Filing Divorce in Illinois: Is It Worth Filing First

The decision to get divorced is never an easy one. For most couples, in fact, the final decision comes after months and months of consideration, and possibly years of unhappiness. Even after the decision is made, however, the spouses may spend another few months living separately and going about their lives but knowing full well that one of them will need to get the process started eventually.

If this describes your situation, you probably recognize the emotion of feeling stuck in limbo. Make no mistake, filing a divorce petition is a serious thing. While the logistics of filing the petition are relatively easy, the emotional and psychological elements of taking such a step may be quite difficult for you.

There is also the question of whether you should be the one to file for divorce. After all, you both agreed to the divorce, and your spouse has just as much of a right to file the petition. And, does it even really matter who files the petition? The answer to this last question is multi-faceted, but it may hold the key to your decision about whether you should go ahead and get the divorce process moving.

Divorce as a Civil Proceeding

There are many specialized laws that apply to the divorce process in Illinois. Over time, these laws have caused divorce to be seen as a unique type of legal proceeding. This is certainly true, to an extent, but at its most basic, a divorce is still technically a civil lawsuit. In fact, it is a lawsuit in which one party asks the court to dissolve a contract—specifically, the marriage contract—that he or she has entered into with another person.

Because it is a civil lawsuit, every divorce, therefore, has a plaintiff and a defendant. The plaintiff is the person who brings the lawsuit, and the defendant is the party against whom the lawsuit if filed. As stated above, divorce is a special kind of civil proceeding, and in Illinois, the process is largely governed by the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDA), which is found in Chapter 750, Act 5 of the Illinois Compiled Statutes. In regard to a divorce proceeding, the IMDMA makes reference to a “plaintiff” and “defendant” exactly one time each. Instead, the preferred terms are “petitioner” and “respondent.”

The Legal Questions

As you might expect, the “petitioner” is the plaintiff—the party who gets the process started by filing the petition for divorce. The “respondent” is technically the defendant, and he or she has the opportunity to respond to any filings made by the petitioner. Which brings us back to the question: does it matter if you are the petitioner or defendant in your divorce? And again, the answer is complicated.

From a legal standpoint, both the petitioner and the respondent have the same rights, responsibilities, and opportunities during a divorce once the petition is filed. Both parties can present arguments and evidence, file motions, and ask the court for various considerations. Likewise, both parties can challenge arguments and evidence presented by the other side. Once the proceedings have started, there is no particular advantage or disadvantage to being either the petitioner or the defendant.

Deciding on Venue

As things get started, however, there may be at least one advantage to filing first. This advantage could potentially come from choosing where your divorce case will be held. A divorce is considered a state-level civil matter, which means that the proceedings are held in a county circuit court. It is up to the petitioner to decide in which county he or she will file the petition.

The IMDMA specifies that a divorce proceeding is to be held in the circuit court of “the county where the plaintiff or defendant resides.” Yes, this is the one reference to the plaintiff and defendant in the entire IMDMA. The law goes on to say that the petitioner can file the petition for divorce in any county in the state if the petition is accompanied by a request for the court to waive the normal venue requirements. If the non-filing spouse objects to the choice of venue, he or she must file the objection with the initial response to the divorce petition. Objections that are raised later will not be heard, and the respondent will not be entitled to appeal the divorce judgment on the basis of where the case was handled.

With all of this in mind, being the spouse who files could allow you to determine the county where the case will be heard. This could be helpful depending on a number of factors, including your attorney’s familiarity with the judges and staff in a particular county, as well as the court’s reputation for divorce-related procedures and rulings.

Other Possible Advantages

While the legal benefits of filing for divorce before your spouse files are rather limited, there are some very good reasons that you might consider “taking the bull by the horns” and filing the petition first. For example, you might be a person who prefers to be proactive instead of reactive. When you file the petition for divorce, you take initial control. You get to clearly state that you wish to dissolve the marriage, and you can clearly lay out what you want to get out of the divorce, including any requests for spousal support, a share of the marital estate, and your preferred parenting arrangements. If you wait for your spouse to file, you will still be able to ask for what you want, but you will need to counter his or her requests first.

There is also the issue of preparation. If you have all of your affairs in order—including your finances—and you are pretty sure that your spouse does not, filing the petition for divorce could be beneficial for you. This is to not suggest you should take unfair advantage of your spouse, but there is nothing stopping you from pushing the proceedings forward. If your spouse has a valid reason for not being ready, he or she can ask the court for the time that he or she needs. Your filing, however, could put your spouse on the defensive, which might give you some leverage during the proceedings. It is important to keep in mind that this strategy could backfire, turning a relatively amicable divorce into one that is more bitter and contentious that either of you intended.

