Tag Archive for: Chicago family law

Parental Child Abduction: Where to Turn for Help

Parental child abduction is a heart-wrenching ordeal that can leave the left-behind parent feeling helpless and distraught. This situation occurs when one parent unlawfully takes or keeps a child away from the other parent. 

Every family dynamic is unique, making each parental abduction case complex. Despite these complexities, there are essential steps to follow that can help reunite families and bring abducted children home safely. Actions such as contacting law enforcement, notifying the courts, and working with a child abduction attorney can help lay the foundation for a coordinated response. Here’s what you need to know.

Understanding Parental Child Abduction

Parental child abduction occurs when one parent unlawfully takes their child from the other parent, often without legal authorization or against the court’s custody order. This act can lead to serious legal repercussions for the abducting parent. It’s crucial to recognize that parental child abduction constitutes a violation of both state and federal laws in many countries. 

There’s a common misconception that parental child abductions are less harmful because the child is with a parent or family member. However, legal systems typically view parental child abduction seriously, imposing consequences such as criminal charges, fines, and imprisonment for the abducting parent. Let’s take a deeper look at some risks to be aware of to help prevent parental child abduction.

Knowing The Risks

There are certain traits and characteristics of offending parents that make it easier to spot if they are capable of child abduction. It is important to remember that these signs do not necessarily mean that your child’s other parent is going to abduct your child; these are signs that you need to make sure you are more aware of. Here are some examples below:

  • Parents who have threatened to abduct their children and have done so before pose a significant risk.
  • Parents who believe their children are being abused and have a support group that shares this belief are more likely to abduct.
  • Parents with paranoia or sociopathic tendencies may be at higher risk of abducting their children.
  • Parents with strong ties and family support in another country might consider abduction as a viable option.
  • Parents who are frustrated with the United States legal system and have supportive family and friends are also at risk of abducting their children.

When a child is abducted, the consequences can be severe for both the child and the left-behind parent. It is crucial to act swiftly and decisively to help ensure the child’s safe return. By recognizing these signs, you can be better prepared to help prevent the unimaginable from happening.

Immediate Steps to Take

Federal law prohibits law enforcement from establishing a waiting period before accepting a missing child report. It requires law enforcement agencies to respond in a specific way, regardless of why a child is missing. If you suspect or confirm that your child has been abducted by their other parent, taking immediate action is vital. Here are some steps to follow:

  1. Contact Law Enforcement: Report the abduction to your local police department. Provide them with all relevant information, including custody orders, recent photos of the child, and details about the abductor.
  2. Notify the Courts: Inform the family court that issued the custody order about the abduction. They can issue emergency orders and work with law enforcement to locate your child.
  3. Reach Out to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC): NCMEC provides resources and assistance in locating missing children and can work with law enforcement agencies on your behalf.
  4. Contact the U.S. Department of State (for International Cases): If you believe your child has been taken abroad, the Office of Children’s Issues can provide support and guidance on international child abduction cases.

By collaboratively taking these measures, we can collectively contribute to helping protect the safety and well-being of all children. Additionally, seeking guidance from a child abduction attorney with Hague Convention case experience can help navigate such challenging situations.

How a Child Abduction Attorney Can Help

Navigating the legal complexities of parental child abduction requires adept guidance. When you partner with an experienced child abduction attorney, such as those at Masters Law Group, you gain the support needed to advocate for your family’s best interests. Here are some of the ways they can help:

  1. Legal Experience: Child abduction attorneys have immense experience in family law and have in-depth knowledge of both state and federal laws governing parental responsibilities and child abduction. They can help you understand your rights and the legal remedies available.
  2. Emergency Court Orders: A child abduction attorney can swiftly file emergency motions to secure the return of your child, including requesting the issuance of a warrant for the abductor’s arrest if necessary.
  3. Coordination with Authorities: Your child abduction attorney can work closely with law enforcement agencies, NCMEC, and international authorities to help expedite the process. Their experience in dealing with such agencies can significantly enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of these efforts.
  4. Interstate and International Cases: Child abduction cases that cross international borders involve additional legal hurdles. Attorneys with experience in the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction can help navigate these complexities on your behalf.
  5. Negotiation and Mediation: In some cases, negotiation or mediation with the abducting parent may be necessary to resolve the situation amicably. A skilled child abduction attorney can represent your interests and work towards a resolution prioritizing the child’s well-being.

Final Thoughts

Parental child abduction is a distressing experience, but knowing where to turn for help and having a knowledgeable child abduction attorney by your side can make a significant difference. At Masters Law Group, our team of knowledgeable attorneys is here to help you through this process. 

Erin Masters and Anthony Joseph have extensive experience in cases involving international parental disputes in courts located in the State of Illinois and the United States federal court system. If you find yourself in this unfortunate situation, don’t hesitate to reach out. Our attorneys can help guide you through the process and work towards a swift and safe resolution. 

See our Featured Hague Decisions here:

Contact us today to set up your complimentary consultation.

Tips For Celebrating Father’s Day Amidst Divorce

Father’s Day holds special significance as a time to honor and celebrate the father figures in our lives. Yet, for dads navigating divorce, finding the balance of co-parenting and managing new parenting schedules can feel overwhelming.

The number of children living solely with their fathers has increased over the past few decades. In 1968, only 0.8 million children lived with their fathers. That number has grown to 3.3 million today, reflecting a shift toward fathers taking on roles traditionally reserved for mothers. While divorce and separation have become more common over time, it also provides hope that affected individuals still thrive despite its challenges.

In this blog, we’ll explore strategies for navigating Father’s Day, with tips for supporting your children, focusing on what you can control, and how a family law attorney can provide assistance. Here’s what you need to know.

PLAN FATHER’S DAY ACTIVITIES IN ADVANCE

Planning is one of the most crucial steps to a smooth Father’s Day celebration amidst divorce. Last-minute arrangements can lead to stress and misunderstandings. Here are some key considerations to help you effectively plan for Father’s Day:

  • Make a plan in advance: Discuss and agree on the Father’s Day schedule well in advance. This helps avoid last-minute conflicts and helps ensure both parents are on the same page regarding visitation arrangements. Planning early also allows for adjustments if needed, giving everyone extra time to prepare and make necessary arrangements.
  • Involve the Children: Consider your children’s wishes and feelings when planning for Father’s Day. Ask them how they would like to celebrate and try incorporating their ideas into the plan. Involving them in your plan helps their voices be heard, making them feel included in the celebration. Whether it’s a special outing, a homemade gift, or simply spending quality time together, involving the children in planning can make the day more meaningful for everyone.
  • Be Flexible: While planning is important, it’s also essential to remain flexible. Unexpected events or changes in circumstances may require adjustments to the original plan. Being open to flexibility and willing to accommodate each other’s needs can help prevent conflicts and provide a more enjoyable Father’s Day for all involved.

By proactively planning and considering the preferences of all parties involved, you can help ensure that Father’s Day is a positive and memorable experience amidst divorce.

