-665-2500 today.



Posted in Annulments, DuPage County Divorce Lawyer | Tagged , , , , |

parenting time, DuPage County family lawyersWhen you and your child’s other parent are forced to come up with arrangements regarding for parenting time—previously known as visitation under Illinois law—it can be regrettably easy to get caught up in your own wants and needs. Some, of course, are entirely reasonable, such as building parenting time schedules around your career obligations, but many parents often forget to take their child’s wishes into account.

What the Law Says

While parents are encouraged to develop a parenting plan—including arrangements for parenting time—on their own, such a plan must be reasonable and serve the best interests of the child. If the parents cannot agree on a plan, arrangements may be made by the court. In doing so, the court is required by law to take a number of factors into account, including the wishes of the child in question. The child’s wishes are not necessarily binding but should factor into the court’s ultimate decision. Your son or daughter’s opinion is just one of many factors that the court will take into account during the process.

Your Child’s Understanding

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (750 ILCS 5) specifies that a child’s wishes should be considered in the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time proceedings. The law also provides, however, that the court must consider the child’s maturity and ability to understand the entire situation. A young child, for example, is likely to hold an opinion regarding which parent is more “fun,” and want to spend more time at that parent’s house. An older child, on the other hand, is more likely to understand the importance of fostering a healthy relationship with both parents and be more open to compromise.

Presenting Your Child’s Wishes

It is highly unlikely that your child will be asked to appear in open court to discuss his or her wishes regarding parenting time and parental responsibilities. Instead, the law provides that such conversations may be conducted as interviews in the judge’s chambers, with or without attorneys present based on the circumstances of the case. Alternatively, the court may seek the assistance of an outside professional to interview the child and prepare a report regarding the child’s wishes. In more contentious cases, the court may order an investigation or appoint a guardian ad litem to ensure that the best interests of the child are fully protected.

Work With a Knowledgeable Wheaton Parenting Time Lawyer

Your child’s opinion does matter in proceeding regarding the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time in Illinois. Such cases, however, are often complex and require guidance from a qualified legal professional. If you are involved in a parenting time dispute, contact an experienced DuPage County family law attorney. Call 630-665-2500 for a confidential consultation at Stock, Carlson & Duff LLC today.


Posted in Child Custody | Tagged , , , , , |