Get the Help You Need

If you are thinking about filing your petition for divorce, an experienced DuPage County family law attorney can help you make sure that you are fully prepared for the road that lies ahead. Your divorce is likely to involve a number of complex issues, and it is important that you know what to expect. With our guidance, you will be ready for any challenges that may arise as you seek the happier, healthier future that you deserve.

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Can You Have an Easy Divorce?

The legal process of a divorce doesn’t have to be stressful or difficult. There are a few key things a couple need to do to ensure their divorce is not a painful one.

In this blog, we’re going to explain how a couple can navigate both the personal and legal process of a divorce and come out the other side in a strong and positive place.

1.  Maintain Respectful Communication

When a couple separates it can be challenging to avoid arguments and look at the situation from the other person’s perspective. It’s important to maintain a level of respect and empathy with each other. Not only for the couple divorcing but the people around them, especially children.

In any legal proceedings, communication is crucial. This is especially important when dealing with something as personal as divorce. If you have a clear line of respectful communication, the divorce proceedings will be easier and you will have a better relationship post-divorce, which is so important if there are children involved.

2.  Counselling

One of the ways that helps to process the emotional impact of divorce is counselling. It can be extremely helpful during the formal divorce process and for building relationships once the divorce has been finalised. It allows a couple to discuss the challenges they faced in their relationship and are facing during the legal proceedings.

Counselling can help a couple to come to terms with the breakdown of a marriage and help to resolve any past issues. This is important if the couple has kids or relationships with step-children, as counselling can help a couple to work out a plan to move forward amicably.

3.  Choose the Right Lawyer

If a couple is looking to divorce, they will need to seek legal advice. The right lawyer will be an empathetic and experienced family lawyer. Someone who can guide the couple through the process in a non-judgemental and compassionate way. Getting legal advice as early as possible is recommended, so the clients understand the proceedings and are not uncertain about the process. This allows the couple and lawyers involved to have more constructive conversations that make the divorce proceedings less stressful and easier to navigate.

However, it’s important for a client not to take the first formal steps of the divorce process until their ready. A good family lawyer will advise their client on the process so you can decide a comfortable environment. Once a decision is made, a client’s legal representation can give them clear guidance so you feel at ease throughout the divorce.

4.  Be Honest

A couple must be honest to each other as well as their lawyers throughout the divorce process. If everyone involved in the process is honest, the divorce proceedings will be smooth and as simple as possible. This is because lawyers need to understand every challenge, so they can bring a quick resolution to the proceedings.

The Divorce Process Doesn’t Have to Be Stressful

There is a misconception that divorce can’t be amicable. However, the legal aspect of a divorce is normally a simple process, where a lot of people discover issues is the resolution of financial agreements as well as childcare arrangements. One of the reasons this has changed is both people in a couple will now typically have financial independence.

This allows a couple to have the freedom to divorce amicably if they feel their relationship has come to an end. There is also a lot of information available about the impact of an unhappy relationship on people’s mental health and a child’s happiness and development. With an easy and amicable divorce, a couple can ensure everyone involved reaches a settlement that is best for everyone involved, both for the two partners and any children or stepchildren.

A divorce only works if each party has realistic and reasonable advice. This way a solution that is fair for everyone can be reached. With an empathetic family lawyer, a person seeking a divorce will have compassionate advice that can help someone navigate through the process.

To find a lawyer who can help you through a divorce, get in touch with BP Collins today on 01753 889995 or contact us online.

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How Can Your Conflict Style Affect Your Divorce?

The process of ending a marriage is rarely, if ever, completely free from disagreements between the separating spouses. Divorce involves many important decisions that will have a significant impact on each person’s life and finances, and it is almost inevitable that the spouses’ interests will differ on a number of key points as they prepare to live separate lives. Added to this are the strong emotions that each spouse may be experiencing, from sadness at the failure of the marriage, to anger at each other, to fear of what comes next. When you consider all of these factors, it is hard to imagine many situations with more potential for conflict than a divorce.

That said, you should keep in mind that conflict is a natural part of life, and it can even be productive if the involved parties make an effort to work together and achieve a mutually beneficial solution. With the help of a Lombard divorce attorney, especially one who has mediation experience, you can reach an agreement that works for both you and your spouse, and possibly avoid the time, expenses, and stress of a prolonged court battle. However, your success may depend in large part on the way you personally approach conflict.

Social science researchers Thomas and Kilmann have established a model that has long been used to help people identify their conflict styles and understand how to better approach conflict in both their professional and personal lives. With some self-reflection, you can develop a better understanding of your own conflict style, how it might affect your divorce proceedings, and how you can adapt your style to have a better chance of reaching a satisfying resolution.

