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How Do I Prove Paternity in Illinois?

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Joliet, IL paternity lawyerPaternity is the legal relationship between a father and his child. It is important to establish paternity for several reasons, including:

  • To determine a child's legal rights and responsibilities, such as the right to inherit property, receive child support, and have visitation rights

  • To obtain a birth certificate for a child that lists the father's name


Will County Juvenile Law AttorneyIf your child is facing legal charges, it can be a terrifying thing to deal with. As a parent or guardian, we understand that a child's future hangs in the balance when such situations arise. Knowing the difference between a diversion and a conviction for an effective juvenile defense is helpful. Consult a knowledgeable juvenile law attorney who can help your child throughout the process. 

What Is a Diversion?

A diversion is also known as deferred adjudication. It allows those accused of a crime a second chance, especially those with non-violent offenses. Diversion usually requires joining a specific program or meeting certain requirements. The choice is determined by a judge who analyzes the individual and the crime itself. 

Diversion programs can include:


Joliet Divorce AttorneyDivorcing couples often face the possibility of having a contested divorce. While divorce is exhausting, a contested divorce is even more so. These types of divorces come with unique challenges. A skilled divorce attorney can provide professional legal advice and guidance towards your desired outcome whether your divorce is contested or not. 

What Happens in a Contested Divorce?

In a nutshell, a contested divorce happens when both divorcing spouses disagree on the separation of assets or marital property, child arrangements, and/or alimony. If you are dealing with a divorce in Illinois, knowing the typical obstacles and reasonings behind a contested divorce is helpful.

When both parties in a divorce disagree on major issues involving their separation, a judge must decide for them. Both divorcing spouses will attend court, where they both share their stance, and the judge will have the final say. When compared to an uncontested divorce, a contested divorce is more expensive and takes longer to resolve. Due to this, many couples avoid contested divorce as best as they can, but that is only doable for some. 


Joliet Criminal LawyerParents want the best for their children. So if your child runs into legal trouble, your first instinct is to protect them. In truth, no child deserves lasting consequences for a simple mistake in their youth. If your child has a juvenile record, there are steps you can take toward expungement, especially with the help of a credible juvenile law attorney. 

What Offenses Are Expungeable?

Expungement is a legal procedure that conceals certain criminal records from the public eye. This process offers young people a fresh start in life. It is no secret that a criminal record can cut you off from various opportunities. 

In some cases, expungement is automatically applied. But not everyone has that benefit, and not all juvenile records in Illinois are eligible for expungement. If your child satisfies the requirements listed below, they may qualify: 


Plainfield Criminal LawyerIf you are a juvenile who has recently been arrested and charged with an offense, you may not know what to expect. If you have heard that your juvenile criminal record is automatically sealed when you reach adulthood, you may feel as if there is nothing to worry about. Your future employers and landlords will likely be unable to see your juvenile record. In fact, publicly, it will appear as if the adjudication of delinquency never happened. However, there are still problems a juvenile criminal record can cause both right away and later in life. You may face issues like getting in trouble at school or not being accepted to your college of choice. Additionally, the judicial penalties can last years, even continuing up until you are 21 years old or older. If you have been charged with a juvenile crime, it is important to take the situation very seriously. An attorney can take steps to begin protecting your future prospects as soon as they are involved on your case. 

Reasons Teens Should Care About a Juvenile Charge 

Although your record will probably be sealed later, a juvenile conviction can still interfere with your life. Reasons you should care about your juvenile criminal case include: 

  • Sentencing - If you are adjudicated delinquent, you could face criminal sentencing just like adults do. Your sentence could include so much community service that you will have little time for other things like spending time with friends or keeping up with a hobby. You could even be sent to a juvenile detention center for a period of time. You could also be fined and have to give up any money you are able to earn. 


Will County Family LawyerChild support plays a crucial role in ensuring the well-being and upbringing of children following a divorce or separation. Unfortunately, some individuals fail to fulfill their child support responsibilities despite legal obligations. Today, we will delve into the most common reasons for non-payment and provide practical guidance for those facing difficulties receiving child support payments. If you are owed child support and are not receiving it, contact a family law attorney immediately to ensure your child’s interests, as well as yours, can stay protected.

