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Why Illinois Has Not Passed an Equal Parenting Time LawIllinois fathers’ rights groups are pushing for a legal presumption of equal parenting time, but a majority of Illinois' lawmakers are unwilling to change this aspect of the state’s divorce laws. Last spring, an equal parenting time bill stalled in a committee of the Illinois House of Representatives. Illinois law presumes that it is in the best interest of a child for one parent to have a majority of the parenting time unless a parent can prove otherwise. Fathers and some lawmakers want to reverse that presumption so that 50-50 parenting time is the default arrangement.

Arguments in Favor

Though there is no gender bias written into Illinois’ parenting laws, mothers are still far more likely to receive a majority of parenting time after a divorce than fathers. Mothers are traditionally the primary caregivers in a family, which makes them the logical choice if one parent must have a majority of the parenting time. Parenting agreements often divide parenting time into a 70-30 split. Fathers argue for the equal parenting time law because:

  • It could give fathers more parenting time, which would benefit the children;
  • It is difficult to get a court to approve equal parenting time with the current law; and
  • It would still allow courts to award a majority of parenting time to one parent if it is in the best interest of the children.

Arguments Against

Illinois presumes unequal parenting time because courts often believe that an equal parenting time schedule is overly disruptive to the children. It is in a child’s best interest to have a stable living situation with minimum traveling between parents. With 50-50 parenting time, the children:

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Recognizing Brain Injuries After an AccidentDiagnosing a traumatic brain injury after an accident is more complicated than diagnosing other serious injuries. You will not take long to realize something is wrong when you have broken a bone or torn a ligament. Symptoms of a brain injury can take days to appear, and you may not immediately understand what they mean or connect them to your accident. If you file a personal injury lawsuit, the liable party may use the uncertainties about brain injuries to deny that the incident caused a brain injury or that your symptoms are severe. You can best prove your brain injury for your case by getting a diagnosis as soon as possible.

Brain Injury Causes

You are most likely to suffer a traumatic brain injury because of a fall, being struck by an object, or a car accident. A brain injury can occur even if your skull is not fractured or penetrated. A sudden impact or jolt can cause your brain to collide with your skull, resulting in damage. Losing consciousness after your accident is a common sign of a brain injury, but you may still have suffered a brain injury if you remained conscious. You should ask your doctor about the possibility of a brain injury and follow up if you notice any symptoms.

Mild to Severe Brain Injuries

Your doctor may categorize your traumatic brain injury as mild, moderate, or severe, depending on the extent of your symptoms. However, even a mild brain injury can have long-term debilitating symptoms. Common symptoms of a mild traumatic brain injury include:

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Posted on in Divorce

Four Alternatives to Traditional DivorceTo most people, divorce means using negotiations or litigation to settle disputes about the division of marital property and allocation of parental responsibilities. This process describes one form of divorce called a contested divorce. Though contested divorce is the most common form of divorce, it is also the most time-consuming and costly process. Most divorcees use contested divorce because they cannot agree on their divorce terms. However, some divorcees are unaware that there are simpler and more amicable divorce options available to them:

  1. Uncontested Divorce: In an uncontested divorce, both spouses agree on the decision to divorce and the terms of their agreement, without the need for litigation or extensive negotiations. The dissolution of the marriage and approval of the divorce agreement can occur in one court hearing. This is a rare form of divorce because two people who have decided to end their marriage often disagree with each other in some aspect of the divorce.
  2. Joint Simplified Divorce: A joint simplified divorce is similar to an uncontested divorce but more restrictive in what it can cover. A simplified divorce agreement in Illinois cannot include child issues, spousal maintenance, or a total marital property value of more than $50,000. There are also limits on the duration of the marriage and each spouse's annual income.
  3. Mediation: Spouses who are still amicable in talking to each other can use mediation as an alternative to traditional negotiations. The spouses will negotiate directly with each other, while a third-party mediator guides the process. The mediator encourages cooperation between the spouses and answers questions about divorce law. A successful mediation can be quicker and less expensive than a contested divorce.
  4. Collaborative Divorce:  Collaborative law differs from mediation because each party brings his or her own lawyer to the meetings. Unlike traditional divorce negotiations, the spouses and lawyers agree to cordial negotiations. If the collaborative negotiations break down, the lawyers must remove themselves from the case.

Choosing Your Type of Divorce

All four of the listed forms of divorce can be cheaper than a contested divorce but may not be right for your divorce. With an uncontested divorce, you risk overlooking your parental and property rights for the sake of a speedy resolution. Mediation or collaborative law can be a waste of your money if the process fails and you are forced to use litigation. A Barrington, Illinois, divorce attorney at Joseph M. Lucas & Associates, LLC, can help you choose the most effective form of divorce for your case. To schedule a consultation, call 847-381-8700.

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When Pet Owners Are Liable for Animal AttacksDomesticated animals can behave in unpredictable ways that may cause injuries. A malicious attack, such as a dog bite, can leave lasting physical and emotional damage. More benign actions can also result in injuries, such as an excited dog jumping on someone and knocking him or her over. Guests who are hurt because of the actions of someone’s pet can seek personal injury compensation from the pet owner. Illinois law holds a pet owner strictly liable for injuries unless the victim is at fault for the animal's reaction.

Strict Liability

According to Illinois law, an animal owner is liable for injuries that the animal causes to others as long as:

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Collecting Your Spouse's Social Security After DivorceRetirement benefits are marital assets that can be divided during a divorce. Negotiating the division of these benefits can be contentious because of their high value and the significance they serve later in your life. Obtaining a share of your spouse’s retirement benefits may mean sacrificing other marital properties as equal compensation. However, Social Security benefits work differently than other retirement benefits. You can collect a portion of your former spouse’s Social Security benefits without it affecting the benefits that he or she receives.

How It Works

You can receive as much as half of the value of your former spouse’s Social Security payments, depending on how close you are to the full retirement age. In order to qualify:

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