CREATE NEW FATHER’S DAY TRADITIONS

Starting new traditions with your children for Father’s Day offers an opportunity to infuse the occasion with fresh meaning and excitement. It’s a chance to help create unique experiences and strengthen your bond as a family. Whether navigating Father’s Day in between a divorce or simply seeking to revitalize the celebration, establishing new traditions can be fun and rewarding. 

  • Consider Everyone’s Interests: Choose activities that cater to your interests as a father and your children’s preferences. Whether it’s a nature hike, a cooking session, or a fun craft project, find activities everyone can participate in and enjoy.
  • Make it Meaningful: Infuse your new traditions with meaning and significance. Consider incorporating elements that reflect your family values or create opportunities for bonding and quality time together.
  • Document the Memories: Capture the moments and memories created during your new traditions. Take photos, write in a journal, or create a scrapbook to preserve these special moments for years to come.

These new traditions can become cherished rituals that you and your children look forward to each year, strengthening your connection and creating lasting bonds of love and joy.

FOCUS ON WHAT YOU CAN CONTROL 

If you’re navigating Father’s Day amidst a divorce, it’s important to focus on what you can control and let go of what you cannot. While you may not be able to control your ex-partner’s actions or attitudes, you can control your response and behavior. 

  • Practice Self-Care: Take care of yourself emotionally and physically before Father’s Day. Engage in activities that bring you joy and relaxation, whether spending time with friends, practicing mindfulness, or pursuing a hobby.
  • Stay Present: Instead of dwelling on the past or worrying about the future, focus on being present and enjoying your time with your children.
  • Seek Support: If you feel overwhelmed or emotional, lean on friends or family. Surround yourself with positive influences who can offer encouragement and perspective.

A family law attorney can offer guidance and legal advice to help you develop a plan that provides clarity and structure throughout the planning process. With a clear plan, you can aim for special celebrations filled with warmth and understanding.

ABIDE BY YOUR PARENTING PLAN 

A parenting plan can help alleviate potential conflicts, including those surrounding occasions like Father’s Day. It provides a comprehensive framework for both parents to follow, reducing ambiguity and promoting smoother communication and cooperation. 

Once you receive a parenting plan after divorce, it’s not open for negotiation. Short of approval for an order modification, both parents are expected to follow their parenting plan as it’s written.

Essential components to have in your plan include:

  • Residence arrangements for the child.
  • Allocation of parenting time for each parent.
  • Protocols for sharing information and records concerning the child.
  • Transportation arrangements for parenting time.

Both parents must sign the plan indicating they agree on all the document terms when filing one plan. If parents do not agree, they must file separate plans. The court will look at each detail of both plans to determine what’s in the best interest of the child or children. Seeking a divorce attorney’s assistance can help facilitate productive discussions and formalize any changes to the parenting plan.

ALLOCATION OF PARENTAL RESPONSIBILITIES

If you have followed the tips above and are having trouble reaching an agreement, an Allocation of Parental Responsibilities can help. Understanding the allocation of parental responsibilities is crucial for fostering a cooperative co-parenting relationship. In Illinois, there are three primary types of child allocation of parental responsibilities:

  • Joint allocation of parental responsibilities requires parents to collaborate on decision-making regarding their child’s education, healthcare, religious instruction, and other essential matters. The parents will agree, or the court will assign a residential parent. The non-residential parent will provide child support and have designated parenting time, as determined by a parenting time agreement or court order.
  • Sole allocation of parental responsibilities refers to an arrangement where one parent assumes full responsibility for making decisions concerning the child’s well-being. However, it doesn’t imply that the other parent is wholly excluded from the child’s life.
  • Shared allocation of parental responsibilities is a variation of joint allocation. It is suitable when the child spends equal time with both parents. The parents live in the same school district and can co-parent effectively. 

For fathers facing challenges in navigating parental responsibilities, seeking help from a family law attorney can be valuable. An attorney can provide legal advice and help establish a parenting arrangement that serves the child’s best interests while addressing both parents’ needs and concerns.

WORKING WITH MASTERS LAW GROUP

Celebrating Father’s Day amidst a divorce requires careful planning and focusing on the children’s well-being. Remember, the goal is to honor the father’s role in your children’s lives while fostering a cooperative co-parenting relationship.

At Masters Law Group, our goal is to help clients assert their rights to help protect the best interests of their children. Partner Anthony G. Joseph brings valuable insights to our firm as both a father and an experienced practitioner in divorce cases. He is also an approved Guardian Ad Litem and Child Representative listed for the Domestic Relations Division of the Circuit Court of Cook County.

With a strong focus on assisting clients in Chicago and Chicago’s Western Suburbs (Elmhurst, Hinsdale, DuPage, Oakbrook), we offer various services to help parents, children, and families through difficult times like divorce and allocation of parental responsibilities. If you face challenges navigating Father’s Day amidst a divorce and want to know your rights, don’t hesitate to reach out. 

Contact us today to set up your complimentary consultation.

Divorce and Sexual Assault

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month, shedding light on a sensitive topic often surrounded by silence and stigma. Within the broader context of family law, divorce can intersect with issues of family violence and sexual assault, requiring delicate legal handling. 

Nationwide, 81% of women and 43% of men reported experiencing some form of sexual harassment and assault in their lifetime. The effects of sexual assault and harassment can cause physical harm and emotional wounds that are endured for years.

In such instances, seeking assistance from a family law attorney can prove crucial for navigating the complexities of divorce and obtaining necessary protection orders. In today’s blog, we will explore the significance of legal support in these situations and how it can empower individuals to protect themselves and their families. Here’s what you need to know.

THE ROLE OF SEXUAL ASSAULT AWARENESS MONTH

Sexual Assault Awareness Month serves the critical purposes of shedding light on the severity of domestic violence, debunking myths, and dispelling stereotypes. Through education about the signs and impacts of abuse, individuals gain the tools to recognize and address it effectively. This month reinforces the message that survivors have support and resources.

Moreover, Sexual Assault Awareness Month underscores the importance of prevention through community engagement and educational initiatives. It encourages discussions about healthy relationships, consent, and bystander intervention. Let’s learn more about domestic violence and how it can be prevented.

WHAT IS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE?

Domestic violence/domestic abuse is typically manifested as a pattern of abusive behavior toward an intimate partner in a dating or family relationship, where the abuser exerts power and control over the victim. Domestic abuse can be mental, physical, economic or sexual in nature.

Regrettably, domestic violence transcends boundaries and can affect individuals of any gender, race, or socioeconomic status. Its wide-ranging repercussions impact not only the immediate victims but also the children who witness such abuse.

The Illinois Domestic Violence Act (IDVA) identifies several forms of abuse, including:

  1. Physical abuse (including sexual abuse)
  2. Harassment
  3. Intimidation of a dependent
  4. Interference with personal liberty
  5. Willful deprivation
  6. Exploitation
  7. Stalking

The warning signs of abuse may not manifest immediately and can evolve as the relationship progresses. However, it’s important to recognize that each relationship is unique, and domestic violence can manifest in various forms. One common trait among abusive relationships is the abuser’s attempt to establish power and control through various methods at different stages. Fortunately, there are strategies available to help protect you from this abuse.

