Law Offices of Tedone and Morton, P.C.

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IL family lawyerAccording to Illinois law, if a child’s parents are married at the time of birth, the mother’s spouse will be presumed to be the child’s legal parent. However, there are many situations where a child’s parents may be unmarried, and in these cases, paternity will need to be legally established before a man will be recognized as the child’s legal father. This can often be done fairly easily, but some cases may involve complex legal issues, and either or both parents may need to work with a family law attorney to ensure that their rights and their child’s best interests will be protected.

Benefits of Paternity for Children and Parents

If a child’s parents are unmarried, but they agree that a man is the child’s biological father, the parents can fill out and sign a form known as a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity (VAP). This form can usually be obtained from the hospital where a child was born, but it may also be available at a county clerk’s office or the Illinois Department of Human Services, and a VAP can be completed and signed at any time during the child’s life.

If either parent is uncertain about the identity of the child’s biological father, other procedures may be used to confirm the genetic relationship between a parent and child and legally establish paternity. Parents may agree to work with the Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) to conduct genetic testing, or either parent may file a petition in family court to establish paternity. During court proceedings, DNA testing will usually be ordered, and once the identity of the child’s biological father is confirmed, an order of paternity will be issued.

Establishing paternity can provide multiple benefits for a child. From an emotional standpoint, understanding their roots and family history can provide a child with a better sense of identity. The child will be able to access family medical history, ensuring that they can receive the proper medical care. They will be able to receive an inheritance from their legal parent, as well as benefits through a parent such as insurance coverage or Social Security.

After establishing paternity, the parents will be able to address matters related to child custody, including the allocation of decision-making responsibilities and schedules for parenting time. A legal parent will also have the obligation to provide child support. By establishing paternity, parents can ensure that they will each be able to maintain a relationship with the child and that the child will have the financial resources to meet their ongoing needs.

Contact a Will County Paternity Lawyer

If you are an unmarried parent, the Law Offices of Tedone & Morton, P.C. can help you take the right steps to establish legal paternity for your child. We will make sure you understand your rights, and we will provide you with representation in any legal proceedings, ensuring that your child’s best interests will be protected. Contact our Joliet family law attorneys at 815-666-1285 to set up a free consultation today.


IL family lawyerDuring the divorce process, married couples who have children will need to address multiple types of legal issues related to child custody. The decisions made will be set down in a document known as a “parenting plan,” which will be part of the couple’s divorce decree. A parenting plan will state how parents will share the responsibility of making decisions about their children’s upbringing, and it will also include a schedule for the parenting time that children will spend with each parent. It can also address any other issues related to the couple’s children and the ways the parties will work together as co-parents. One issue that parents may want to address is the right of first refusal.

What Is the Right of First Refusal?

Following a divorce or separation, situations may arise in which a parent will not be available to care for their children during their scheduled parenting time. This may occur because of work-related responsibilities, health issues, or other scheduling conflicts. In these cases, the other parent may want to be able to take care of their children rather than having someone else provide care, such as a babysitter or another family member.

If parents include the right of first refusal in their parenting plan, this will ensure that a parent will be able to provide care for their children whenever possible. A right of first refusal clause will require one parent to contact the other parent and offer them the opportunity to care for the children in cases where they will be unavailable during their normal parenting time. Essentially, this will give the other parent the first opportunity to care for their children, and other child care options can only be considered if the parent refuses this opportunity.

When addressing the right of first refusal, a parenting plan should specify the circumstances in which this right will apply. For example, the right of first refusal clause may state that if a parent will be unavailable for at least six hours during the time that they are scheduled to have parenting time, they must contact the other parent and ask if they are available to care for the children. The parenting plan may also specify how parents will contact each other in these situations, detail transportation arrangements for children, and address any other issues that are necessary to protect the children’s best interests.

Contact Our Plainfield Parenting Plan Attorneys

As you determine what should be included in your parenting plan, you will need to work with an attorney who can explain your rights, help you negotiate with the other parent, and make sure your children’s best interests are protected. The lawyers at the Law Offices of Tedone & Morton, P.C. can help you address the right of first refusal and any other issues that will affect you and your children during your divorce. Contact our Will County child custody lawyers by calling 815-666-1285 to arrange your free consultation.



IL divorce lawyerDuring your divorce, determining how you and your spouse will divide the property you own is going to be a major concern. This is especially true if you are a business owner. Your business not only represents the investment of time and resources needed to make sure it can be successful, but it may also be your main source of income. To avoid losing a business you have put so much of yourself into and being required to find employment elsewhere, you will want to determine how you can maintain ownership of your business and continue to operate it successfully after your divorce.

Business Valuation and Asset Division

One of the most important things you will need to do during the divorce process is to establish the full value of your business assets. With an understanding of how much your business is worth, you can calculate the total value of your marital estate, which includes all the assets and debts you and your spouse have acquired while you were married.

There are several methods that may be used to determine the value of your business, and by working with accountants and financial experts, you can decide the most appropriate approach. In some cases, you may look at the value of all the assets owned by the business, including inventory, equipment, supplies, accounts receivable, and intellectual property, and subtract the business’s liabilities. In other cases, it may be more appropriate to consider the income currently being earned by the business and the projected growth over the next several years, or you may look at the purchase price of similar businesses that have been sold in your area. By considering all applicable factors, you can establish the monetary value of your business and ensure that it can be considered properly when dividing your marital property.

Some divorcing couples who own businesses choose to sell their business since this makes it easier to divide their marital assets. However, this will not be an option if you wish to continue owning and operating your business. If you want to retain full ownership, you will need to divide the marital estate in a way that allows your spouse to retain assets of a similar value, such as your marital home or other valuable items. If this is not feasible, or if the value of the business is much higher than the value of your other marital assets, you may be able to make arrangements in which you will buy out your spouse’s share of the business and pay this amount off over time, along with interest.

