Law Offices of Tedone and Morton, P.C.

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 illinois adoption lawyerThe process of adopting a child can be one of the most rewarding experiences of a family’s life. The potential for adding to your family is both exciting and stressful, especially considering the many difficulties of navigating the adoption process. Due to the significance of adopting a child, the state and adoption agencies may require prospective adoptive families to undergo studies and tests to ensure that the adoptive child is the best fit for that family, including a home study on the family members. Here are some of the most common reasons a family may not pass the home study during an adoption. 

A Parent Has a Criminal History 

During the home study, adoption agencies are looking for parents who will be the best role models for their kids. Although a criminal history, including felony or misdemeanor convictions, is not always representative of who a person is, an adoption agency may feel that a parent with a criminal background is not the best fit for a child. As long as a parent is truthful regarding their background, most minor charges will not prevent them from adopting. However, adoption is usually prohibited for people with convictions for sex crimes involving a child or child abuse charges. 

Other Family Members in the Home 

The state and agencies consider all family members living in the home during the home study. This can include other children, aunts, uncles, nannies, or grandparents. It is important to take into account the entire dynamic of a home before another child is added into the equation. For example, if there are other children in the family that express an inability to accept an adoptive sibling, or if another person in the home has a criminal background, adoption agencies may feel it would be in the child’s best interest to be placed elsewhere. 

Family Finances 

The home study is comprehensive and includes the financial health of the family as well. Adoption agencies are looking to place a child with a family that is in good shape to provide that child with all of his or her necessities. Prospective adoptive families will be required to disclose their financial statements. If an agency or the state feels that the financial stability of the parents may not meet a child’s needs, they may fail the home study.

Health Concerns  

Not only are parents required to have their financial health up to standard when adopting a child, but their physical health must be well, too. A significant health concern may impact a child, especially if one of the parents has a life-threatening illness. This is to protect the child from emotional trauma from a sick parent or an unsuitable parent who can’t care for a child physically. 

Talk to a Will County Adoption Attorney 

If you are looking to adopt a child, our Will County adoption attorneys at Law Offices of Tedone and Morton, P.C. are prepared to guide you through the process. Adopting a child is no small feat, and our firm wants to help you align all of the necessary documents to successfully complete the process. For a free consultation, call us at 815-666-1285 today. 




Will County Family Law AttorneyWhen a parent-child relationship is officially established through birth or a paternity action, the parent gains parental rights. Among these rights are the right to seek parental responsibilities and parenting time. In some situations, these rights are terminated either voluntarily or involuntarily. Illinois courts consider the parent-child relationship to be one the most sacred relationships in a child’s life. Because all child-related family law decisions are made with the child’s best interests at heart, parental rights are only terminated in a narrow set of circumstances.

Giving Up Your Parental Rights Voluntarily

Voluntary termination of parental rights usually coincides with an adoption case. Children may only have two parents. If a stepparent, grandparent, or other adult wishes to adopt a child, the child’s parent may need to give up his or her parental rights to allow the adoption to proceed. Once parental rights are terminated, the parent loses the right to parenting time with the child. The parent is also absolved of his or her child support obligation.

Involuntary Termination of Parental Rights Due to Parental Unfitness

Parental rights may be terminated against a parent’s will if the parent is found to be “unfit.” This is considered a last resort. Parents are only declared unfit if it can be demonstrated that the parent having contact with the child is not in the child’s best interests. There must be ample evidence of a parent’s inability to care for the child and keep the child safe.

A parent may be found to be unfit due to:

  • Child abandonment

  • Child sexual abuse

  • Persistent child neglect or physical abuse

  • Death of a child by physical abuse

  • Continued failure to provide adequate food, clothing, and shelter despite having the means to do so

  • Lack of interaction with the child for at least one year

  • Lack of reasonable concern or interest in to the child’s welfare

  • Failure to protect the child from dangerous situations

  • Drug or alcohol addiction lasting at least one year

  • Mental inability that prevents the parent from fulfilling parenting obligations

  • Certain criminal convictions

Contact a Will County Parental Rights Lawyer

Parental rights may be involuntarily terminated if the parent is deemed “unfit” due to abuse, neglect, abandonment, or other reasons. Parents may also be able to willingly give up their parental rights in certain situations.

If you want to petition the court to terminate a parent’s parental rights or your parental rights are being threatened, contact the Joliet family law attorneys at Law Offices of Tedone and Morton, P.C. for help. Call our office at 815-666-1285 for a free consultation.



Will County Divorce LawyerIn Illinois, both spouses have a right to a fair share of any property considered marital property. In most cases, the marital home is considered marital property. It can be difficult to know what to do with your house or condo during divorce. Should you fight to keep the home in order to retain some sense of normalcy? Should you sell the home and use the proceeds to benefit your post-divorce life? Should one spouse buy out the other spouse’s share of the home? If you are unsure of what to do with the marital home during your divorce, ask yourself the following questions.

What is My Home Worth?

If you are getting divorced and you are unsure of how to address the marital home, the first step is to get the home professionally appraised. You cannot make a sound decision about what to do until you know what the home is worth.

Can I Afford to Keep the Home?

Once you know what your home is worth, you can start to consider what it would cost to maintain the home. Can you afford to maintain the house and yard? What about the property taxes, HOA fees, and insurance? Does the home have roof damage or other problems that will need to be repaired in the next several years?