The 5 Styles of Conflict in Your Divorce

According to Thomas and Kilmann, the five common conflict styles are as follows:

  1. Avoiding – If your conflict style is avoiding, you tend to stay away from conflict and put off addressing it even when doing so is important. You may be unwilling to assert your own needs, and you are also unwilling to cooperate with the other party to reach a solution. In a divorce, this style may lead you to delay signing paperwork or avoid appearing for settlement negotiations, which can make for a long and frustrating process for everyone involved. You will also likely be unsatisfied with the ultimate outcome if you have not made the effort to clearly communicate your needs and preferences throughout the proceedings.
  2. Accommodating – If you have an accommodating conflict style, you often prioritize the needs of others over your own. Perhaps you feel guilty or responsible for the failure of your marriage and feel that the only way to make up for it is to let your spouse have what they want. Maybe you are worried that if you try to stand up for yourself, it will make it difficult for you and your spouse to maintain a civil relationship and co-parent after your divorce. You could also simply want others to continue to think of you as an agreeable person once the divorce is complete. Accommodators may choose to pursue an uncontested divorce because they believe it will lead to an easy agreement with their spouse, but they should be careful not to give up too much in the settlement that they will wish they had fought for later on.
  3. Competing – A competing conflict style means that you approach conflict with the goal of getting what you want and with little regard for the other person’s concerns. You may view your divorce as an all-out war in which you should attempt to punish your spouse and maximize positive outcomes for yourself. This attitude makes mediation and other collaborative approaches to divorce next to impossible, especially if both spouses adopt a competing style. You can likely expect a long, ugly trial with fierce litigation on behalf of both spouses, and the outcome may be less favorable for you than if you had been willing to cooperate.
  4. Compromising – If you take a compromising approach, you are willing to give up some of what you want in exchange for concessions on the part of the other party. In most divorces, some amount of compromise is necessary, as it may not be possible for both spouses to get everything they want. Reflecting on the terms that are most important to you and those that are less important can help you decide where you have room to bend. For example, you may be willing to cede your share of your spouse’s business assets if it means that you can keep the family home in your name.
  5. Collaborating – A collaborating conflict style means that you are invested in working through conflict to reach a resolution in which everyone gets what they want. For example, when creating a parenting plan, you would consider your children’s needs and schedules, your own work schedule and living situation, and that of your spouse, to arrive at a mutually agreeable outcome with sustainable terms that maintain everyone’s best interests. If you and your spouse are both willing to take a collaborative approach to your divorce, mediation guided by a trained, neutral third party can be a great option that ensures you both have input in the agreement and helps you avoid a trial.

Collaboration is always ideal, but it may not always be possible or realistic. However, if you tend to slip into a less productive style like avoiding, accommodating, or compromising, you should still make an effort to move toward collaboration as much as you can. Try to recognize that it is necessary to engage in some conflict to reach a resolution to your divorce. Make an effort to stand up for what is important to you, or work with a DuPage County divorce lawyer who can support you and fight for your interests. At the same time, remember to listen to your spouse’s perspective and look for openings that could lead to a solution that works for both of you. Even though conflict may be inevitable, with the right approach, endless pain, anger, and stress do not have to be.

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6 Tips for Stay-at-Home Parents Who Wish to File for Divorce

In the past, stay at home mothers were a staple in most households. Husbands went to their professional jobs every day, while mothers stayed home to take care of the children and household work. As times have changed, and single incomes have become inadequate for many families, more and more women have joined the workforce rather than remaining at home. With this change in society, stay-at-home parenthood has shifted to include more than just women. Stay-at-home parents have not disappeared, especially for families with young children, and many fathers have begun to stay home to take care of the kids.

For couples who live off a single income, divorce may seem like an impossibility. It is no secret that filing for divorce can involve high legal fees, and it can leave the non-working parent uncertain of how to proceed. Deciding to divorce as a stay-at-home parent can be a difficult choice to make, but no spouse should be stuck in an unhappy marriage, regardless of their working status. For stay-at-home parents in Illinois, divorce is a valid option, and with the help of a DuPage County divorce lawyer, you not only will survive your divorce but also come out stronger on the other side. If you are considering divorce, be sure to follow these tips:

Gather Your Official Documents

In households that have one working spouse, the financial responsibilities often fall on the working party. Since the working spouse knows their income, he or she typically handles the paying of bills, filing of tax returns, and overseeing other financial matters. Though it may seem overwhelming, it is important to collect your own copies of important legal documents. These include W2s and tax returns from the past several years, pay stubs and income statements, bank statements, insurance policies, and more.

You may believe that you are not entitled to your spouse’s income or savings, since you were not the person who earned this money. However, Illinois considers all property and assets acquired during a marriage to be both spouses’ property, known as marital property. You deserve to know your financial situation, and your attorney will need access to these records when helping you negotiate your divorce settlement.

Gain Access to Your Family’s Funds and Budget

As a stay-at-home parent, you are likely concerned about how you will pay your legal fees and how you will support yourself after everything is said and done. If you have no access to your marital funds, and your spouse refuses to support you, there is another way that you can fund your divorce. Illinois allows spouses going through the divorce process to request temporary alimony.

