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Kathryn L. Harry & Associates, P.C.
630-472-9700

The state of Illinois recognizes that many children may experience negative short-term and long-term effects related to their parents' divorce. To help mitigate the impact, parents with minor children who file for divorce are required to attend and complete a class. DuPage County offers a helpful summary of the parent education requirement and information about enrolling in the mandatory class.

What is the Law?

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Posted on in Child Custody

child custody, parental rights, Illinois Family LawyerIn Illinois, it is possible for you to become your spouse's child's legal parent by adopting him or her after you marry his or her parent. This is known as a stepparent adoption. Stepparent adoptions, like other types of adoption, are covered under a state law known the The Adoption Act.

Adopting your spouse's child involves a very different process than adopting a child through an agency or a private adoption and in most cases, it is a much easier process to complete. If the child's other parent is involved in his or her life, he or she must consent to the adoption. Additionally, there are certain obligations that you must fulfill to complete the process.

The Stepparent Adoption Process

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Illinois custody arrangementsThere are lots of terms that come up during a child custody hearing. If you are currently working through such a proceeding or considering filing for divorce in the near future, it is in your best interest to familiarize yourself with the terms and procedures related to child custody before beginning the process. Illinois' laws regarding child custody arrangements are written into the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. By understanding how custody arrangements and other legal decisions regarding children are made, you are better prepared for your own custody hearing.

Types of Custody Arrangements

In Illinois, two separate types of custody are recognized: legal custody and physical custody. A parent can have either type of custody solely or as part of a joint custody arrangement.

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post-divorce petitionChanging a last name is a common practice amongst recent divorcees who may seek a stronger sense of finality in their lives after a divorce. Many ex-spouses, primarily those with custody of the children, take it a step further by filing a petition to also change the last names of their children.

Changing a child's last name may be pursued for a multitude of reasons—to create more stability for the children; to remove obvious remnants of a dissolved marriage; a remarriage or adoption occurred and an ex-spouse wants the children to adopt the new husband's last name; or simply for a fresh start. Whatever the motivation, it is advantageous to retain a qualified attorney who can help you successfully navigate through the process and achieve your desired outcome.

How Does the Process Work?

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Posted on in Child Custody

parental child abductionIt is possible for a parent to abduct his or her own child. In fact, any instance where a parent keeps, hides, or outright takes his or her child from the child's other parent without court authorization may be considered to be parental child abduction. The laws outlining child abduction in Illinois are outlined in Chapter 720 of the Illinois Criminal Code. When a child is illegally taken out of the United States, the Office of Children's Issues, part of the United States Department of State, is tasked with investigating the case and helping reunite the child with his or her parent.

If your former spouse has taken or kept your child from you in excess of his or her authorized parenting or visitation time, you may have the right to charge him or her with child abduction. Conversely, if you have taken your child from your former spouse beyond your allotted time together, you could potentially face child abduction charges.

What Constitutes Child Abduction?

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