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Plainfield parentage attorney VAP

In Illinois, when a child is born to a married couple, the husband is presumed to be the father of the child by law. However, paternity can and should be established even if a couple is unwed. The father’s name cannot be added to the child's birth certificate until paternity is confirmed. If the identity of the biological father is not in question, both parents can sign a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (VAP). This will ensure that both parents can share in child custody and parenting time. It can also ensure that a child will receive financial support from both parents. Whether you need to establish paternity through a VAP or other methods, or if you have other concerns regarding child custody or child support, you should work with a skilled family law attorney to protect your parental rights and ensure that your child can maintain a relationship with both parents.

What Is a VAP?

If a couple is unwed, or if a person other than the mother's husband is the child's biological father, a VAP legally establishes paternity. In addition to protecting parents' rights to share in responsibility for raising the child and ensuring that the child can receive child support, establishing paternity can also provide a child with financial security in the form of Social Security benefits if a parent is deceased or disabled, inheritance rights, health insurance benefits, and more. A child will also be able to access his or her family’s medical history at some point later in life if any health issues come up. 

A VAP can be signed by both parents and submitted to the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS). VAP forms can be obtained at: 

  • Hospitals

  • Local child support offices

  • The HFS or Division of Child Support Services (DCSS) website

  • Any Department of Human Services office

  • Any county clerk’s office

  • Any state or local registrar’s office

Before signing a VAP, it is important for parents to understand their rights and responsibilities with the help of an experienced family law attorney. There is no time limit for completing a VAP, and it can be filed at any time following the child's birth. Any parents who are not legally married can submit a VAP, including minors (who do not need the consent of their parents or guardians) and non-US citizens as long as their child was born in the United States.

Contact a Joliet, IL Family Law Attorney

Studies show that a child benefits from having a relationship with both parents, regardless of whether they are married. The circumstances of your relationship aside, seeking the assistance of a Will County paternity lawyer will ensure that all of the legal aspects of parentage are handled properly. At the Law Offices of Tedone & Morton, P.C., we have years of experience advocating for our clients in all matters of family law. To learn how we can help you, call us today at 815-666-1285 to schedule a free consultation.




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shutterstock_526811452Spousal support, or alimony, occurs when one spouse pays another in a divorce. The purpose of alimony is to reduce any unfair economic advantages one spouse has over the other.

Courts will evaluate the financial situation of each spouse before and after the divorce in order to determine alimony eligibility and amount. We have compiled this list of six of the most common misconceptions about alimony so that you can gain a greater understanding of what it is and how it works.

Men are always the ones paying alimony. In the past, it was common for men to pay alimony. However, since more and more women are the primary breadwinners in today's society, it is becoming more common for women to pay alimony to their husbands.

  1. Alimony is permanent. Contrary to popular belief, alimony is based on the length of a marriage and does not last forever. In many cases, it is only awarded for a short period of time. It may stop once a spouse reenters the job market and is able to support themselves without any assistance.
  2. There cannot be any changes made to an alimony agreement. Alimony can be modified for several reasons. For example, if circumstances change and the spouse paying alimony loses their job or the spouse who is obtaining it increases their income, an alimony modification is a possibility.
  3. Alimony is awarded in every divorce case. Most people wrongly believe that alimony is always awarded in a divorce. The truth is that it is more common for both spouses to have an education and career, making alimony inapplicable in some cases.
  4. There are no taxes associated with alimony payments. Alimony should not be viewed as free money with no strings attached. The recipient must pay taxes on it and the payer can deduct taxes. A spouse should use it to help transition themselves rather than depend on it for the rest of their life.
  5. The spouse that filed for divorce will not qualify for alimony. Although the judge will be aware of which spouse filed for divorce, this information will not be taken into consideration when trying to determine whether alimony should be awarded. The judge will also disregard who is at fault for the divorce when figuring out alimony.

Contact Our Plainfield Spousal Support Lawyers

Alimony can be difficult to understand. If you would like more information about alimony laws in Illinois or are seeking legal representation for your divorce case, call our experienced Plainfield spousal support lawyers at 815-666-1285 for a personalized consultation.