ORDERS OF PROTECTION: A VITAL LIFELINE

Divorce proceedings can intensify tensions within a relationship, potentially worsening existing instances of family violence or leading to new forms of abuse. Additionally, survivors may disclose incidents of sexual assault during this tumultuous period. It’s crucial to recognize that survivors of sexual assault may face heightened vulnerability during divorce proceedings, often encountering threats, coercion, or manipulation from their abuser.

Fortunately, Orders of Protection (restraining orders) serve as a legal mechanism to shield survivors of family violence and sexual assault from further harm. These court orders can establish boundaries, prohibit contact, and provide security for individuals and their children. Survivors need to know that they do not have to face this process alone. Getting an order of protection requires a comprehensive understanding of legal procedures, evidence requirements, and advocacy skills.

A family law attorney can help provide legal resources and support services to assist in navigating an order of protection. By seeking the assistance of a compassionate and dedicated legal team, survivors can take crucial steps towards reclaiming their autonomy and finding security and peace of mind.

IF CHILDREN ARE INVOLVED

Unlike allegations of domestic violence, accusations of sexual abuse, particularly child molestation, are typically not made lightly. Such accusations are infrequent and receive intense scrutiny. The courts typically respond by appointing a Guardian ad Litem to investigate, with an expectation that the accusing parent has made every effort to investigate, document, and halt the sexual misconduct as soon as suspicion arose.

If accusations of sexual abuse, especially concerning children, arise within your marriage, immediate arrangements for a medical examination of the victim or alleged victim, even if that victim is yourself, are imperative. Subsequently, contacting an attorney should be a priority. Taking swift action can be pivotal in establishing the truth in court.

THE ROLE OF A FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY

In the face of such challenges, the guidance of a knowledgeable family law attorney can be valuable. Family law attorneys have experience in navigating the complexities of divorce cases involving family violence and sexual assault. At Masters Law Group, we aim to protect you and your children’s best interests. Here are some of the areas that we can help you navigate: 

  • Parenting Time: If you have children, work closely with your attorney to determine the best parenting time plan. This helps to ensure that the agreed-upon arrangements prioritize your children’s well-being and best interests.
  • Mediation: Explore options such as mediation or collaborative divorce to help you and your ex-spouse reach mutually beneficial agreements outside of court. Your family law attorney can help guide you through these processes and represent your best interests during negotiations.
  • Post-divorce disputes: After the divorce is finalized, circumstances may require modifications to allocating parental responsibilities, visitation, or support arrangements. Stay in touch with your attorney to address any changes or issues that may arise in the future.
  • Orders of Protection: In cases where an order of protection is granted, attorneys monitor compliance and take swift action against any violations. This proactive approach reinforces the efficacy of legal measures and prioritizes the safety of survivors and their families.

In addition to representing clients, Senior Partner Erin E. Masters is also a court-appointed Child Representative and has experience advocating for children in these high-conflict matters.  Furthermore, Senior Partner Anthony G. Joseph is also on the list of approved Guardian Ad Litem/Child Representatives for the Domestic Relations Division of the Circuit Court of Cook County.

Remember, during this challenging period, Masters Law Group is here to support you and your legal rights. Working with our trusted attorneys can help alleviate the stress associated with domestic disputes, helping ensure a smoother transition for both you and your children.

COMMUNITY RESOURCES

In Chicago, there is a wide range of community resources available to support survivors of sexual assault. The Domestic Violence Legal Clinic provides legal assistance and advocacy services, helping ensure survivors can access legal remedies. The Chicago Metropolitan Battered Women’s Network serves as a comprehensive resource hub, connecting survivors to various shelters, counseling, and legal aid services throughout the city.

Hospitals like the YWCA Metropolitan Chicago also provide comprehensive medical care and forensic exams for survivors seeking immediate assistance. These community resources play a vital role in supporting survivors to help them heal and seek justice in the aftermath of sexual assault.

LAST THOUGHTS

As we observe Sexual Assault Awareness Month, it’s crucial to recognize the intersection of divorce, family violence, and sexual abuse. Shedding light on these issues can empower survivors to take proactive steps toward safety and justice. 

At Masters Law Group, our skilled family law attorneys are here to help navigate the complexities of divorce while prioritizing the well-being of survivors and their families. Let us strive to create a society where survivors are heard, supported, and empowered,

Contact us here today.

Navigating Divorce and Infidelity

Infidelity is a complex and sensitive issue that can deeply affect individuals and relationships. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), infidelity in the United States accounts for 20-40% of divorces. 

In this blog, we will discuss its various types, underlying causes, effects on a marriage leading to divorce, and the crucial role that a divorce lawyer can play in such situations. Here’s what you need to know.

Understanding Types of Infidelity

Infidelity occurs when one partner deepens a connection with someone outside their marriage, violating the agreement of sexual or emotional exclusivity they made with their spouse. It may involve sharing intimate thoughts and feelings with someone other than their spouse. Unfaithfulness can manifest in various forms, and it’s crucial to comprehend these distinctions. Here’s a look at some of the different types of infidelity:

  • Physical Infidelity: Physical infidelity involves engaging in sexual activities with someone other than one’s spouse. This type of cheating comes to mind first when discussing the topic.
  • Emotional infidelity: This involves emotional attachment or intimacy with another person. Emotional affairs can do as much damage, if not more, to a relationship as a physical affair.
  • Cyber Infidelity: With the advancement of technology, cyber infidelity has become more prevalent. It involves engaging in online relationships or sexual activities with individuals on the internet.
  • Micro-Cheating: This form of infidelity may seem subtle or seemingly harmless actions that may indicate an emotional or physical connection with someone outside the marriage. Examples include secret texting or keeping a dating app profile.

Whether or not someone has been unfaithful depends on whether they’ve respected the agreed-upon boundaries of exclusivity, regardless of whether the relationship is monogamous or non-monogamous. Let’s dive into the causes where it can occur.

Identifying Causes of Infidelity

Infidelity, often referred to as cheating, duplicity, adultery, or unfaithfulness, can have its roots in various factors. It’s seldom straightforward, as relationships can become more fragile during transition periods, such as when young children begin school or when adult children leave home. Some common causes for infidelity in relationships include:

  • Lack of Communication: Poor communication within a marriage can lead to feelings of neglect or dissatisfaction, pushing individuals to seek emotional connection elsewhere.
  • Emotional Disconnect: When couples grow apart emotionally, one or both partners may seek emotional intimacy outside the marriage.
  • Unfulfilled Needs: Sometimes, unmet emotional or physical needs within a marriage can drive individuals to seek fulfillment elsewhere.
  • Opportunity: Easy access to potential partners, either in the workplace or online, can increase the likelihood of infidelity.
  • Personal Issues: Personal problems, such as low self-esteem, unresolved past traumas, or addiction issues, can contribute to infidelity.

Irrespective of the specifics of an affair, its consequences can profoundly affect the couple involved and those around them.

