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Can you repair a bad reputation after a conviction?

Once you have been convicted of a crime in Illinois, your future may seem bleak and hopeless. Repairing relationships, rebuilding trust and fixing your reputation and how people perceive you is going to take a lot of time, commitment and work. Fortunately, when you focus your energy on how you can be a better version of yourself, you have every chance at fixing your reputation and developing a new, stronger you.

Perhaps the most important change you need to make is to commit to abandoning your previous poor choices that resulted in your conviction in the first place. Assess how you can change your behavior and find ways of doing things that are more effective, respectful and reflective of the type of person you want to ultimately become. According to Forbes, there are three major things you can do as you are working towards rebuilding your reputation. These include the following:

  • Only entertain what you can control: There will undoubtedly be the people who refuse to see you as a changed person. These people are not your priority. Instead, focus on rebuilding trust with the people who do care and who do value your efforts for trying to change. 
  • Understand the extent of the damage: Analyze your situation and how far the damage extends. Make a list of people who you want to apologize to and ways that you can right your wrongs. 
  • Develop a new perspective: Create a vision of your future, complete with all of the dreams you wish to accomplish. Slowly set realistic goals that will get you closer to achieving the "big picture" you have created for yourself. 

Abused children can heal with effective parenting techniques

In situations where families are coping with abuse or the effects of having been involved in an abusive relationship in Illinois, it can take time and commitment to overcome the trauma that is often a result of someone having been mistreated. For children particularly, this process requires adults to intervene in healthy ways and in a timely manner to allow children to recover from negative circumstances and overcome insecurities and fears before they become debilitating. 

According to, children can heal from abuse by developing resilience and learning new, healthy habits. Some of the things that adults should pay the most attention to include the following:

  • They should encourage their children to feel emotions, process them and understand how to cope with strong feelings in ways that are healthy, safe and effective. 
  • They should teach their children about important behaviors and how those behaviors can create security and self-confidence. For example, they should encourage children to get enough rest and eat healthy foods, as well as avoid dangers such as smoking, drinking and promiscuity.
  • They should be consistent in providing for their children to help their children build trust and dependable relationships.
  • They should help their children create strong connections with individuals who will provide support, encouragement and love.

Finding ways to work together when parenting styles clash

Parents in Illinois may not have a name for their style of parenting, but that does not mean they fail to recognize when their former spouse is taking a different tack. Sometimes, their methods may diverge so widely, it can cause problems for their children.

However, according to the Child Mind Institute, children do not suffer as much from inconsistency as they do when there is conflict between parents

Will I owe child support if I cannot work due to a disability?

You and your spouse are getting an Illinois divorce, and it is already clear that your child will be spending the majority of his or her time with the other parent. Being unable to work because of a disability, you worry that the limited income you have may be depleted through child support. But can your spouse take away your benefits?

The Illinois statutes explain that the courts use specific guidelines to determine the amount of child support you and the other parent will pay. This is figured based on the income of each of you, as well as the amount of time your child spends with each of you and other factors.

An emergency order of protection can blindside you

You and your spouse have been having trouble getting along, and you may believe the two of you will soon be appearing in Illinois divorce court. Expecting to be served divorce papers, it can be devastating to learn that instead of the divorce petition, your spouse has petitioned the court for an emergency order of protection. At Fawell & Fawell, we often help spouses who have been falsely accused of domestic violence.

According to the Illinois General Assembly, state statutes require your spouse to be interviewed by the court under oath in order for the petition for an emergency order of protection to be verified. You do not have to be told about the hearing, called an ex parte hearing, until after it is over. Your spouse's petition and examination before the court have to provide convincing information that the abuse occurred and that there are compelling reasons you should not be notified before the court issues the temporary order.

Prepare for marriage with a proper prenuptial agreement

When you are getting ready to walk down the aisle, the possibility of getting a divorce is likely the last thing on your mind. In reality, it may be wise to make it one of the first things you tackle once you know that wedding bells will soon be ringing.

Unfortunately, due to irreconcilable differences and a multitude of other potential issues, not all marriages last. However, you can protect any assets you bring into your marriage with the help of a prenuptial agreement. Still, there are certain things you can't legally include in these types of agreements.

Woman injured in violent encounter, man charged with assault


In circumstances where someone is the victim of another person's unexplained behavior in Illinois, it can be difficult to understand what lead the perpetrator to react the way he or she did. In fact, it can be borderline impossible to present a believable defense when the person's behavior appears so outrageous and out of the ordinary. 

Judges can award joint ownership of pets in IL divorce cases

Emotions are probably already running high in a typical Illinois divorce before a couple starts to discuss the family's pets. In some situations, the animal may have already expressed a preference for one spouse over the other. However, in the past, a pet's wishes have not been considered in divorce court unless the spouses themselves have thought about it and come to an agreement on their own. Sadly, the result of a judge's decision could mean emotional difficulties for the animal as well as the humans who love it.

Illinois legislators have recently acknowledged that treating pets as marital property in a divorce can have a poor outcome on animals' well-being. Since Jan. 1, a new law has made it possible for judges to consider the best interest of a pet instead of assigning its ownership to one spouse or the other based on its perceived monetary value.

Should your child be involved in developing the parenting plan?

You and your spouse have agreed that divorcing is the best thing for everyone in the family. Even your children seem relieved when the two of you sit down to talk to them about it. Naturally, they want to know which of you they will spend more time with, and if they will have to move, and they may have some very definite ideas about how things should go. Should you accept their input when you draw up a parenting plan schedule?

According to Psychology Today, it is common for children to want their parents to listen to what they want in the divorce. However, that does not mean they want to make the decisions. This much responsibility could be too much for your children, particularly if they are younger. It may relieve some of that tension if you let them know that you value their input, but that there are many other factors that also have to be weighed before the decision is final.

Approaching a job interview with a misdemeanor on your record

If you have been convicted of a misdemeanor in the state of Illinois, you may be well aware that fixing your mistake and recovering your reputation will take time and effort. One of the most challenging endeavors you may encounter is looking for a job. While you may have a plethora of desirable qualities and skills, you may find that potential employers are unable to look past your conviction. At Fawell & Fawell, we understand the challenges people face in recovering their lives following a criminal conviction. 

If you are able to get an interview, you face a challenging conversation where you will need to discuss your misdemeanor with hiring managers. Your approach to this oftentimes uncomfortable conversation is a critical moment where you get to market your core competencies and provide honest insight into your past. According to Chron, some of the positive things you can do during this conversation include the following:

  • Leave the excuses behind: While you may be tempted to come up with an excuse to explain your past behavior, the more honest you are, the more confidence you will exude. Other qualities this kind of integrity will demonstrate include humility, remorse and responsibility.
  • Be concise in your explanation: If you are asked to discuss your prior conviction, do so in a simple manner. Do not overshare details that could easily be left out. Answer questions honestly, but with concise language that will not further incriminate you or make you appear incompetent.
  • Use it as a learning experience: While your misdemeanor certainly is not helping your chances of getting a job easily, you can demonstrate that you have learned from your mistake and are actively working to change your life's course. You may choose to provide a simple statement sharing how your past mistake has altered your life and allowed you to become someone better.
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