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Illinois Legal Issues Blog

Why should I avoid self-representation?

If you are facing prosecution for a criminal charge in Illinois, representing yourself in court may not be in your best interests. The criminal justice system does not favor alleged and convicted offenders. Self-representation may seem like a cost-effective solution to keep your legal expenses down. However, it can cost you more money, heartache and stiffer penalties in the long run.

Take some time to learn about how self-representation can affect your situation’s outcome. 

Busting common misbeliefs about domestic violence

The process of coping with domestic violence and the outcome of each situation varies from family to family depending on the situation, response of each party and surrounding conditions. While many Illinois residents quietly survive familial violence, it is in fact, more serious and debilitating than many people can see or believe.

Psychology Today shared some common misconceptions that are so often associated with domestic violence. These include the following:

  • Victims are seen as victims: In many cases, victims in domestic violence cases face an uphill battle with criticism and blame. In some instances, it can come from family members who fail to understand the situation as it actually is.
  • Escaping is easy: Leaving a volatile relationship riddled with violence is never easy. In fact, for many people, it is a dangerous process accompanied by threat and fear. While there are hotlines and discreet ways of escaping, many victims lack the courage or resources to get away.
  • Only women are victims: On the contrary, men are just as much at risk of being the victims in domestic violence cases as are women. According to one study, men accounted for 40% of all victims.

What does the law say about fake IDs?

Fake IDs are something that you hear a lot about in high schools and even colleges. Most often they are used to obtain alcohol by underage individuals in Illinois. If you are thinking about getting one or helping someone else get one, there are some important things you need to know about the law and what it says about fake IDs.

According to the Illinois Liquor Control Commission, any state ID or driver’s license that is not obtained through the correct means from a proper government agency is illegal. Just having a fake ID in your possession is against the law, even if you do not attempt to use it. Making them, of course, is also a serious crime. Punishment can range from losing your driver’s license privileges to prison time. You can be charged with either a misdemeanor or a felony.

Tips for establishing a parenting plan

If you are in the middle of an Illinois divorce, you may be asking yourself daily what is in the best interests of your children. Establishing a solid, mutually agreeable parenting plan is a great step toward helping your children adjust during the transitional period, and it can also help you and the other parent work to prevent disagreements before they occur. At Fawell & Fawell, we have assisted many clients as they navigate the complexities of divorce and related family law matters, and we have a broad understanding of Illinois laws as they relate to these subjects.

Per Divorce magazine, one of the most important steps you can take in creating your parenting plan is to avoid letting your emotions and personal feelings cloud your judgment. Even if your situation is especially acrimonious, try and keep in mind that your children have their best chance to thrive when they maintain relationships with both parents. There are, of course, some exceptions, such as if you suspect the other parent might be abusing substances while caring for your child. Otherwise, it is probably in the best interest of your child to maintain relationships and open lines of communication with both parents.

How can a prenup help protect what you hold dear?

As a recently engaged person, you may have felt elated that your life has reached this point. Of course, once the euphoria of the moment has passed, you likely know that your future marriage will undoubtedly have its issues, as all relationships do. Though you and your future spouse may work through many of the conflicts that could arise, the possibility of facing divorce may have also crossed your mind.

You certainly do not want to enter your marriage thinking that it will fail, but you also likely do not want to count this possibility out. Therefore, you may want to take the time to consider creating a prenuptial agreement in order to protect yourself, your future spouse and other life aspects that hold importance through pre-arranged terms.

Steps to getting a protective order

A protection order in Illinois acts as a deterrent to help keep people safe from a known assailant. The Illinois General Assembly states that an order of protection can be obtained by someone being abused, neglected or mistreated by a family member, care giver or member of the household. In order to get a protective order, a person must file a petition with the court. If a person already has a related case in court, the petition can be filed as part of that case. For example, if a person is getting divorced and wants an order against the soon-to-be ex-spouse, then it can be filed as part of that case.

The petition must have a sworn statement that the person filing has been abused by the person it is being filed against. Because an order of protection is not a criminal issue, there is not trial by jury option. The hearing will be expedited, though, to help it move through court quickly. A judge will hear testimony and make a ruling on whether to grant the order.

Considerations in securing financial aid during divorce

If you have ever gone through an Illinois divorce, you know that separating from your spouse involves big changes in many areas of your life. While you may not have to give it the same immediate attention you would, say, finding a new residence, it is important to understand how your divorce may affect your child’s ability to secure financial aid for college. At Fawell & Fawell, we have helped countless clients navigate through separations and divorces, and we have a firm understanding of the various areas in which doing so may impact your life.

When it comes to working your way through the financial aid process after divorce, be honest and upfront about income, but only share what is required of you. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid, for example, looks closely at the income of the “custodial parent,” which, in this instance, refers to the parent with whom your child lived with the most within the last 365-day period.  

Illinois' child support formula to soon change

When a parent is getting divorced, many different legal issues can have big impacts on them and their children. This includes issues regarding child support. One thing that can play a very big role in what happens when it comes to child support in an Illinois divorce is the formula for calculating child support in the state.

This formula is about to undergo some major changes. The changes were approved last year and will take effect at the start of this July.

When should I take a plea deal?

You may be familiar with the phrase "copping a plea," which is commonly uttered in crime and courtroom movies and TV shows. Copping a plea refers to pleading guilty and accepting penalties for criminal charges in exchange for not going to trial. Negotiating this agreement is known as plea bargaining, and it is typically the method by which sentences are decided.

Can I Pass a School Bus on a Four-Lane Road?

As with most legal questions, the answer is: sometimes. You can never pass a school bus when you and the bus are going in the same direction, regardless of how many lanes a road has. However, on a 4-lane road with at least 2 lanes of travel going in each direction, you need not stop for a school bus stopped in the opposite lanes of traffic. For example, if you are driving eastbound on a 4- or 5-lane stretch of Roosevelt Road in Wheaton, you need not stop for a westbound school bus.

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