Another option may be for you and your spouse to continue co-owning and co-managing the business as ex-spouses and business partners. If the two of you have already been working together to operate the business, and you will be able to set aside your differences about your divorce and work together professionally, this may be the best approach to take. However, if you do not already have a partnership agreement, you will want to create one, since this will define your individual responsibilities in different areas of your business. Your partnership agreement can also include details about the procedures that will be followed if either of you plans to leave the business in the future or wishes to buy out the other’s share of the business.

Contact Our Will County Business Valuation Attorneys

If you are a business owner who is going through a divorce, the Law Offices of Tedone & Morton, P.C. can advise you on the best approach to take that will protect your financial interests. We can also assist with the creation of a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement that will decide how ownership of your business will be handled in the case of divorce. Contact our Joliet asset division lawyers at 815-666-1285 to set up a complimentary consultation.


IL divorce lawyerGetting a divorce can lead to a variety of financial difficulties for both you and your spouse. In addition to addressing the costs of the divorce process itself, you will both need to determine how you will be able to meet your needs based on a single income rather than a combined income. This adjustment may be especially difficult for a person who relied on their spouse as the family’s primary income earner. A spouse who is at a financial disadvantage may be able to receive spousal support. In these cases, the parties will want to be sure to understand how the amount of support will be calculated and how long the payments will last.

Determining the Duration of Spousal Support Payments

Illinois law uses the term “spousal maintenance” for payments made by one spouse to the other following their divorce. Typically, spousal maintenance will be awarded if one spouse needs support to ensure that they can maintain the standard of living they had during their marriage. Spouses may agree that spousal support will be paid when they create a divorce settlement, or in cases where litigation will be required to resolve divorce-related issues, a judge may choose to award maintenance to one spouse after considering factors such as the parties’ financial resources and ongoing needs, whether one spouse made sacrifices during their marriage that affected their career, and whether one party helped the other obtain education or otherwise assisted in their career advancement.

If maintenance is awarded, the amount that will be paid will be calculated based on the income earned by both spouses. The duration that payments will last will depend on whether maintenance is fixed-term, indefinite, or reviewable.

Fixed-term maintenance is awarded in most cases, and payments will last for a specific period of time based on the amount of time the couple was married. In these cases, the duration of maintenance will be based on a percentage of the time the couple was married. For example, if a couple was married for between 12 and 13 years, maintenance will be paid for 52% of the length of their marriage.

Indefinite maintenance may be awarded if a couple was married for at least 20 years or if a spouse has extraordinary needs, such as a disability that prevents them from working and earning an income. In these cases, maintenance will have no termination date, and it will continue to be paid unless the court grants a request for maintenance to be modified or terminated.

Reviewable maintenance may be appropriate if a spouse needs some time to obtain education or pursue employment. In these cases, maintenance may be paid for a specific amount of time, after which the court will review the case to determine whether support is still necessary or whether payments should be modified or terminated.

Contact Our Joliet Spousal Support Attorneys

The attorneys at the Law Offices of Tedone & Morton, P.C. can help you understand how Illinois’ laws related to spousal support apply in your divorce case. We will advocate on your behalf throughout the divorce process to help you reach an outcome that will protect your financial interests and provide for your ongoing needs. Contact our Plainfield spousal maintenance lawyers today by calling 815-666-1285 to arrange a free consultation.



IL divorce lawyerMarried couples who choose to get a divorce will need to address many different legal and financial issues related to the income they earn and the property they own. Determining how to divide marital property can often be a complex process, especially for couples who own significant assets. In addition to dividing physical property and financial accounts, couples may also need to address retirement savings and pension benefits. When dividing certain types of retirement assets, couples will want to use a Qualified Domestic Relations Order (QDRO).

What Is a QDRO?

A Qualified Domestic Relations Order is a court order that instructs the administrator of a retirement plan to make payments to someone other than the plan holder. QDROs can be used to divide the funds in certain types of retirement savings accounts and to allocate pension payments.

A QDRO is usually used with retirement savings plans that are covered by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), such as a 401(k) account. If a couple agrees in their divorce settlement that the funds in a 401(k) that is in one spouse’s name will be divided equally between the spouses, a QDRO can be used to withdraw half of the funds and pay them to the other spouse. When using a QDRO, penalties for withdrawing funds before reaching retirement age will not apply, and taxes will not need to be paid, as long as the payee deposits or rolls over the funds into a retirement account in their name. For retirement accounts such as IRAs or SEPs, a QDRO will not be needed, and funds can be allocated using a “transfer incident to divorce.”

QDROs can also be used to divide pension benefits, and for pension plans operated by the State of Illinois, spouses will need to use a special type of QDRO known as a Qualified Illinois Domestic Relations Order (QILDRO). Unlike retirement accounts, which have a known balance that can be divided between spouses, the benefits a person will receive through a pension may not be known at the time of a couple’s divorce. To ensure that these benefits can be divided fairly, a QDRO or QILDRO may state that a certain percentage of the benefits will be paid to the alternate payee (the plan holder’s ex-spouse) once the person retires and begins receiving pension payments.

Contact a Plainfield QDRO Attorney

Retirement savings and benefits are just one of many issues that you may need to address during your divorce. Making the right decisions during the divorce process can ensure that you will be protected financially, providing you with the resources you need to succeed in the years to come. At the Law Offices of Tedone & Morton, P.C., we can advise you of your rights, help you understand the legal issues you will need to address and advocate for your interests throughout the divorce process. Contact our Will County property division lawyers by calling 815-666-1285 or 815-733-5350 to schedule your free consultation.



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