Effects of Infidelity on Marriages 

Infidelity can have profound effects on a marriage, often resulting in divorce. The individual involved in the betrayal may also wrestle with intense emotional reactions, such as overwhelming guilt or shame. Some feel trapped or helpless within the relationship, while others despair that change is impossible. The most common effects of infidelity are:

  • Broken Trust: Trust is the bedrock of any healthy relationship, and infidelity shatters this foundation, making it arduous to rebuild the marriage.
  • Emotional Trauma: Both the betrayed spouse and the one who strayed may endure emotional trauma, grappling with feelings of guilt, shame, anger, and depression.
  • Legal Consequences: Adultery can influence divorce proceedings, particularly in states with fault-based divorce laws. It may affect alimony, property division, and child custody decisions.

Giving up the extramarital relationship can be a struggle, even when they acknowledge its necessity, and some may even experience a sense of grief. If your relationship has been affected by infidelity, consider seeking the help of a divorce attorney who is experienced in family law affairs.

How A Divorce Attorney Can Help

In cases where infidelity leads to divorce, hiring a divorce lawyer becomes crucial. If you’re currently residing in Illinois and seeking a divorce attorney to assist you in finalizing your divorce, Masters Law Group is here to provide the support you need. Our team of experienced divorce attorneys and mediators is fully prepared to advocate for you and your family. Here are some crucial areas where we can help guide you:

  • Parenting Time: If you have children, it’s essential to work closely with your attorney to determine the most suitable arrangements for child custody and visitation. We aim to help create arrangements prioritizing your children’s well-being and best interests.
  • Mediation and Alternative Dispute Resolution: We encourage exploring options like mediation and collaborative divorce, which can facilitate mutually beneficial agreements outside the courtroom. Our family law attorneys will skillfully guide you through these processes, representing your interests and helping you secure a smoother negotiation experience.
  • Post-Divorce Modifications: Life can bring unexpected changes even after the divorce is finalized. Circumstances may arise that require modifications to parental responsibilities, visitation, or support arrangements. Our attorneys are here to assist you in addressing these changes promptly and effectively, safeguarding your rights and the interests of your children.

Final Thoughts

Infidelity is a complex issue that can have devastating consequences on a marriage. When divorce becomes inevitable, hiring a divorce lawyer can provide the legal experience and support needed to navigate the process and protect one’s rights and interests.

At Masters Law Group, you can rest assured knowing you are consulting with trusted and experienced legal professionals. Our family law attorneys can help protect your rights and interests during this challenging time. With a focus on helping clients residing in the Cook, Will, Lake, and Dupage counties, our practice is committed to providing a comprehensive suite of services to support parents, children, and families during challenging periods like divorce.

If you’re ready to begin your journey toward a peaceful divorce, contact us today to schedule your complimentary consultation.

Divorce Mediation vs. Litigation

Divorce mediation or litigation? When couples decide to end their marriage, they often choose between the two. While both approaches have their merits, it’s crucial to understand the differences and consider your options carefully. 

Divorce is a challenging and emotional process, no matter where you are at in life. Masters Law Group, located in Oak Brook, Illinois, with offices in downtown Chicago, is a law firm committed to helping couples navigate these difficult decisions and offers a comprehensive approach to divorce resolution. Here’s what you need to know.

Understanding Divorce Mediation

Mediation is an alternative dispute resolution process where an impartial or neutral mediator helps guide you and your spouse in settlement efforts. Unlike judges, a mediator cannot decide for you or your spouse. Their job is to keep you and your spouse focused on your needs and interests instead of faults and rights.

When a couple begins divorce mediation, they choose the mediator in advance, or the court may appoint one. Both spouses provide documentation to support their viewpoints regarding disputed issues while the mediator works with both sides to find a resolution. The mediator’s goal is to reach an agreement between the two parties. 

Benefits of Divorce Mediation include:

  1. Faster Resolution: Mediation often leads to a quicker resolution than a court-based divorce. Mediation sessions can be scheduled at the convenience of the parties involved, and they can work at their own pace, leading to a faster outcome.
  2. Greater Control: In mediation, the divorcing couple retains control over the outcome and decisions made. They actively participate in crafting agreements that best suit their unique needs and circumstances, rather than having a judge impose decisions on them.
  3. Less Emotional Stress: Mediation tends to be less adversarial and confrontational compared to litigation. It provides a more supportive and less combative environment, which can reduce the emotional stress and conflict associated with divorce.
  4. Confidentiality: Mediation is a private process, and discussions that occur during mediation are generally confidential. This allows both parties to speak openly and honestly without fear of their statements being used against them in court.
  5. Preservation of Relationships: For divorcing couples who will continue to co-parent or have ongoing relationships, mediation can help maintain a more amicable and cooperative atmosphere, which can be beneficial for both parties and any children involved.
  6. Customized Solutions: Mediation allows for creative and customized solutions that take into account the specific needs and concerns of the divorcing couple and their children. This flexibility can result in more tailored agreements than what a court might provide.
  7. Reduced Court Involvement: Since many issues are resolved through mediation, there may be fewer court appearances and less time spent navigating the legal system, reducing the overall burden on both parties.
  8. Improved Communication Skills: Mediation often helps couples improve their communication skills and learn effective ways to resolve conflicts, which can be valuable skills for future interactions and co-parenting.
  9. Reduced Post-Divorce Disputes: Because mediated agreements are typically reached through mutual understanding and cooperation, there may be fewer post-divorce disputes and a higher likelihood of compliance with the agreed-upon terms.

Divorce Mediation Drawbacks

While mediation offers numerous benefits, it’s important to acknowledge the potential drawbacks. These drawbacks come into play when the parties involved are unwilling to engage in constructive negotiation. Successful mediation hinges on the commitment of all parties to resolve. Issues that remain unresolved can lead to additional expenses and extended negotiation timelines.

In addition to understanding the advantages and disadvantages of mediation, it’s valuable to discern when mediation is the most appropriate choice for your unique situation. Some cases that are particularly well-suited for mediation include:

  1. Partnership disagreements
  2. Contract issues
  3. Will contests
  4. Employment issues
  5. Divorce
  6. Allocation of Parental Responsibilities

By recognizing the strengths and limitations of mediation, individuals can make informed decisions regarding their conflict resolution needs.

Understanding Litigation

Divorce litigation is a legal process used to resolve the issues surrounding the dissolution of a marriage when couples cannot reach an agreement on their own. This approach involves taking the divorce case to court, where a judge will make decisions on key matters, including property division, child custody, and spousal support if the spouses cannot agree to negotiation or mediation.

Here’s a breakdown of how divorce litigation typically works:

  • Filing a Petition: The process begins with one spouse filing a divorce petition, formally initiating the divorce proceedings.
  • Legal Representation: Both spouses hire their attorneys to represent their respective interests. These attorneys will provide guidance, negotiate on behalf of their clients, and advocate for their rights during court proceedings.
  • Court Proceedings: Divorce litigation involves court hearings, legal motions, and formal discovery processes where each side gathers evidence and information.
  • Decision by the Judge: Ultimately, a judge will make decisions on the disputed issues, often after a trial. The judge has the final say, and the outcome is out of the hands of the divorcing couple.

