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Family law: Helping children with stepparent relationships

The structure of the family has taken on new forms over the past couple decades. With divorce becoming more socially acceptable, there are more blended families in Illinois today than ever before. The legal issues concerning families are governed by family law and that includes issues surrounding stepparents who may find parenting in blended families a bit challenging, but it needn't be.

Blended families can be perfectly healthy situations for children, especially when both their parents are happy with their new partners. When all involved are cordially with each other and put the children's interests first, children can thrive with stepparents in their lives. But children are known to grasp changes slowly, so patience is important. Children need to feel safe and secure above all else. 

For baseball star accused of having an affair with nanny

Given the emotion that is often involved in divorce cases in Crystal Lake, it is not uncommon to see both sides dig their proverbial heels in and fight for what they believe to be the outcome most advantageous for them. When proceedings devolve to this point, accusations may start to fly back and forth, each with the intent of damaging the other's case. The bitterness behind such allegations can often make it difficult for people to not view them with a certain degree of skepticism, especially when those they aimed at deny them. 

That is exactly what former baseball star Jim Edmonds is doing after his soon-to-be ex-wife accused him of having an affair with their children's nanny. Edmonds (who has admitted to infidelity in the past) vehemently denies the allegations, saying that he views the girl as being like one of his children and that as such, he would not even consider engaging in a relationship with her. The accusation apparently came following a dispute between Edmonds and his wife, during which she called the police. Authorities responded, yet hee was not arrested and it was reported that no assault took place. 

Why are second marriages more likely to fail

If you have recently filed for divorce or are currently going through the divorce process, you are not alone. At least 50% of all marriages in the United States end in divorce, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As a result, it is not unlikely to see people going through their second or third marriage. While many people believe that a subsequent marriage is more likely to survive, studies show that this is not the case. The divorce rate is higher among second and third marriages when compared to first marriages. 

According to Psychology Today, 67% of second marriages and 73% of third marriages do not last ‘until death do us part.’ What are the reasons for this increased divorce rate? Rebound marriages are one common result of a first-time divorce. People who rush into marriage quickly after getting divorced often make rash decisions that do not always lead to a long-term relationship. After the newness of the relationship wears off, people file for divorce again. 

How to tell if a spouse is hiding assets

The higher an Illinois resident's net worth is, the more assets they likely have. The more assets they have, the easier it is for a spouse to attempt to hide money during the divorce process. An individual will do this so they don't have to divide assets fairly with their ex-spouse.

Forbes takes a look at where men in particular are most likely to hide assets. Among these tactics is the act of purchasing expensive items that can be hidden in plain sight. This can include antiques, carpeting or other room decor, additions to already existing art collections, watches, pieces of jewelry, or other things that are pricy but relatively easy to miss. They may also directly stash money in hiding spaces around the house, their place of work, or in their car so it isn't registered by the bank.

Help your children adjust to living between 2 homes

Helping your children through your divorce can be challenging. You have to think about the emotional aspects of the matter, but you also need to find ways to help them adjust to living in two homes. This is not easy, but it doesn't have to be too difficult.

The parent who remains in the marital home might have it a bit easier since the child is already comfortable there. There may be slight changes to how things work, but they can usually adjust pretty well. The parent at the other home might have some work to do.

Does Illinois recognize community property?

When couples in Illinois divorce, state laws determine how property division will work. Each state has its own unique set of laws that decide what property is considered to be owned jointly, and how it should be divided amongst the parties.

As said by FindLaw, that there are ten states that have community property laws. In these states, all property gained after marriage is considered to be joint property. Due to this, property is usually split right down the middle. However, Illinois does not recognize community property laws. Instead of dividing things "evenly", the courts aim to divide property “equitably”. They strive to maintain fairness, even if the division is not a 50-50 split.

Home study preparation can build confidence and rapport

The process of fostering or adopting children in Illinois is not one for the faint of heart and is certainly not a process that is approved without considerable investigation into the home life of potential host families. A part of the process of adopting and even foster parenting is a home study where a member of the family's chosen adoption agency will visit an applicant's home and analyze whether or not the environment is safe, comfortable and realistic for a child to grow and thrive. 

According to the Illinois Department of Children & Family Services, a family's willingness to sacrifice their time and resources and become the permanent guardian of a child or children through the adoption process can make a considerable difference in the future of the children in their care. Rather than living their life bouncing between temporary housing options, adopted children have the chance to experience a loving and loyal family dynamic that is conducive to a life of success and happiness. 

Why does your legal parental status matter in LGBTQ divorce?

Going through a divorce is never easy, but it’s additionally complicated if you were in a LGBTQ relationship. The Supreme Court ruling that lifted the ban on same-sex marriage in all states also opened the door for divorce.

In LGBTQ divorce, family courts struggle deciding child custody. The state of Illinois now calls child custody the “allocation of parenting time and responsibility.” Family courts look out for the child’s best interests. They also want to preserve parent-child relationships. However, this can be difficult and problematic if only you, or your ex-spouse, is the legal parent.

How can I escape an abusive marriage?

Domestic violence affects countless families in Illinois and across the country. Nobody deserves to live in constant fear for their safety, or the safety of their children and pets, in their own home. However, as you may know, leaving an abusive relationship can be difficult. Successfully escaping abuse requires careful planning, as well as assistance from trusted allies.

You may be aware that abusers use manipulation and fear tactics to keep their victims under their control. Regardless of whether your spouse has ever physically harmed you, you may feel threatened and unsafe at the thought of leaving. The National Domestic Violence Hotline suggests victims create an escape plan before leaving, such as the following:

  • Set aside emergency cash in a place your abuser does not know about, preferably outside the home.
  • Talk to a trusted family member or friend about the abuse and ask for their support and assistance.
  • Learn the addresses and phone numbers of nearby domestic violence shelters.
  • Gather items you plan to take with you, such as clothing, important paperwork and personal belongings, and put them in a safe place.
  • Document physical evidence of injuries and keep screenshots of abusive text messages.

Important aspects of property division

When you decide to get a divorce in Illinois, you realize you and your spouse will likely have to divide your belongings. However, this process can sometimes be more complicated than simply choosing what each of you wants. There are many factors that determine how you divide your marital property. At Lavin and Parisi, Attorneys at Law, we understand it is important for you to know as much as possible about this process.

You may think that when you divide your property, you will simply split everything in half. According to, you usually have to give a numerical value to all of your assets. This helps to ensure that you and your spouse receive an equal share of your marital property. Additionally, it is important to remember that your marital property means all of your assets, not just your physical belongings. You and your spouse will typically have to divide your joint finances, including your investments.

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