Most Common Reasons for Non-Payment 

  1. Financial hardship – One of the most common reasons for non-payment is financial hardship. Sudden job loss, medical emergencies, or other unforeseen circumstances can significantly impact a parent’s ability to pay child support. It is crucial to understand that even genuine financial difficulties may not absolve individuals of their child support obligations, as court orders usually require prompt notification and legal remedies for modification. 

  2. Lack of accountability – In some cases, failure to pay child support arises from a lack of accountability. Some parents intentionally avoid making payments due to personal disputes, resentment, or disagreements regarding custody arrangements. Such actions are unjustifiable and may carry legal consequences. 


Plainfield Divorce LawyerEven “simple” divorces are not always simple. Even when a married couple has little marital property and no children, their divorce may take some work to finalize. Other divorce situations are clearly more complex. Spouses who are deeply financially entangled may face struggles in determining how to split complex assets and who is entitled to what share. People who are divorcing an abusive or mentally ill spouse may struggle to find a method of resolution that will be effective. Spouses who divorce near retirement may have unique challenges in their case regarding how retirement assets should be divided. Cases like these can be difficult from both a legal and emotional perspective. If you know from the outset that your case is likely to involve complex aspects, it is important to look for an attorney who understands these specific circumstances. 

Common Types of Complicated Divorce Cases

Common issues that can render a divorce more complex than most include: 

  • Grey divorce - When spouses who are older than 50 or so divorce, they may have unique concerns. First, dividing retirement accounts or other assets intended for use in retirement is likely to be a high priority. These couples are also likely to have been married for a long time, and issues like alimony may need to be addressed. 


Joliet Family Law AttorneyMore and more children are born to unmarried couples. While in the past, this could have been scandalous, today it is a very normal way to begin a family. However, there are some steps unmarried parents may need to take to establish that the child’s birth father is their legal father as well. In most cases, unmarried parents have the simple option of filling out a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity at the hospital when the child is born. This document allows the father to be listed on the birth certificate along with the mother. However, VAP’s are just that - voluntarily. No one can be compelled to sign a VAP, even if it is very clear who the father is. In some cases, if a father refuses to sign a VAP, the mother must go to court in order to have that man established as the father of her child. Establishing paternity is an important step that must be taken before the mother can begin pursuing child support or enforcing her child’s other rights. It is best to be represented by an attorney if you must go to court to establish your child’s paternity. 

What Happens if I Need to Go to Court to Establish Paternity?

The process for having your child’s paternity judicially established is relatively simple. Your attorney will file a petition to adjudicate parentage and serve the apparent father with a copy of the petition. A hearing will be set. It is important that you attend this hearing with your attorney. There are several things that may happen. 

If the alleged father fails to appear at the hearing, the judge may issue a default order declaring him the father. This order is generally dispositive and you can begin seeking to enforce your child’s right to be supported by both parents. There is also a chance that the father will appear in court and simply admit that he is indeed the father, in which case the judge will generally also issue a dispositive order. 


Plainfield Family LawyerIf you are a parent involved in a child custody dispute, you may have worries over whether your criminal conviction could have an impact on the results of your custody case. It is reasonable to fear that if you have a conviction, the judge may see you as less of a fit parent. However, for the vast majority of parents with a criminal record, this is not necessarily true. The court will consider the nature of your criminal conviction in determining whether it should have any bearing on your child custody case. A great number of people with a history of criminal convictions are excellent parents, and Illinois family law courts are well aware of this. However, certain convictions relating to violence as well as sex crimes can have an impact on what type of custody arrangement the court will believe is best for the child. It is best to consult an attorney if you have a criminal conviction that may affect how the court views your abilities as a parent. 

What Criminal Convictions Can Impact My Child Custody Dispute?

Most parents with minor criminal records have very little to fear. For example, if you were caught with marijuana in the years before it became legal for recreational use, you likely have little to fear. The same is true for parents with very old criminal records of a largely unconcerning nature. If you have a simple assault charge stemming from a bar fight that happened when you were 19 years old and you are now 35 and have stayed out of trouble, this is not likely to have much of an impact. However, your concern may be justified if your record involves: 

  • Sex crimes - Sex offenders are explicitly mentioned in Illinois’s codified factors that judges use to decide custody cases. If you are a convicted sex offender - or you live with someone who is - the court will take this into consideration. You may be less likely to receive unsupervised visitation. 