Here are some potential benefits of litigation over mediation:

  1. Adjudication by a Judge: In litigation, the divorce case is presented to a judge who makes legally binding decisions on the issues in dispute, such as property division, child custody, and alimony. If you believe that your interests are not being adequately protected in mediation, or if there are serious disagreements that cannot be resolved through negotiation, going to court allows for a neutral third party to make the final decisions.
  2. Legal Protections: Litigation offers a more formalized legal process with established rules and procedures. This can provide legal protections to ensure fairness and adherence to the law. In some cases, individuals may be concerned that mediation could lead to agreements that are not legally sound or enforceable.
  3. Discovery Process: Litigation allows for the use of legal tools such as depositions, subpoenas, and interrogatories to gather evidence and information from the opposing party. This can be crucial in complex cases where there are concerns about hidden assets or uncooperative spouses.
  4. Enforcement of Court Orders: Court-ordered judgments are enforceable by law. If one party fails to comply with the court’s orders, the other party can seek legal remedies through the court system to enforce the judgment.
  5. Binding Decisions: In litigation, the judge’s decisions are binding and final, providing a clear resolution to the divorce case. This can reduce the potential for ongoing disputes or disagreements after the divorce is finalized.
  6. Protection in High-Conflict Situations: In cases of high conflict, where emotions run extremely high or there are concerns about safety and abuse, litigation may provide a more structured and protective environment. Court orders can include provisions for restraining orders, protective orders, and supervised visitation to ensure the safety of all parties involved.
  7. Clear Legal Precedent: Litigation can establish legal precedent in certain cases, which can be important for clarifying legal issues and setting standards for future cases. This can be particularly relevant in cases involving complex legal questions.

It’s important to note that litigation can also be more time-consuming, emotionally draining, and potentially more expensive than mediation.

Litigation Drawbacks

While divorce litigation can resolve challenging cases, it also comes with certain drawbacks that individuals should be aware of when considering this route. It’s important to know that this option can become a long endeavor, characterized by multiple court appearances, filing legal motions, and extensive documentation. 

In litigation, the ultimate determinations rest with the judge, reducing the divorcing couple’s control over the outcome. Furthermore, court proceedings are generally open to the public, potentially exposing sensitive personal information to scrutiny. While it is a necessary option in some cases, it’s worth exploring alternative methods of conflict resolution to determine what best suits your specific circumstances and priorities. Working with an experienced divorce attorney can help you navigate this complex terrain.

Masters Law Group: Your Oak Brook Divorce Law and Mediation Professionals

If you’re currently residing in Illinois and seeking a family law attorney to assist you in finalizing your divorce, Masters Law Group is here to provide the support you need. Our team of experienced divorce and mediation attorneys is fully prepared to advocate for you and your family. Here’s how our attorneys can help you:

  • Experienced Mediators: The firm’s mediators have extensive experience in family law and are skilled in facilitating productive discussions between divorcing spouses.
  • Experienced Litigators: A skilled litigator has the experience to present your case effectively before the judge. They meticulously prepare legal arguments, gather evidence, and strategically plan to secure your most favorable outcome.
  • Conflict Resolution: They are professionals in conflict resolution, focusing on finding peaceful solutions for both parties and their children.
  • Protecting Your Interests: Masters Law Group attorneys work to protect your legal rights and best interest for you and your children.

Erin E. Masters and Anthony G. Joseph have consistently earned recognition from esteemed publications year after year (including Best Lawyers, Best Law Firm, Top 100 Lawyers, and Leading Lawyers), a testament to their unwavering work ethic, strong character, and experience in family law. Our track record of success reassures you have a trustworthy ally throughout your divorce proceedings.

Final Thoughts

Divorce is a difficult journey, but in Oak Brook, and across Illinois, couples have access to professional help to make the process smoother and more manageable for everyone involved.

When choosing between divorce mediation and litigation, the decision should be based on your unique circumstances. Masters Law Group offers guidance and a compassionate approach to divorce and mediation, helping you find the best path forward for you and your family. Whether mediation or litigation, the goal is to achieve a resolution allowing everyone to move forward.

Contact us today to set up your complimentary consultation.

Child Abduction Attorney: Preventing Parental Child Abduction

Parental child abduction is a distressing reality that affects families worldwide, with parents being accountable for over 90% of abductions. This phenomenon occurs when one parent wrongfully takes a child from the other parent and violates custody arrangements or court orders.

These situations can emotionally traumatize the child and other parties involved. Here, we will explore ways to prevent parental child abduction and how a child abduction attorney can help protect your child’s well-being. Here’s what you need to know.

UNDERSTANDING PARENTAL CHILD ABDUCTION

Parental child abduction typically occurs during or after a separation or divorce when parenting time disputes become contentious. These disputes can occur due to various factors, including disagreements over parenting styles and financial issues. Some parents resort to abduction as a desperate and harmful solution as tensions escalate.

Motivations for parental child abduction vary widely. In certain cases, a parent resorts to abduction as revenge against their former partner, using the child to inflict emotional pain and manipulate the situation. In other instances, driven by fear for their child’s safety, a parent may wrongfully take the child, even without concrete evidence supporting their concerns. This misguided attempt at protecting the child can lead to abduction. These diverse motivations stress parental child abduction cases’ complexity and emotional toll.

Regardless of the motivations, parental child abduction can have severe consequences for the parties involved. The emotional and psychological trauma inflicted upon the child is profound, often resulting in feelings of confusion, anxiety, and insecurity. The left-behind parent is in anguish and uncertainty, desperate to reunite with their child. Given parental child abduction’s complexities and emotional toll, preventing it from happening to your family is crucial.

PREVENTING PARENTAL CHILD ABDUCTION

The stark reality is that almost 5% of children in the US have experienced a parental abduction in their lifetime. Proactive measures are paramount to protect your child’s well-being and prevent the distressing reality of parental child abduction. In Illinois, parenting time laws typically favor what’s best for the child’s interests. A parenting plan will usually recognize the following:

  • The parent-child relationship’s continuity is typically in the child’s best interest.
  • The needs of children change and grow as they mature.
  • Custodial parents make daily decisions (including emergencies) while the child is with that particular parent.
  • Both parents are to have access to a child’s official records.

A parenting plan will give you and your child an added layer of protection should they be abducted. However, it’s always best to consult an experienced family law attorney regarding effective travel consent letters and their limitations.

TIPS FOR CO-PARENTING

Effective co-parenting can help prevent potential parental child abduction. Taking the right steps is crucial for the well-being of your child. Here are some practical tips to navigate co-parenting successfully:

  1. Legal Documentation: Confirm that all parenting time arrangements are legally documented and enforceable through court orders. Consult with a child abduction attorney to draft a legally binding parenting plan.
  2. Mediation and Counseling: Consider family mediation or counseling in high conflict or disputes. These services can help parents work through their issues in a neutral and constructive environment, reducing the likelihood of abduction.
  3. Obtain a Court Order: If you believe there is a significant risk of parental child abduction, it may be necessary to obtain a court order that restricts the other parent’s ability to travel with your child without permission or supervision.
  4. Passport Restrictions: If you have concerns about your child being taken out of the country, consider requesting a court order that restricts the child’s ability to obtain a passport without both parents’ consent.

By following these co-parenting tips, you can create a safer and more stable environment for your child while minimizing the risk of parental child abduction. Collaborating with a child abduction attorney can be instrumental in achieving this goal.