Also known as spousal maintenance, alimony is legally mandated financial support from one spouse to the other. You are able to request temporary alimony arrangements if you are having difficulties financially supporting yourself during the divorce. This money can be used towards your divorce proceedings if you wish. It is important to create a new, personal budget once you obtain this spousal maintenance allotment to be sure that you can use the funds to cover your legal fees and your everyday expenses.

Know the Worth of Your Marital Home

Some divorcing couples have an emotional tie to their home that they are not ready to let go of, while others may feel the need to move elsewhere to move on from their marriage. Whether you want to remain in your marital home or not, it is important to know the current value of your property. During the asset division process, it is critical to understand the value of what you own so that your marital property can be divided fairly.

In some cases, a stay-at-home parent may continue to own their marital home to live in with their kids, while the other parent moves out on their own. However, you may need to consider whether selling your home would be the better option. Depending on the value of the home and the ongoing costs, such as mortgage payments, utilities, maintenance, and property taxes, it may be more financially responsible to sell the home and move to a more affordable location. Not only will you reduce your monthly expenses, but you can also use the sale money to support yourself.

Consider Your Future Options

Depending on your state’s laws, you may be able to collect spousal maintenance, but in Illinois, there can be a time limit. Alimony payments are re-evaluated every few years, and if your former spouse can prove that you have not made any efforts to become self-supporting, your spousal maintenance payments can be terminated.

It is important to consider your options moving forward as a spouse who has been out of the workforce for some time. Take some time to think about possible jobs or career positions that you are interested in. If you need financial assistance from your spouse to go back to school to pursue your career goals, it is important to explain how this investment will help you become self-sustaining in the future.

Begin Building Your Finances

Since you and your spouse have had commingled financial accounts for the extent of your marriage, it is important to open your own personal accounts and build your credit. Building your personal credit score is critical for making large purchases in the future and living on your own. If all of your financial accounts have been in the name of your spouse, take the time to create your own accounts and keep your finances out of the hands of your spouse.

Hire a Reputable Legal Professional

The most important step that you can take as a stay-at-home parent is doing your research and hiring an experienced divorce attorney in your area. Stay-at-home parents have even more on the line than divorcing couples who are self-sustaining, and you need a divorce lawyer who can fight for your right to adequate assets, spousal maintenance payments, and child support, if applicable. You will want to work with a Naperville family law attorney who has extensive experience working with stay-at-home parents. Divorce is an option for every spouse, including those who are stay-at-home parents, and your legal representative is critical to the success of your divorce case and future.

Find top rated attorneys and law firms profiles with Find Attorneys Directory, the best and free online attorney directory. Guest bloggers can also publish their articles here as other bloggers are doing.

Things to Consider When Hiring a Divorce Lawyer in DuPage County

Searching for an attorney to help you throughout your divorce can be a difficult, but necessary, journey to take on. You have probably seen TV advertisements for personal injury claims or criminal defense lawyers, but you may be left wondering where you can turn to find a reputable divorce lawyer. Divorce can be a topic that many people do not want to discuss with others, making it more difficult to broach the subject with a recently divorced acquaintance. However, there are ways to find an experienced attorney without publicly announcing your divorce and asking for suggestions on social media.

For those living in the DuPage County area, there are a number of divorce attorneys who you can work with in your local jurisdiction. The high number of firms in your area may leave you uncertain about who to work with, but with the following considerations in mind, you can find the proper lawyer for you and your family:

Shop Around

It is important to take the time to look at all of your options rather than hiring the first attorney that you speak with. Many firms offer free initial consultations to allow you to speak with their lawyers without being on the hook for an hourly rate. Take advantage of these free meetings to talk with a few attorneys in your area before settling on one legal professional.

Discuss Your Situation

While it may seem uncomfortable to talk about the ugly details of your marriage, you should be sure that an attorney is experienced in the areas that pertain to your divorce. If you have children and foresee a contentious custody battle in your future, you should ask the divorce lawyer about their previous experience with these types of cases. High net worth divorces can also involve a variety of complex issues, so you will want to be sure an attorney has the relevant experience to address these concerns.

Mediation Experience

If you and your spouse have an amicable relationship and are not expecting a difficult divorce, you should consider finding a firm that also offers divorce mediation. Not all divorces require time in court — you and your spouse may be able to create your divorce agreement together with the help of a mediator. It is important to find a firm with experience in litigation and mediation so that you have adequate legal representation if conflict arises.

Utilize Directories

Along with online reviews from previous clients, the internet has a number of resources for Illinois residents searching for a reputable attorney. Legal directories allow you to apply filters to your search, including the practice area you are looking at and the location that you are in, to provide you with results that pertain to your needs. These directories also often have qualification requirements for attorneys to be included, guaranteeing that the professionals are up to your standards.

