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DuPage County family law attorneysMarriages have certainly changed in the last hundred years. The days of an I Love Lucy cookie-cutter relationship are all but gone, and marriages can now look dramatically different from one another. Some people marry young and stay married for 50 years. Others get married and divorced several times over the course of their lives. Still others wait to marry until they are in their 40s or older while other couples choose not to marry at all. Same-sex couples are marrying and adopting children, and blended families composed of step-children, half-siblings and multiple sets of parents and grandparents are becoming much more commonplace.

Open Marriages

There are other alternative lifestyles that exist, as well. For example, some couples choose to have an open relationship. Open relationships can take many different forms, but the underlying idea is that both halves of the couple are able to pursue romantic or sexual relationships with others. Individuals in open relationships or open marriages do not consider such extramarital activity cheating because all parties are aware of and consent to the arrangement.


Posted on in Family Law

Naperville family law attorneyIn a recent post on this blog, we talked about the role of a guardian ad litem (GAL) and how a GAL is used to help courts make child-related decisions in difficult cases. While many Illinois judges will utilize this option, other are more inclined to appoint a child representative in such cases. A child representative is similar in many ways to a guardian ad litem, but there are a few important differences between the two.

Similarities of a GAL and Child Representative

Like a guardian ad litem, a child representative must be an attorney who has undergone specified training and approved by the county court system to be appointed when needed. Both the GAL and the child representative are given investigative powers to research the circumstances of the case. They are permitted to conduct interviews with the child, both parents, and any other people who may contribute to the case. In addition, both the GAL and child representative may visit the home of each parent and observe the interaction between the parents and the child. Their investigations may also include a review of financial documents, court transcripts, and other items that may impact the court’s decision.


Posted on in Family Law

cohabitation-living-together-agreement-rights.jpgAccording to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, common law marriages are not recognized or considered valid in Illinois. Such unions have been prohibited for more than 100 years, as Illinois was one of the first states to require all couples to obtain licenses to marry so that the marriage could be properly recorded by the state. Since the law against common law marriage took effect in 1905, the state of Illinois and the country as a whole has experienced significant cultural and social evolution, with marriage itself having been redefined in recent years. Despite these changes, a couple who does not utilize the legal avenues to have their relationship recognized will not have the same rights and privileges of those who do.

Comparing Common Law Marriage to Same-Sex Unions

In a case recently heard by the First District Appellate Court in Illinois, a woman who spent 13 years with her partner before they got married asked the court to essentially recognize their common law marriage. She contended that for 13 years, she and her boyfriend lived as de facto husband and wife. Despite the law’s clear prohibition of common law marriage, the woman pointed to recent appellate decisions granting certain property considerations to same-sex couples who had split.

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