How a Child Abduction Attorney Can Help

Dealing with parental child abduction, whether within the U.S. or internationally, presents significant challenges for parents and children. Seeking legal assistance is crucial in effectively navigating parental child abduction cases. When you partner with an experienced child abduction attorney, such as those at Masters Law Group, you gain the support needed to advocate for your family’s best interests. Here are some ways they can help:

  • Legal Advice: Child abduction attorneys have experience in family law and parental child abduction cases. They understand the complexities of these situations and can guide your rights and options.
  • Court Representation: In cases where abduction has occurred, your attorney can represent you to obtain emergency orders. This includes restraining orders or parenting time modifications to protect your child.
  • International Abduction: A child abduction attorney can work with the proper authorities to prevent your child from leaving the country.
  • Advocacy and Support: Child abduction attorneys provide legal advice, emotional support, and guidance. They can help you navigate the difficult terrain of parental child abduction cases.
  • Hague Convention: If your child is taken to another country, a child abduction attorney can help you navigate the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction. The Hague Convention is an international treaty designed to facilitate the safe return of children wrongfully removed from their country of habitual residence.

WORKING WITH MASTERS LAW GROUP

Nothing can make a parent feel more helpless than having a child taken or held in a foreign jurisdiction. Preventing parental child abduction is critical for any parent facing parenting time disputes or separation. 

Support from a child abduction attorney can help reduce the risk of abduction and protect your family’s well-being. If you believe your child is in the process of being abducted by a parent or legal guardian, contact the family law attorneys at Masters Law Group.

Our Senior Attorneys, Erin Masters, and Anthony Joseph, have extensive experience in cases involving international parenting time disputes in the State of Illinois and the United States federal court systems.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

DuPage Divorce Lawyer

With nearly a million residents, DuPage is Illinois’ second-most populous county. With a higher population, DuPage also has the second-highest divorce rate in the state. If you need a divorce lawyer in DuPage County, see how Masters Law Group can help. 

Located just west of Chicago, DuPage County provides a supportive ecosystem for businesses, a launchpad for innovators, a strategic location for critical logistics operations, and a healthy home for families. But living in a picturesque suburban town doesn’t equal happy families for all. As with anywhere in the world, troubled marriages and divorce persist.

What factors lead to divorce?

In Illinois and around the country, married couples seek divorce for many reasons. This study found that the following factors may increase a couple’s risk of divorce.

  • A lack of communication
  • Infidelity
  • Conflict and arguing
  • Marrying too young
  • Financial issues
  • Substance abuse
  • Domestic violence
  • Health issues
  • Lack of family support
  • Religious differences
  • Lack of premarital education

The state of Illinois is considered a no-fault divorce state. The only grounds required to seek a divorce are irreconcilable differences, meaning that divorcing spouses do not need to prove fault to be granted a divorce in Illinois.

NAVIGATING DIVORCE IN DuPage

One of the most important decisions you’ll make during the divorce process is choosing the right lawyer.

When seeking a divorce lawyer in DuPage County, reliability is essential. It is vital to evaluate how effectively they communicate with you to establish a positive relationship. A strong rapport is crucial because divorce cases can take several months to settle. While the DuPage-based lawyer’s goal should not be excelling in personability and charm, (it should be excelling in family law, especially divorce law), it is important that you trust and respect their professional advice and want to work with them.

Throughout the process, you may have multiple questions, concerns, or disputes, and you require someone who can ease your worries. Voted Best Lawyers 2023 and Best Law Firms 2023, Masters Law Group, we begin by understanding your goals for the divorce and how you wish to feel once the process is complete. We discuss your objectives in detail to provide exceptional legal representation. Additionally, we offer complimentary consultations to help you evaluate if we are the right fit for your needs.

GETTING STARTED

Aside from contacting your Illinois-based family law attorney, as soon as one or both parties decide that divorce is absolutely the only answer, the first step is filing the paperwork with your local court clerk. The forms you complete may vary from county to county, so it is important that you do some research based on DuPage County divorces. Wherever you live, however, you will need to file what is called a “petition for dissolution of marriage.” The forms are a bit different if you have children. For example, you will need to file a joint parenting agreement, uniform order of support, and visitation forms if you have children. You can also find other required forms on the Illinois court website.

Although the law specifically prohibits judges from analyzing fault when dividing property in a divorce, judges may evaluate whether or not one spouse dissipated marital assets during the marriage.

DuPage CONTESTED DIVORCES

A contested divorce happens when both spouses want a divorce but can’t agree on some of the terms of the divorce, like custody and spousal support. It can also occur if the spouse does not respond to the divorce petition.

In contested divorces, the judge may order you to go through additional steps like divorce mediation in DuPage. The mediation can result in an agreed settlement between the parties.

If mediation doesn’t work, your case will go to trial, and the judge will make the final determination on specific issues you and your spouse couldn’t agree on.

ALTERNATIVE PROCEDURES in DuPage County

If you and your spouse don’t have any children, have little money, and agree on everything, Illinois courts may allow you to have what is called a joint and simplified divorce.

You and your spouse can file a Joint Petition for Simplified Dissolution of Marriage if:

  • no spousal support (alimony) will be paid
  • no-fault grounds are used
  • there are no children and the wife is not pregnant
  • you have not been married more than 8 years
  • neither of you have any real property
  • the total equity in your marital property is less than $10,000
  • the combined annual income of you and your spouse is less than $35,000
  • neither of you earn more than $20,000 annually
  • you both disclosed your assets and tax returns for the years you were married, and
  • you and your spouse have a written agreement dividing all of your property in excess of $100 in value, and allocating who will be responsible for each debt owed.

If you don’t meet the requirements for the Simplified procedure, but you and your spouse are in agreement on all matters, you may still file an uncontested divorce using the standard procedure.

DuPage LEGAL SEPARATION

DuPage County (and across Illinois) is one of the areas that recognize legal separation. Legal separation does not permanently end the marriage. However, a judge must approve the separation agreement, which defines the spouses’ legal rights and obligations.

For individuals with religious concerns or insurance issues who may be discouraged from seeking a formal divorce, a legal separation could be the preferred course of action.  With a legal separation, many of the same issues determined in a divorce can be adjudicated, but without the finality of a legal divorce being granted.

This is a good option if you don’t want a divorce but want to live separately and want legal clarification on matters concerning child custody, child support, child custody, and property division.

DuPage CIVIL UNION DIVORCE

Civil unions allow two adults, of either the same or opposite sex, to enter into a legally recognized relationship. Several unique issues can arise during the process of establishing or dissolving a civil union, so it is vital to have a knowledgeable DuPage Divorce lawyer to guide you through every step.

Dissolving a civil union is nearly the same as dissolving a marriage. Any couple who wishes to dissolve a civil union will be able to do so in the State of Illinois. To receive a certified copy of a Dissolution of Civil Union records, an interested couple will need to go to the county circuit court clerk where the civil union was granted.

GETTING THE HELP YOU NEED WITH MASTERS LAW GROUP

Even a no-fault divorce is a complicated legal process, particularly when children or high assets are involved.