How Police Errors Can Lead to False Arrests

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Joliet Criminal LawyerWhenever a crime is committed, it is the police who are entrusted with arresting the perpetrator of that crime in order to ensure the community is protected. However, there are far too many investigations where errors are made and the wrong individual is accused. The repercussions of these police errors can be profound, leading to the erosion of an individual’s rights, misidentification of suspects, compromised evidence, and ultimately, a tainted criminal case.

Misidentification and False Accusations

One of the most consequential mistakes made by the police is misidentifying a suspect. Eyewitness misidentification is a well-documented issue, where witnesses may inaccurately identify a person due to flawed memory or suggestive police procedures. These errors can lead to innocent people being wrongfully accused, arrested, and charged with crimes they did not commit. In many of these cases, especially for those defendants who do not have a seasoned criminal lawyer defending them, they are found guilty.

Tainted Evidence and Violation of Rights

Police mistakes can result in the mishandling or contamination of evidence. This may occur due to negligence, lack of proper training, or intentional misconduct. Regardless of why these incidents occur, the integrity of the evidence can be compromised, raising questions about its admissibility in court. Violations of constitutional rights, such as unlawful searches or seizures, can render evidence inadmissible under the exclusionary rule, thus weakening the prosecution's case.


Will County Family Law AttorneyAdultery generally refers to sexual relations with a person other than one’s spouse. Infidelity encompasses a broader range of unfaithful behaviors, including emotional and physical affairs outside a marriage. The state of Illinois has their own laws regarding the distinction between adultery and infidelity. It is well known that a betrayal of this nature often leads to divorce in the state of Illinois and across the country.

Adultery in Illinois Law

In Illinois, adultery is defined as having sexual relations with someone who is not your spouse in an “open and notorious” way. Adultery is considered a Class A misdemeanor in Illinois. It can result in a fine of up to $2,500 and up to a year in jail. However, criminal charges for adultery are rarely pursued, as the laws are considered outdated compared to modern views.

Infidelity in Illinois Divorce Cases

Illinois is a no-fault divorce state, which means that all divorce filings are based on the grounds of “irreconcilable differences.” As a result, adultery is not listed as a reason for divorce in Illinois. 


Plainfield Divorce LawyerUncontested divorce offers a number of benefits over traditional, litigated divorce. Filing an uncontested divorce can function as a sort of shortcut. It often takes much less time than a contested divorce. Waiting for court dates and compiling evidence can be time-consuming and may delay your divorce for a long period of time. You would also most likely need to face your spouse in court and answer their attorney’s questions. This process can be stressful, and keep you feeling trapped in a marriage you no longer want to be in. Guarding your mental health while you are in the process of escaping an abusive marriage is very important. Contrary to popular belief, you may be able to file an uncontested divorce without ever coming face-to-face with your abusive spouse.

In many cases, an experienced divorce attorney can help spouses resolve the issues in their divorce case without bringing the spouses together. There are options for negotiating a divorce settlement that do not involve spending time around the mediation table with your spouse. Our lawyers can help you explore your options. 

Attorney-Driven Negotiation and Divorce in Will County  

While many uncontested divorces are settled through mediation, this may not be the most practical solution for those leaving abusive marriages. You likely do not want to spend any more time around your abuser. One option for resolving a divorce without directly communicating with your spouse is through attorney-facilitated negotiation. In attorney-facilitated negotiation, each of you will communicate your wishes and needs to your respective attorneys. Your attorneys will then negotiate with each other in the hopes of reaching a settlement that both parties will agree to. Your attorney will be primarily focused on guarding your legal rights during the divorce, and in working to ensure that your needs are met. 


Will County Parenting Time LawyerDivorced parents and unmarried parents who split up may use a parenting plan or parenting agreement to describe each parents' rights and responsibilities. The instructions contained in a parenting plan specifically outline the terms of the agreement between two parents. These instructions become a legally-binding agreement that both parents must abide by, and any violation of the parenting plan may result in legal consequences.

