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Kathryn L. Harry & Associates, P.C.

Each year, more than one third of all children born in the United States are born to unmarried parents. While certain cities and states deal with higher out-of-wedlock birth rates than others, the numbers indicate that, nationally, nearly 1.5 million sets of parents must legally establish paternity for their child in order for the child's father to be granted parental rights as set by law. With those rights, obviously, comes responsibilities as well, as establishing legal paternity also requires the father to contribute to the support of the child, often in the form of financial child support.

Paternity in Illinois

Under Illinois law, legal paternity converts a "putative," or alleged, father of a child to the child's legal father, with full parental rights and requirements. Statutorily, there are several ways in which a father's legal status can be secured:


mediation processAn excellent tool to use during the divorce process, mediation can be implemented at virtually any point in the case, but can be especially beneficial in the beginning stages of divorce.

What is It?

Mediation is a process in which individuals come together outside of court to try to arrive at an agreement with the help of a trained third party, the mediator. In divorce cases, the parties are the two divorcing spouses alone with the mediator, both getting time to voice their own concerns and goals regarding certain issues in the divorce. Many couples choose to attend mediation to settle certain issues rather than leaving them up to a judge. In the beginning of a divorce, mediation can be used to settle issues peacefully, before animosity has time to build. If the parties are able to come to an agreement on a particular issue, that agreement will be put in writing by the mediator so that the attorneys can present it to the judge for formal approval.


taxes during divorceAs a married individual, you have the right to file your taxes jointly with your spouse. This brings various benefits, such as opportunities for greater charitable deductions and a shorter, less stressful filing process.

When a couple begins the divorce process, however, issues related to filing their taxes can arise. Although they are technically still married as they work out the terms of their divorce, many couples find it difficult to discuss how they will file their taxes and avoid doing so. The discussion of tax filing can also become just another headache to work through during a process that is already stressful for both parties.

If your divorce is not finalized by December 31st., you are considered to be married for that year and may file your taxes jointly, separately, or separately while still claiming married status. You may also claim "head of household" status if you qualify.


order of protectionYou do not deserve to live in fear of harassment or violence. If your current or former partner makes you feel uncomfortable or unsafe with his or her frequent harassment or threats, you have the right to file an order of protection against him or her

An order of protection is a court-ordered requirement that the offender avoid all forms of contact with his or her victim. The individual who files for the order of protection is known as the "petitioner" and the person against whom it is filed is known as the "respondent." It is a criminal offense to violate an order of protection and can result in fines or jail time for the respondent.

How to Obtain an Order of Protection


lifestyle-clauses-prenuptial-agreementWhile most commonly used to protect individual financial assets in the event of a divorce, prenuptial agreements can also be used to address and settle other upcoming areas of disagreement that occur during marriage. For example, they may give couples a tool for settling disagreements about where the couple will live and how the couple must care for their own children, or even how to support children from a prior marriage.

Lifestyle Clause as New Addition

A section that is showing up more and more often in prenuptial agreements is the lifestyle clause, a portion of the agreement that sets forth how a couple agrees to live their life together. Lifestyle clauses can set forth how many hours each partner agrees to work each week, how frequently a couple will have intercourse, and whether or not the couple will choose to have or adopt children. Media outlets have referenced more seemingly invasive lifestyle clauses that aim to control how much weight a spouse can gain, how much time a couple will spend with in-laws, and how many nights per week a partner can spend watching football with friends.

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