Whether you are facing a contested divorce, uncontested divorce, or a civil union divorce, the experienced DuPage attorneys at Masters Law Group are ready to skillfully advocate for your position and provide your voice when you need it most.

If you are seeking answers to questions regarding divorce, separation, child support and other matters in DuPage County, contact Chicagoland’s premier family law group here today to schedule a consultation.

Navigating Divorce Late in Life

National Senior Citizen’s Day is celebrated on August 21st. Whether you’re a senior (retirement age) or a quinquagenarian (50-59), seeking a divorce in your older years has unique challenges. If you’re looking to ‘untie the knot’ as an older citizen, here’s what you need to know.

What is Senior Citizen’s Day About?

Do you have an elderly person in your life that you love and appreciate? National Senior Citizens Day is the day to let them know how much you care, and it’s an opportunity to recognize their accomplishments. In 1988, President Ronald Reagan proclaimed this holiday to raise awareness about issues that affect senior citizens and their quality of life.

What is a Gray Divorce?

Gray (or Grey) divorce is the rising phenomenon of older couples in long-term marriages getting divorced. It refers to a demographic trend that has increased the split or separation of older couples who have been married for a long time. The term began to be used in the United States in 2004, but the practice had already been prevalent for about 20 years. The consequences of getting divorced after 50 can be incredibly financially and emotionally impactful to older people and their families.

The Rise of Gray Divorce

Gray divorce refers to an increase in the separation of older couples who have been married for a long time. According to research published in the Journals of Gerontology, more than one in three people who divorce in the United States is older than 50. Researchers also predict that by 2030, the divorce rate for the gray divorce population will triple. This trend can be attributed to various factors, including changing societal norms, financial independence, and the desire to seek personal fulfillment in the later stages of life. 

If you are facing a gray divorce, knowing your options is essential so you can begin a new chapter of life without worry. Let’s look further at some of the challenges of gray divorce and how you can embrace the change of a new beginning, no matter what stage of life you’re at.

Challenges Faced in Gray Divorce

Navigating a gray divorce presents a unique set of challenges for older adults.  Not to mention the stress associated with divorce can impact physical and mental health. 

The issue of spousal support (also known as alimony) may be a significant concern, and you may need to determine whether this form of support will be necessary, how much you may pay or receive, and how long these obligations will remain in effect. Other distinctive hurdles include dividing assets and trusts and the frightening scenario of telling your adult children (and potentially grandchildren) that you have decided to part ways after all these years.

So what causes gray divorce in the first place? Here are some of the most common factors for gray divorce:

  • Addiction and Abuse: Addressing issues related to addiction or abuse can lead individuals to reevaluate their relationships and opt for separation.
  • An Increased Desire for Happiness: As people age, pursuing personal happiness and fulfillment becomes more critical, potentially prompting them to seek new beginnings.
  • Empty Nest Syndrome: Couples might reassess their dynamics when children leave home, leading to different paths.
  • Infidelity: Infidelity can strain relationships irreparably, leading to the decision to part ways.
  • Lack of Intimacy: Over time, couples might grapple with reduced intimacy, prompting them to seek a more fulfilling connection elsewhere.
  • Financial Differences: Discrepancies in financial goals, spending habits, and values can cause couples to separate.

Divorce looks different for everyone. There is no right or wrong way to go about it. However, older couples seeking divorce might want to hire an experienced divorce attorney.  

Legal Aspects of Gray Divorce

The first step of divorce is identifying which assets are part of your marital estate and which are pre-marital possessions. If you and your spouse have been together for several decades, memories of who owned what tend to blur together. Pre-marital assets can get mixed into marital assets, such as if your husband/wife used money in his/her pre-marriage savings account to buy your house after marriage.

The division of property can be complex. Assets to discuss with your family law attorney include:

  • Health/Life Insurance Policies
  • Property/Marital Home
  • Social Security Benefits
  • Investments
  • Retirement Benefits
  • Cryptocurrencies

Illinois is an “equitable distribution” state, meaning the court won’t divide marital property evenly. Rather than splitting everything 50/50, they look at each party’s current situation and future needs. 

Work With an Experienced Divorce Attorney

At a minimum, you need a divorce lawyer to help you navigate the gray divorce process. Masters Law Group recognizes that gray divorce brings its own set of challenges and stress, and our clients seek a path toward a fresh chapter in their lives. With this in mind, we navigate settlement negotiations and mediation while keeping our clients’ well-being in mind.

Whether you’re venturing on a contested gray divorce, uncontested gray divorce, or gray civil union separation, our team of attorneys is positioned to advocate for your best interests when it matters most. In cases involving substantial assets, our experience shows. Masters Law Group excels in pinpointing and evaluating investments and wealth, spanning real estate, retirement funds, pension plans, crypto assets, domestic and foreign tax arrangements, stock options, trusts, and other tangible or potential sources of wealth.

Final Thoughts

Life doesn’t come with an expiration date, nor does our capacity for change. As we observe Senior Citizen’s Day, we must recognize the challenges of navigating gray divorce. Seniors going through a divorce should prioritize self-care, engage in physical activities, maintain regular medical check-ups, and have the support of an experienced legal team. 

At Masters Law Group, we understand there are many moving parts to divorce, and we are here to help you every step of the way. Our dedicated attorneys are ready to skillfully advocate for your position and provide your voice when you need it most. Servicing Cook, Will, Lake, and Dupage counties, our attorneys can help guide you through the process and protect your rights. 

Please contact us today to schedule a complimentary consultation and learn how we can support you through your gray divorce.

Debunking Common Myths About The Hague Convention

The Hague Convention has gained widespread attention across the globe, yet many parents in the United States still have much to discover when it comes to its true purpose and potential in Parental Child Abduction. 

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is a treaty that many countries, including the United States, have joined.

The purpose of the Convention is to protect children from the harmful effects of international abduction by a parent by encouraging the prompt return of abducted children to their country of habitual residence and to organize or secure the effective rights of access to a child. The idea is that custody and visitation matters should generally be decided by the proper court in the country of the child’s habitual residence.

Today, we debunk myths and show you how the convention can be beneficial. Here’s what you need to know.

Myth 1: The Hague Convention is only applicable in cases of child abduction

One of the most common misunderstandings surrounding The Hague Convention is the belief that it is limited to international child abduction cases. While it is true that the convention places significant emphasis on addressing child abduction, its reach extends far beyond this context. The Hague Convention also addresses other critical aspects related to the well-being of children.

An important objective of The Hague Convention is to swiftly return children who have been wrongfully removed or retained by one parent without the consent of the other. This provision helps ensure that children are kept from their custodial parent in a foreign jurisdiction with a proper legal basis.

Furthermore, The Hague Convention recognizes the importance of regular contact and access between children and both of their parents when living in separate nations. This provision promotes a balanced approach that seeks to preserve meaningful relationships and minimize disruptions in a child’s life.

Myth 2: The Hague Convention automatically guarantees the return of a child

Contrary to popular belief, the Hague Convention does not guarantee the automatic return of a child in all cases. However, it is essential to understand that the convention has a legal framework for facilitating the return of a child. But certain circumstances, defenses and exceptions may arise.