Allocation of Parental Responsibilities

In an Illinois parenting plan, the parents will describe how major decisions about the child will be handled. Will one parent make all of the decisions about the child's upbringing or will the parents share decision-making responsibilities? Illinois law specifically asks parents to describe how decisions about the following key issues will be handled:

  • The child's education


joliet criminal defense lawyerPolice can violate your Fourth Amendment rights in an Illinois criminal case when they conduct an illegal search or seizure. The remedy for violating these Constitutional rights is that some evidence may be suppressed and is not able to be used in your case. A court will throw out evidence that is considered the “fruit of the poisonous tree.” A Will County criminal defense attorney can review your case and determine whether to challenge any of the evidence at trial. 

Courts Will Apply an Exclusionary Rule

If a court determines that a search or seizure was illegal, they will not necessarily dismiss the case against you entirely. Instead, the prosecutor would need to proceed without using the illegally acquired evidence. Functionally, it could mean that the prosecutor would need to dismiss their case because they cannot prove it. For example, if drug charges against you depend on drugs that were seized in an illegal search, the prosecutor may not have any other evidence to use.

The Illegal Search Must Be Related to the Evidence Seized

The court would look to see if there is a causal relationship between the search and the evidence that is being challenged. This rule applies not just to the direct evidence, but any evidence that was seized as a result of the search. For example, if the wrongfully taken evidence leads police to other evidence, it would all be suppressed. The poisonous tree is the wrongful search, and the fruit is evidence that resulted from the tree.


joliet criminal defense lawyerWhile juvenile cases are typically a matter of Illinois law, there are times when the federal government may get involved in the juvenile justice system. The Department of Justice (DOJ) may investigate conditions at juvenile institutions and take action when necessary. Overall, the Special Litigation Section of the DOJ is responsible for protecting the rights of juveniles who are confined in detention. You can always report matters when you are concerned about the conditions a juvenile is experiencing. If you already have a juvenile defense attorney, they will know where to make a report. 

Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA)

DOJ has jurisdiction to review and investigate conditions within juvenile justice institutions under CRIPA.  DOJ does not have the authority to act in response to an individual claim. The agency stresses that they do not have the ability to review cases of wrongful detention of an individual juvenile or the conditions that one person is facing. However, DOJ will determine whether there are systemic issues at a particular institution. If these issues exist, DOJ will send a letter to the state or local government, directing them to take certain steps as corrective action. DOJ and the local government would need to reach an agreement on how the local government will fix these issues. If there is no agreement, DOJ can file a lawsuit against the local government in federal court. 

Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act

In addition, federal law prohibits a law enforcement agency, or any agent acting on their behalf, from engaging in a pattern of conduct that deprives juveniles of their Constitutional rights. Every has rights under the Constitution, including those detained in a juvenile justice institution. The federal government can take legal action when there is widespread misconduct at juvenile detention facilities, such as:


Plainfield Child Support LawyerChild support typically ends when the child becomes an adult. However, there are many different situations in which child support payments are extended past a child’s 18th birthday. For example, a parent may be asked to continue providing support during a child's college education. Child support may also be extended because a child is disabled.

Child Support When a Child Turns 18 Before Graduating High School

The most common reason that child support is extended beyond a child's 18th birthday is that the child has not graduated high school yet. The law recognizes that high schoolers still need support and that many high schoolers turn 18 before graduating. Child support continues until the child graduates from high school or turns 19 years old, whichever happens first.

Financial Support for Disabled Children

Once a child is an adult, he or she is expected to be financially self-sufficient. However, children with significant disabilities may not be able to reach this level of financial independence, even once they are an adult. Consequently, child support may be extended beyond a child's 18th or 19th birthday if the child is disabled. Qualifying disabilities may be physical disabilities, intellectual disabilities, or serious mental health problems.


Will County Criminal Defense AttorneyYou do not have to have been arrested to know about the Miranda warning. Anybody who has watched a police television show enough times can probably recite it verbatim. However, many people do not fully understand what this warning means. Their Miranda rights are essential rights afforded to individuals who are arrested. If you or a loved one have been arrested for a crime, make sure you understand how these rights can affect the criminal case.