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shutterstock_190621838When you are going through a divorce in Illinois, your goal should be to achieve the best possible outcome for yourself, ensuring that you will have the resources you need as you embark on the next phase of your life. One of the ways to make this happen is to be well-prepared for your divorce trial. Here is a list of six tips to help you prepare for trial and increase your chances of securing a favorable outcome: 1. Dress Appropriately. When you show up for your trial, you should be dressed professionally. Rather than dressing casually or wearing a provocative outfit, you should wear a suit or clothing that gives you a clean and neat appearance. If you have any tattoos or piercings, be sure to cover them up. 2. Stay on Point While Testifying. You may be tempted to tell the judge everything when it is time for you testify. However, doing so may aggravate the judge and make your case less compelling. Try to keep your answers short and avoid volunteering unnecessary information. 3. Control Yourself When Your Spouse or Their Lawyer Speaks. Although it is easier said than done, you should control your emotions when your spouse or his or her lawyer speaks in court. Avoid rolling your eyes, interrupting, sighing, or doing anything else that will make you appear rude or disrespectful, since these actions could be used against you. If you believe your spouse is saying something false, quietly inform your lawyer. 4. Listen Carefully to Questions. Prior to answering, you should be sure you fully understand the question being asked. By doing so, you can ensure that you answer it correctly and avoid stating something that does not make sense to the judge or volunteering inappropriate information. If you get asked a complicated question that you do not understand, ask the judge or attorney to repeat it. Never answer a question you are unclear about. 5. Be Yourself. During a trial, act as you normally would. Do not try to be someone that you are simply not. A lack of sincerity will likely hurt rather than help you. 6. Consult With Your Lawyer. Your lawyer has been to many trials, meaning they can help you prepare for what to expect and answer any questions you may have. Talk to them and use their knowledge and experience to your advantage. Contact Our Joliet Divorce Lawyers Although you cannot change the facts of your case or the laws governing divorce in Illinois, following these tips can raise your chances of getting the outcome you want. If you are planning on filing for divorce and need experienced legal representation to guide you through the process and trial, do not hesitate to reach out to our Joliet divorce lawyers. Call us today at 815-666-1285 for a personalized consultation.


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Will County domestic violence family law attorneySadly, people are sometimes unaware that they are a victim of domestic violence, because the signs of abuse are often overlooked, excused, or denied. In addition, many people believe that domestic violence is limited to physical abuse, when in reality, it can include emotional, financial, and sexual abuse. You should contact a family law attorney to learn about your rights and options if you notice any of these five signs of domestic violence in your relationship:

  1. Your partner controls your finances. If your partner has to approve your spending or tell you how much you are allowed to spend on groceries, bills, and miscellaneous expenses, you may be a victim of domestic abuse. This is especially true if you are also contributing to your joint income and have no say in how your money is being spent.
  1. Your partner tries to cover up acts of violence. If your partner abuses you in any way, they may try to “make up” for the abuse by buying you items such as flowers or jewelry. You should know that materialistic items can never forgive abuse and cannot cover up an abuser's actions.
  1. Your partner wants you by their side at all times. It is important for your partner to understand that you have your own life and allow you to do whatever it is that makes you happy. If you find that your partner makes you feel guilty for wanting to spend time with your friends and family members or participate in hobbies, they may be trying to isolate you and attempting to gain control of your life.
  1. Your personality has changed. If you used to be bubbly, happy, and outgoing and are now shy or tend to steer away from people or activities that you used to enjoy, you may be doing so because you are scared of your partner and their abusive behaviors.
  1. You have become afraid of conflict. If your home life is full of conflict that makes you feel tense and scared, you may have begun to be afraid of arguments or disagreements in other areas of your life. When this happens, you may give into what others want rather than standing up for yourself or asserting your own desires or needs.

Contact Our Will County Domestic Violence Attorneys

Domestic violence can leave you with physical and mental pain that you do not deserve. If you have noticed any signs of domestic abuse in your life, it is in your best interests to speak to the compassionate attorneys of Tedone & Morton, P.C. We can help you understand your rights and work with you to reach a resolution to your situation. Contact our experienced Will County domestic violence attorneys at 815-666-1285 to schedule a consultation.


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Joliet family law attorneysWhen parents are faced with the decision of divorce, they often consider the well-being of their children. While, in many ways, this is a positive thing, it can convince parents to put off an inevitable divorce for the sake of their children. Sadly, this could end up doing more harm than good. Learn more about the risks associated with delayed divorce when you have kids and discover how an experienced attorney can assist you in taking the next step.

Study Shows Conflict is the True Cause of Maladjustment

Research has long shown that kids can be negatively affected by divorce. However, as science learns more about how the brain develops, they learn that it may not be divorce itself causing the negative effects in children. Instead, it could be contention (and the stress that may result from it).

In a recent study, scientists examined data on more than 19,000 children and their families. What they found was that about 50 percent of the non-cognitive “child skill gaps” was caused by a conflict between the parents – not divorce. In fact, divorce seemed to have only a “marginal impact” in the development of these skill gaps, which included behaviors and maladjustments such as dropping out of school, difficulties in the workplace, emotional problems, and poor or tumultuous intimate relationships. This information not only challenges the common belief that divorce negatively affects children; it nearly blows it out of the water entirely.

Should You Stay or Go?

Only you can decide for certain if divorce is the right path for your family. However, there are some indicators that could help you in making that determination. If you are willing to continue working on your marriage and find that your spouse is just as willing, counseling could be worth a try. If you can manage to get along but just are not sure if staying together is the right decision, a legal separation may give you the time and space you need to make a final decision.

In contrast, if you and your spouse struggle to even be in the same room together and find yourselves constantly arguing, you may be causing your children more harm than good. To make matters worse, you and your spouse are probably making one another miserable! So, if you strongly believe that you would be happier apart, have a contentious marriage, or are experiencing abuse, divorce may be the most appropriate path for you.

Whatever you decide, know that Tedone & Morton, P.C. is here, prepared to help you move forward. Dedicated and experienced, we take a personalized approach in every case. Whether you plan to mediate, litigate, or just legally separate, our Joliet family law attorneys can help. Schedule your initial consultation by calling 815-666-1285 today.


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