One exception is when there is a genuine concern of physical or psychological harm to the child if they were to be returned to their country of habitual residence. The Hague Convention recognizes the importance of the child’s well-being and safety. 

If it can be established that there is a grave risk of harm, the courts may decide not to order the child’s return, prioritizing their best interests. The convention strives to strike a delicate balance between facilitating the return of children in most cases while safeguarding their well-being and protecting their fundamental rights.

Myth 3: The Hague Convention favors mothers over fathers

Another common misconception is that the Hague Convention tends toward mothers over fathers. However, the gender-neutral convention aims to protect the child’s best interests rather than select one parent. It emphasizes the importance of maintaining regular contact between the child and both parents, assuming no risks to the child’s well-being.

The Hague Convention recognizes that children benefit from having a meaningful and ongoing relationship with both parents. It promotes the principle of shared parental responsibility and seeks to maintain regular contact between the child and both parents, irrespective of gender. The convention operates under the assumption that the involvement of both parents contributes to the child’s well-being and healthy development.

When a case arises under The Hague Convention, the focus is not on selecting one parent over the other. Ultimately, the court will determine what arrangement best serves the child’s best interests. The courts consider various factors, such as

  • The child’s age.
  • Attachments and mental stability.
  • The ability of each parent to provide a nurturing environment.

The goal is to arrive at a decision that ensures the child’s overall welfare and enables them to maintain a meaningful relationship with both parents.

Myth 4: The Hague Convention is impossible to navigate

The Hague Convention can vary depending on factors such as legal representation and the case’s complexity. However, the convention also encourages countries to assist parents lacking resources, ensuring that constraints do not impede access to justice.

These central authorities are vital in facilitating communication and cooperation between the countries involved in a case. They work together to locate the child, gather necessary information, and resolve the situation quickly. The Hague Convention highlights the importance of minimizing a child’s time separated from their custodial parent. This allows them to maintain stability in their lives.

Furthermore, the U.S. Department of State and an experienced Family Law Firm dedicated to International Parental Child Abduction cases can also help to enforce the safe return of your child or children.

Myth 5: The Hague Convention is universally accepted and followed by all countries

One important misconception to address is the belief that The Hague Convention is universally accepted and followed by all countries. While the convention has substantial international recognition, not all nations have ratified or acceded to its provisions. This can create complexities, particularly in cross-border child abduction cases, where one or both countries are non-signatories.

Ninety-three countries have ratified The Hague Convention, demonstrating a widespread acknowledgment of its importance in stopping international parental abduction and related matters. These countries have committed to implementing the convention’s principles and cooperating at every stage to help ensure the prompt return of abducted children.

However, it is crucial to recognize the challenges when dealing with countries that have not fully implemented The Hague Convention. In such cases, the lack of a recognized legal framework can complicate efforts to return an abducted child. This can also alter effective communication and cooperation between jurisdictions.

Final Thoughts

The Hague Convention is a critical international treaty that provides essential protection for children against the detrimental consequences of cross-border abduction and retention. It is vital to distinguish between truth and misinformation to promote a clearer understanding of the convention’s purpose. We can foster greater awareness and appreciation for The Hague Convention by dispelling misconceptions.

Voted Best Law Firm 2023, Masters Law Group is home to the best highly-experienced family law attorneys, Erin E. Masters and Anthony G. Joseph, who possess extensive knowledge in Hague law. Our dedicated team of professionals is well-equipped to navigate the intricate landscape of international law, delivering robust representation in these complex and high-stakes proceedings.

Contact our office today to schedule your consultation and gain valuable insights into your case.

Highlighted Hague Decisions:

Common Mistakes to Avoid During a Divorce

Divorce Mistakes can be minimized dramatically through proper preparation and avoiding pitfalls. If you’re facing an unsettling divorce situation, here are our top pitfalls to avoid. 

Divorce is difficult in many layers. It affects not only you and your spouse but your family and friends. With this in mind, minimizing the difficulties of divorce should be a top priority alongside the goals of your separation. But how do we go about reducing these challenges?

Beyond choosing a quality divorce firm and emotionally preparing yourself, there are many mistakes – that, if avoided – will make divorce much more accessible. Read on to learn common mistakes we’ve observed at Masters Law Group after years of counseling those seeking a divorce.

Not Talking to a Divorce Attorney

When looking to divorce, some will attempt to settle on their own. This may come from an idea of an “amicable approach,” but it can put you and your loved ones in a compromising position in the long term. Approximately half of all marriages end in divorce. Notably, this figure primarily applies to first marriages, of which about half result in dissolution. However, the failure rate for second and third marriages is significantly higher.

First and foremost, attempting divorce on your own removes experienced legal counsel from the equation, opening you up to variables that can negatively affect you. Things like asset division and custody of children have legal nuances that aren’t easily navigated. Avoid this mistake if you can. Seek quality legal counsel so that your life post-divorce is what you want.

Setting Unrealistic Goals & Timelines

The emotional aspect of divorce can often influence our approach to the process. Whether you’re the one seeking a divorce or it’s your former partner, you might feel that certain aspects are “unfair” or that the process should move faster than it is. One common problem that arises with unrealistic timelines is when a spouse becomes disgruntled and intentionally prolongs the process to cause financial or emotional harm to the other party.

This situation highlights the importance of having legal counsel that can remain emotionally detached from the divorce. Having such counsel will help you set appropriate timelines and realistic goals while providing you with an advocate who works at the highest level to achieve the best possible outcome.

Other Mistakes to Avoid

  • Dating: While everyone involved in the divorce wants to move on, dating can complicate an already difficult situation. It can create animosity with your former partner and may push them to make the divorce more complicated than need be.
  • Divorce Tunnel Vision: While getting wrapped up in your divorce is easy, it’s paramount to consider life after. Are you financially set and aware? Have you considered how to navigate the logistics of shared custody of children if it pertains to your situation? Consult with your financial advisor and legal counsel on these concerns.
  • Avoiding Negotiation: If you can communicate with your former partner, negotiation is always an ideal way to mediate. If you can do this, you can often avoid going to court. This will shorten the divorce process, limit costs and ultimately reduce stress on all involved.
  • Misleading Your Legal Counsel: Do your best to be truthful at the highest level. Any omission of facts, assets, or animosity between you and your former partner can affect divorce. If your legal counsel isn’t aware, these unforeseen challenges can derail a plan they’ve laid out. This can ultimately cost you more money and reduce the positive outcome of your goals.

Final Thoughts

Avoiding these mistakes and sidestepping potential challenges is your best course of action for a positive outcome in your divorce. Consequently, being unprepared or even attempting to divorce can lead you to these issues, causing emotional harm and potential financial and legal ramifications. 

At Masters Law Group, our firm’s mission is to solve your problems and achieve the best possible results for you and your loved ones. With a strong emphasis on serving clients in Chicago’s Western Suburbs, including Elmhurst, Hinsdale, DuPage, and Oakbrook, we offer a range of services designed to assist parents, children, and families during difficult times such as divorce, parenting time, and the allocation of parental responsibilities.

If you’re currently navigating a divorce, or considering one, schedule a consultation with us today to learn how we can help.