Do We Have Substantial Debts?

Many debts are considered marital debts jointly held by both spouses. Dividing debt during a divorce can be tricky because creditors do not necessarily stop pursuing payment just because a person gets divorced. Many people find that it is better to sell assets such as the marital home during divorce and use the proceeds to pay off debt than try to divide the debt between the spouses.

What is Best for the Children?

If you have kids, you will need to consider how ownership of the marital home will affect them, too. If you are planning to have the majority of the parenting time, you may want to keep the home so your children will not have to change schools or adjust to a new neighborhood.

Do I Want a Fresh Start or Familiarity?  

Some people can afford to keep the marital home but decide not to for personal reasons. It can be hard to live alone in a house you used to share with your ex-spouse. Only you can know whether a fresh start in a new home would be in your best interests.

Contact a Joliet Property Division Lawyer

If you are getting divorced, the Plainfield, IL divorce attorneys at the Law Offices of Tedone and Morton, P.C. can help. Our skilled team can help you evaluate the pros and cons of keeping the marital home and explore your options. Call us today at 815-666-1285 for a free consultation.



Plainfield Paternity attorneys

When a woman gives birth to a baby, she automatically becomes the child’s mother in the eyes of the law. However, the same is not true for fathers. In many cases, a father is not considered a child’s legal parent until paternity is established. You cannot put a father’s name on a birth certificate until paternity is established either through a VAP or other means. If you are a mother who wants to seek child support from the father, you will need to establish paternity before you can do so. One of the easiest ways to establish paternity is to sign a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (VAP).

What is a VAP?

A Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (VAP) is a document that confirms paternity, or the legal parent relationship between a child and the father. Both parents must sign the VAP in front of a witness for it to be valid. If one of the parents refuses to sign the VAP document, it may not be used to establish paternity.

How to Establish Parentage With a VAP

Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity forms are usually available at the hospital where the child is born. You can also get a VAP form on the HFS/DCSS website, the County Clerk’s office, or the Child Support Office. Once you fill out the form, send it to the Illinois Healthcare and Family Services department.

Should I Sign a VAP if I Am Uncertain About Paternity?

Whether you are a mother or a father, do not sign a VAP unless you are certain about who the child’s father is. If you are not sure, DNA testing may be needed to confirm the father’s biological relationship to the child.

Can I Change My Mind After Signing a VAP?

There are serious legal implications to signing a VAP. If you signed a VAP form and then found out the person listed on the VAP form is not actually the child’s biological father, you can sign a Rescission of Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity. However, you must sign and file the Recession within 60 days of the VAP.

Contact a Plainfield Paternity Lawyer

Establishing paternity is not always a straightforward process. For help with paternity concerns, child support, child custody, and other family law matters, contact Law Offices of Tedone and Morton, P.C.. Our skilled Joliet family law attorneys can assess your situation, explain your options, and help you take the next steps. Call us today at 815-666-1285 for a free consultation.


Help! My Spouse is Hiding Money From Me During Our Divorce

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plainfield divorce attorney for hidden assets

Financial disclosure is a crucial aspect of any divorce. Spouses cannot address the division of property, child support, or other financial concerns unless they are on the same page financially. Unfortunately, some divorcing spouses are more transparent than others when it comes to finances. If your spouse is trying to hide money from you or otherwise lie about finances during divorce, contact a divorce lawyer for help. Your spouse’s deceptive behavior can have a major impact on the outcome of your divorce.

Signs of Financial Fraud in a Joliet Divorce Case

Hiding assets can take many different forms. Some spouses literally hide cash or valuables in order to shield them from division during divorce. They may use a safety deposit box, secret bank account, or transfer assets to a friend or family member. Business owners may manipulate their business’s financial records to hide money through the business.

Some signs that a spouse is hiding assets in a divorce include:

  • Secretive behavior regarding finances -  Spouses may hide tax documents and other financial records or change the passwords on financial software or banking apps. They may refuse to discuss anything related to finances or get angry when the other spouse tries to bring up finances.

  • Unexplained transfers – Large transfers of money from one account to the other are a huge red flag during a divorce.

  • Sudden debts or increased expenses – Spouses sometimes try to hide money by creating fake expenses or debts. They pretend to owe a party money, but the debt is just a front for financial manipulation.

  • Large cash withdrawals – Some spouses hide money by withdrawing funds and placing the funds elsewhere. Something as simple as getting cash back on a grocery store purchase can be an effective way to take money out of an account and hide it.  

What You Can Do If Your Spouse Hides or Destroys Assets

If you think your spouse is hiding money or property during your divorce, contact a divorce lawyer for help. Spouses’ financial circumstances affect nearly every aspect of the divorce process. You deserve a divorce outcome that is based on accurate financial information. Your attorney may work with a forensic accountant to uncover financial fraud. He or she may also use discovery tools such as formal requests for documents, subpoenas, and depositions to reveal hidden assets.

Contact a Joliet Divorce Lawyer

The Plainfield divorce attorneys at Law Offices of Tedone and Morton, P.C. can help you with forensic accounting, property distribution negotiations, divorce discovery, and more. Call 815-666-1285 today for a free consultation.


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