Ask About Cost

Realistically speaking, you should be asking about attorney’s fees from the start. This can be an uncomfortable topic to bring up, but without knowledge about what to expect, you may be signing up for fees that you simply cannot afford. Legal proceedings represent a financial investment that will ensure that you can achieve a positive outcome to your case, but there are ways to find a reputable attorney without exceeding your budget.

Making the decision to file for divorce will often put you in uncharted waters. Your initial concern may be how you can find a reputable attorney in your area who fits your needs. This can seem overwhelming at first, but by following these steps, you can make sure you have the right person on your side to address your legal concerns, allowing you to focus on planning your future.

Attorney Sean P. Sullivan is a founding member of the SBK Law Group located in Naperville, Illinois. After graduating from Western Michigan Law School in 2009, Attorney Sullivan returned to his hometown to assist those in his area with their legal concerns, including divorce and family law. He focuses on highly contested cases, but also offers divorce mediation for those who have a more amicable relationship.

Has Domestic Violence Risen Since the Coronavirus Shutdown?

During the quarantine required by the coronavirus pandemic, people are frightened of previously innocuous activities: using public transportation, going grocery shopping, visiting with friends, even having contact with loved ones. For most of us, though, home is our safe haven. Tragically, for those who are victims of domestic violence, home, where they are cooped up with their abuser, is the most dangerous place of all.

If you are a victim of domestic violence, COVID-19 has most likely made your life more frightening while simultaneously making it more difficult to seek help because you are almost constantly under the watchful eye of the person you fear. There is still help available though, through domestic abuse hotlines, law enforcement (911) and experienced, well-connected domestic abuse attorneys who will do everything possible to protect you.

If there is more domestic violence occurring, why was there a lull in calls for help?

Even though at first fewer domestic violence calls were made during the pandemic, experts in various related fields who deal directly with the problem — police officers, psychologists, medical doctors, social workers, teachers, counselors — were well aware that fewer calls just meant victims lacked access to helplines. Family law attorneys, too, noticed an eerie, temporary pullback from troubled family members. Having abusers more in control than usual is terrifying.

The Messages are Now Getting Through — Domestic Violence is on the Rise

More and more reports of domestic violence are coming in all over the world. Victims call for help from locked bathrooms and locked cars, in the middle of the night or while walking the dog. Their friends and neighbors, relatives and teachers call in too, reporting violent behavior identified by sight or sound, and investigators are reaching out, listening to stories as familiar as they are disturbing.

Those who have dealt with victims of domestic abuse, and the victims themselves, know all too well that catastrophes, large and small, worsen this type of violence. Illustrative examples can be found in statistics gathered during and after hurricanes, floods, and other natural disasters when complaints skyrocket. New estimates from the United Nations Population Fund suggest that three months of quarantine will result in a 20 percent rise in domestic violence worldwide.

Why is domestic violence surging during the coronavirus shutdown?

There are multiple causes of the awful increase in domestic violence during quarantine and each tends to exacerbate the others:

Stress

As noted, natural disasters precipitate elevated levels of domestic violence. Coronavirus, as natural as any of the other disasters, involves the added stress of being “novel,” unknown to this population. However stressful hurricanes may be, most of us have been through them before. We know how to prepare for them and know that, as much damage as they cause, they only last for days.

No one knows the end date of the coronavirus, how it will alter our future lives or for how long. Worse, no one knows who will be personally impacted by the disease or how severely they will be affected. On top of everything else, it has been scientifically proven that stress hormones (like Cortisol) are associated with increased aggression, meaning the more stressed the abuser becomes, the more likely he/she is to become violent. 

Isolation

It is well-known that social isolation enables domestic violence. This is why abusers try hard to separate their victims from family and friends. During the pandemic, when workplaces are closed, visiting is discouraged, and even public venues are largely off-limits, abusers have the ultimate control they have always sought.

Joblessness, Financial Instability, Food Insecurity

While other disasters have affected local businesses adversely, there have not been so many unemployed people since the Great Depression. Because the catastrophe is global and many forms of transportation increase risk of contagion, relocation is not a useful option.

In addition, with tens of millions of people unemployed, many families are experiencing food insecurity for the first time. Moreover, in our culture, many men, feeling that their masculinity is threatened by their inability to support their families, turn to violence to regain their sense of power and machismo.

Alcohol

Alcohol is one of the most common elements of domestic abuse. A certain percentage of people, when disinhibited by intoxication, become increasingly belligerent. It has been noted that during this country’s period of sheltering in place, the sale of alcohol has rocketed, in some areas climbing well over 200 percent.