Right to Remain Silent

Anybody who is suspected of a crime has the right to remain silent. This right stems from our constitutional right to avoid incriminating ourselves. One of the best things that a criminal defendant can do if he or she is arrested is say nothing. Police officers will ask questions about the defendant’s whereabouts on a certain day, the circumstances of the alleged offense, or the defendant’s personal life. However, the best thing to do is to avoid answering any questions, regardless of how innocent they may seem.

Defendants often wrongly assume that cooperating with the police is the best thing to do if they are accused of a crime - especially if they did not actually commit the crime. Unfortunately, however, honesty is not always the best policy in a situation like this. Your words can be manipulated and misinterpreted. Just as the Miranda warning states, anything you say can be used against you.


Why is Establishing Paternity Important?  

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Joliet Paternity LawyerEstablishing paternity is an essential legal process that determines the father of a child. In Illinois, paternity can be established in several ways, including through marriage, voluntary acknowledgment, or court order. While establishing paternity is important for both mothers and fathers, we are going to focus on why it is especially important for fathers in Illinois. For matters pertaining to paternity, do not hesitate to contact a paternity lawyer to ensure your rights are protected and advocated for throughout the legal process.  

Importance of Establishing Paternity

Reasons that parents should prioritze establishing paternity including the following:

  • Establishing Parental Rights – One of the most significant reasons why fathers must establish paternity is to establish parental rights. Without legal paternity, fathers may have limited or no rights to decide on their child’s health, education, or other important matters. Establishing paternity ensures that fathers have a legal right to be involved in their child’s life, including making crucial decisions about their upbringing.


Plea Bargaining in Illinois Criminal Cases

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Joliet Criminal LawyerIf you or a loved one have been accused of a criminal offense, you may be unsure of what to expect next. Most people are only vaguely familiar with the Illinois criminal justice system. They are unsure of how a criminal case progresses or what steps are involved. Many people also have questions about plea bargaining. Plea deals, plea agreements, and plea bargains are all terms used to describe a situation in which a criminal defendant pleads guilty in exchange for some type of benefit. It is important to understand the potential advantages and disadvantages of accepting a plea agreement and when it is in a person's best interest to plead guilty to an offense instead of going to trial.

Examples of Plea Bargains

According to some research, a surprising 98 percent of criminal cases are resolved through plea agreements. Many prosecutors aim to get a criminal defendant to agree to a plea deal because it saves them the time and expense of going to trial. Illinois courts are often backlogged with cases and resolving a case through a plea agreement helps reduce this burden.

When an individual accepts a plea agreement, he or she pleads guilty to a criminal charge. In exchange, the prosecution may reduce the penalties faced by the defendant. For example, a defendant may be given community supervision or probation instead of jail time. In other cases, a person facing multiple charges is given the opportunity to plead guilty to one of the charges and get all of the other charges dropped. A plea agreement may also involve pleading guilty to a lesser offense. For example, suppose a defendant is facing felony charges for aggravated assault. The prosecution may offer a deal in which the defendant pleads guilty to misdemeanor assault and avoids the possibility of significant jail time and the lifelong label of being a felon.


Will County Divorce LawyerFinances play a crucial role in any divorce case. Because of this, Illinois law requires divorcing spouses to provide detailed information about their income and property during the divorce. The information spouses provide on their financial affidavits will be used to address everything from property division to child support. Whether you are engaged in an uncontested divorce or contested divorce, truthful financial disclosure is required from both parties in order for the divorce outcome to be fair and reasonable.

It is important for divorcing spouses to be aware of warning signs that could indicate that the other spouse is hiding assets, failing to disclose all income, or otherwise lying about finances.

Refusing to Discuss Financial Matters

One red flag that could indicate financial deception during divorce is a refusal to discuss financial matters. If your spouse shuts down or becomes irate upon the mere mention of gathering copies of tax returns or discussing the division of marital assets, this could be a sign that he or she is trying to hide something. Ideally, divorcing spouses would be cooperative and provide the information needed to resolve the divorce without court intervention. However, if a spouse refuses to provide the necessary information, subpoenas or other discovery tools may be needed to gather the information.

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