Guns

When faced with external terrors, a certain portion of the population looks to firearms to defend themselves against invaders. Though futile in combating disease, firearms, for some, provide a sense of increased control. Many experts predict that there will be a marked increase in domestic homicide as a result of the increased number of guns in circulation.

No Place To Turn

Not only have law enforcement, legal, and judicial systems been overwhelmed, but many responders to domestic violence complaints are now working from home and may be less accessible than they usually are. Even more distressing, shelters for victims of domestic violence have not only been filled to capacity but are often unsafe for those seeking refuge. Due to their dorm-like settings, social distancing is frequently impossible. 

Who will help you through domestic violence during the shutdown?

Dedicated professionals and volunteers have found ways to function and protect victims during the coronavirus shutdown, and law enforcers are more available to come to your aid as the COVID-19 pandemic passes its peak (at least for now). Phone calls, texts or emails will reach people who can help you learn strategies to cope, ways to escape, and safe places to go.

During this crisis, compassionate family law attorneys are also available. Skilled private lawyers who have extensive experience with this painful situation can give you guidance and hope. They can assist you in connecting with the right resources to keep and your children safe while they help you pursue legal remedies.

Andrew Nickolaou is a founding partner at Bernal-Mora & Nickolaou, P.A. He practices almost exclusively in divorce, marital and family law. Andrew also handles record expungements and sealings. Andrew and his partner, Ophelia Bernal-Mora Nickolaou, joined forces in March 2016 to form the unique and boutique husband and wife family law team at Bernal-Mora & Nickolaou, P.A. Together, Andrew and Ophelia take a practical and team-based approach to all of their cases and clients to deliver the highest quality experience and representation.

Egg and Sperm Donor Agreement Ohio – Preparing for Parenthood

Whether you are a single person, a couple who struggles with infertility, or a same sex couple, when two people need to use the help of others and medical science to help create their family, there are often many questions raised about the legal ramifications of taking these steps.

Legal Rights and Responsibilities of Egg and Sperm Donor Ohio

When you ask a person that you know to donate their genetic material to help create a child, (AKA a known donor) you are taking a risk that this person could be viewed as a parent under the law of the State of Ohio and have legal rights and responsibilities to any child that is born as a result of their donation.

These legal rights and responsibilities of egg and sperm donor Ohio include the right to request Custody, Visitation, Financial Support in the form of Child Support, Health Insurance, Payment of Medical Expenses, and more.

In order for paternal/parental rights to be severed for the known donor, Ohio Law of egg and sperm donor require two things:

  1. That the Donor submit to a series of tests and give their medical history, and
  2. The insemination be performed by a Physician or someone who is under their supervision or control.

If the sperm is introduced to the egg in any other scenario, and a pregnancy occurs and child is born, those parental rights to the donor are not severed. This is where the Ohio egg and sperm donor agreement comes in. Having a egg and sperm donor agreement in place prior to the conception of the child protects all the parties including the known donor.

The Juvenile Court in Ohio is a court of law and equity that hears cases between unmarried parents regarding their rights and responsibilities towards their children. What this means is that they apply the law to their decisions, but also look at what is fair. If a egg and sperm donor signs the contract agreeing to waive his or her parental rights and responsibilities, and later tries to bring a suit for parental rights, the Ohio egg and sperm donor agreement will be used to show the court that it would be unfair to grant them such a right. A family law attorney will also demonstrate parental fitness and a best interests of the child standard to argue your case.

Now the difference is, if you follow through with the physician insemination and the medical tests/history for the donor, expensive and time consuming as it may be at the outset, the donor will not have any right under Ohio egg and sperm donor law to take you to court in the first place.

Consult With an Experience Family Law Attorney in Ohio

Always consult with a licensed assisted reproduction attorney if you have any questions or if you would like a sperm donor agreement drafted in Ohio. Remember, contracts floating around on the internet are not always complete, accurate or in compliance with your states laws and may put your family at risk.

If you are taking the next step and want to use a known donor to help start your family, contact us, we would be happy to talk through your questions on egg and sperm donor agreement, sperm donor requirements and help you get started. We have expertise in family law, adoption law, egg and sperm donor law, divorce/dissolution, child & spousal support, child custody & mediation.

Find top rated attorneys and law firms profiles with Find Attorneys Directory, the best and free online attorney directory. Guest bloggers can also publish their articles here as other bloggers are doing.

What Are the Warning Signs of an Abusive Relationship?

7 Signs for Men That You Are in Abusive Relationship

Overall, if you feel more negatively about your relationship than positive, you might need to evaluate the health of your relationship with your significant other. No relationship is perfect. It can seem as though you are a on a seesaw of emotions, with moments where you feel fulfilled as a husband, and others where you sleep on the couch. While every relationship has its ups and downs, there are warning signs that tell you it may be time to move on.

Abusive relationships are not only defined by physical violence but emotional, sexual, or psychological abuse. Abusive patterns can be hard to spot for the victim.

If you feel stuck in a bad relationship, these are the tell-tale signs that the relationship with your partner is unhealthy and stressful.

  • Your partner controls who you talk to

Isolation is a form of abuse and domination. Abusive spouses limit their partner’s activities: who they can talk to, spend time with, and when. Abusive partners use intimidation and psychological abuse to control their partners actions against their will.

In extreme situations, a spouse might even limit access to the car or turn your phone off when they want to isolate you. The more isolated you feel, the fewer resources you have to make sense of your situation and escape from it.

  • Your spouse controls the finances

Abusers often make their partners dependent on them for money by controlling access to funds. If your spouse controls how much you will spend, they are creating financial dependency by demanding their approval before spending a dime.

  • Your other half attacks your parenting skills

Fathers share a different kind of love with their children. They might not cook for or feed their children, but they share equal responsibility toward their upbringing. If your partner lashes out at you for not doing enough for your kids or doing it the ‘wrong’ way, it might be a sign you are in an unhealthy relationship.

In extreme cases, your partner might lie to the kids about you, try to belittle you in front of the kids, or threaten to take full custody of your kids.

  • Your partner uses fear, anxiety, or panic as a weapon

Abusive partners keep their spouses in line by instilling fear in them. They might threaten verbally or use intimidating looks and gestures. If you feel like your partner is tracking your every move, it might be a sign you’re part of an unhealthy relationship.

In extreme cases, abusers might destroy your possessions, threaten to harm your family or you.

  • Your spouse forces sexual activities on you

Even in a committed relationship, it is not okay for partners to force sexual activities upon each other. If your partner pressurizes you for sexual intercourse or any kind of sexual activity, you might be suffering from an unhealthy relationship.

In extreme cases, abusers treat their partners as objects of sexual pleasure.

  • Your partner undermines your self-worth

It’s important in any relationship to build each other up. If your partner tries to tear you down, it could be a sign that they are psychologically and emotionally abusive. Abusers often belittle their spouses in front of their kids, family, or friends. They engage in mean name-calling and verbal attacks to humiliate their partners in public.

In extreme cases, an abusive partner might even bully you, unfairly accuse you of having an affair or interrogate you about every little thing. Additionally, they often blame it on you for making them act this way or leave you confused, saying they were only kidding.

  • Your spouse only cares about their interests

If your relationship is centered around one person, it shows you are in an unbalanced situation. A controlling partner is usually self-centered. They don’t care about your feelings. They never acknowledge your struggle, pain, or hurt.

Instead, they assign unreasonable importance to their own worth. Self-centered partners also believe they are better than their spouses and that theirs is the ‘right’ way to do everything. There is no arguing with them. They will do everything to keep you in their shadow.

Real love has more space for understanding, respect, and trust. The bond that men and women share is gradually changing. If you are to find the right relationship dynamics, you will have to leverage mutual admiration and transparency.

If you have come to the conclusion that you are in an unhealthy relationship, be wary of taking it further. If you or someone you know notice these signs, it’s time to call your relationship what it is and break ties sooner rather than later.

If you find yourself in a family law battle, do not hesitate to contact one of attorneys for men in Nutley or Montclair.

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How to Modify the Divorce Regulatory Agreement?

We Make You Understand Your Rights and That They Are Respected and We Help You with the Divorce Settlement Agreement at the Abogado Aly Law Office

The rules that determine how spouses should handle themselves after separation or divorce are established in the regulatory agreement. It is a document in which the parties agree, preferably by mutual agreement. In this way, the rules are set under which they will participate in the matters that involve them both. For example, the custody of the children they have in common, as well as their respective maintenance. This type of agreement is not final in the strict sense of the word. Under certain circumstances, the regulatory agreement may be modified, but with the help of a divorce lawyer in Houston. This is because the causes that make this modification necessary must be demonstrated since they affect the quality of life of the parents and the child.

Under what circumstances can a court order an amendment?

As we mentioned earlier, the court in charge can order that the regulation agreement be modified under certain conditions.

1. For more than 6 months the children have lived in another county

One of the parties has the right to ask the court that issued the divorce and its regulatory agreement to transfer the administration and enforcement of the custody to a new county.
Now, as long as the father in charge and the children have lived there for more than 6 months.
To adequately support the case and the necessary information, it is advisable to have the knowledge of a divorce lawyer.

2. There was a significant change in the parents’ financial situation

This section applies to both positive and negative changes. It does not matter if the father stays with the children or not. If the economic situation of one of the parties improves markedly, the divorce attorney representing the other parent may request the competent court to review and increase the child support quota assigned to the children.

Similarly, one of the parents may request to modify the agreement related to child support if:
– At least 3 years have passed since the divorce was decreed.
– The maintenance fee must be increased by $ 100 dollars.
However, if the income of the father in charge of paying maintenance has decreased due to circumstances related to disability, dismissal or any other reason considered valid, the latter may request the court to verify the regulatory agreement.

Motions to Modify the Divorce Decree

Modification of the divorce decree is the best way to make certain changes in the agreement and it is also less expensive than to appeal the court decision. Each state has its own rules and regulations regarding the modification process. A motion to modify the divorce decree or agreement is filled to request any change in the agreement. It is usually filed in the same court where the divorce was granted. It is necessary to properly demonstrate the changed circumstances that led to filing the motion for instance change of job or loss in business can be a reason to modify child or spousal support. It is difficult to modify child support, but it can be done. Courts generally believe that the original agreement for child custody was correct and are hesitant to make any changes to the original agreement. However, if the court finds that it is in the best interest of the child, then the necessary changes can be made.

After completing the petition for modification, it is filed with the court and, then, served to your spouse. A hearing date is scheduled by the court where you will present your argument. If both, you and your spouse, reach an agreement that certain changes or modification is necessary, then you can attach the agreement with your petition and court will make the necessary modification.

At AbogadoAly‘s office, we provide hands-on attention to our clients so they can feel assured that the best minds are working on their case. We try to cover as much detail as possible at the beginning regarding the case so we can put the best foot forward.  We work by building a relationship based on communication, trust, and responsiveness. Every case is unique and we handle them efficiently so our client’s currents needs are meet. We make sure to discuss every decision with the client as we move ahead with the case.

Texas Child Custody Laws

One of the hardest topics to approach during a divorce is the matter of child custody. Many parents struggle as they seek the outcome they want while keeping the child’s best interest in mind. The state of Texas favors allowing both parents the chance to have custody when possible.

Allowing children to have a relationship with both parents is often beneficial to the child’s growth and development. A family lawyer can be instrumental in negotiating child custody terms that work for you. If you are filing for custody in Texas, it is especially important to know how the state handles these cases.

San Antonio Child Custody Lawyers

Can I File in Texas?

To be eligible to file for custody in Texas, your child must have lived in Texas for at least six months. Additionally, a parent can file for custody in Texas if they have some connection with the state like a job, means of child care, or higher education. For the initial filing, parents need to present necessary information such as:

  • Address of the child
  • All of the places the child has lived for the last five years
  • Names of people the child has lived within this five-year time span

All of this information provided gives the court a better picture of the child’s lived experience thus far.

Sole or Joint Custody?

When a court grants custody to one, or both, parents the law recognizes their role as a conservatorship. The following are different conservatorship agreements depending on the outcome of the custody case:

  • Joint Managing Conservators – Parents with joint custody
  • Sole Managing Conservator – A parent with sole custody of a child or children
  • Possessory Conservator – A parent with visitation rights

When deciding on how the custody agreement should look like, courts heavily consider the child’s best interest, any apparent history of domestic violence and abuse, and the child’s testimony if they are old enough to testify. In Texas, a child must at least be 12 to testify in a custody hearing.

Conservators’ Rights

If the family court recognizes one or both parents as a conservator in a Texas custody hearing, some of the rights that are granted include:

  • Having access to health information
  • Ability to make decisions about the child’s education
  • Right to inquire about school-related activities
  • Ability to be designated the child’s emergency contact

While family courts in the state of Texas are in favor of the granting joint custody, many parents seek sole custody of their children.

How to Seek Sole Custody

Attempting to be the sole managing conservator can be challenging, but if you believe sole custody is the best course of action for your family, a lawyer’s help will improve your chances of securing the outcome that you want. Some factors to be aware of when pursuing sole custody:

  • Better parent standard – A court must determine that you are the more responsible parent, which is a challenging task, especially if the other parent has played a consistent role in the child’s life.
  • Remain kind and calm – No matter how painful the situation, or what your feelings toward your ex-partner are, the court will respond to you better if you remain balanced and calm in your communication style. It will also support that you are a stable model for your child.
  • Child’s physical and psychological well-being – Displaying a keen interest and intimate knowledge of your child’s education, daily habits, sleep habits, all bode well for demonstrating the type of parent you are.
  • Do not rule out the possibility of joint custody – Even though it may not be what you want, stay open to the possibility of the court ruling in favor of joint custody as this is a common outcome in Texas family courts.

 

The initial custody agreement that families come to don’t always hold up with changing circumstances. Some families find that they need to modify custody when one or both parents have a significant increase or decrease in their income. While the reasons for requesting a modification varies from family to family, a lawyer can be helpful in gathering and presenting the needed documentation.

Going through a divorce is painful and having to confront the possibility of losing time with your child can be even more difficult. However, keep in mind that patience is essential and that your child’s physical, mental, and emotional health should be central to this process, no matter how difficult it is for you.

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