Types of Orders of Protection and How to Modify ThemObtaining an order of protection is one of the most helpful actions that Illinois victims of domestic violence can take. An order of protection legally prohibits your abuser from having contact with you and other victims. Forms of domestic violence include:

  • Physical abuse;
  • Harassment;
  • Intimidation; and
  • Obstruction of personal liberties.

A domestic violence incident may be an emergency for the victim, but obtaining and keeping an order of protection requires following a legal process. The steps are meant to provide immediate and lasting protection for domestic violence victims, while also protecting the accused from false or unfair claims.

Types of Orders

An order of protection determines who the offender may have contact with and may require that support payments be made to the victim. However, a court will not impose any long-term conditions on the accused until it rules on the case in a hearing. At the same time, the law recognizes that victims need immediate relief from their suspected abusers. There are three types of orders of protection that are used at different stages of the legal process:

  • An emergency order lasting 14 to 21 days can be granted the same day it is filed without the accused needing to attend. The order is meant to protect the accuser until the initial court hearing;
  • A court may issue a 30-day interim order once the accused makes an initial court appearance or is given sufficient notice to attend a hearing; and
  • A plenary order is the final order that the court issues if it sides with the accuser in the case.

Renewal and Modification

A plenary order of protection only lasts two years in Illinois, but you can renew the order an unlimited number of times. The process may be straightforward if you are not seeking to modify the order and the other party does not contest the extension. If the extension is contested, you must show why the order is still necessary and that there has not been a change of circumstances. You can also request to modify the order at any time. Reasons for modification may include:

  • Additional abusive behavior that necessitates greater protective measures;
  • A change in living circumstances that also changes what you need from the order; and
  • A resolution in the criminal charges related to the domestic abuse.

Obtaining Protection

As a victim of domestic violence, you need help in filing for an order of protection against your abuser. A Kane County family law attorney at Van Larson Law, P.C., will lead you through the process of obtaining the order. To schedule a consultation, call 630-879-9090.



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Forgiveness Heals After Your DivorceBefore your divorce has even finished, you may feel anxious to move forward with your life. The end of your marriage was painful, but your life as a newly single person fills you with optimism. However, the anger and hurt from your marriage can linger long after your divorce. You can try to forget your resentment, but that is not the same as moving past it. Divorce therapists believe forgiveness is one of the most powerful healing tools for divorcees. Before starting a new relationship, you may need to forgive your former spouse for the end of your previous relationship.

Reasons for Resentment

You are unlikely to reach the point of forgiveness without first recognizing your resentment. You may have a valid reason to be angry at your former spouse if he or she was involved in:

  • Infidelity;
  • Physical or verbal abuse;
  • Criminal activity; or
  • Manipulative behavior.

Illinois only accepts irreconcilable differences as a reason of divorce, and many divorces are caused by that. It can be frustrating to admit that no one was to blame for your divorce. Your former spouse may be the target of your anger because you want to blame someone.

Finding Forgiveness

Forgiveness takes conscious effort but is not as simple as telling your former spouse “I forgive you.” If you are expecting a satisfying reaction from him or her, you will likely be disappointed. You should forgive your former spouse for your own benefit. The journey to forgiveness can take many steps, including:

  • Deciding you no longer want to feel resentment;
  • Identifying the experiences that make you angry;
  • Describing the events that led to your divorce from an impersonal perspective;
  • Assessing the role both of you played in events;
  • Understanding the perspective of your former spouse in an attempt to feel empathy;
  • Accepting that you cannot change the outcome of those events; and
  • Focusing on what you can control moving forward.

It can be daunting to reconcile all of these thoughts on your own. A therapist who focuses on divorcees may be able to guide you.

Forgive, Not Forget

The purpose of forgiveness is to quell your unhealthy feelings of resentment. However, you can still hold your spouse accountable for his or her actions. If your spouse has a history of threatening or abusive behavior, your divorce settlement needs to protect yourself and your children. A Kane County divorce attorney with Van Larson Law, P.C., can advocate for your rights during your divorce negotiations. To schedule an appointment, call 630-879-9090.



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Challenging Paternity Fraud in CourtWhen a child is born out of wedlock, establishing legal paternity is consequential for the father, mother and child. The legal father may need to provide child support payments to the mother but also has the right to request some allocation of parental responsibilities. Because DNA testing is not required to establish paternity, some men discover they are not the biological father of the children they are legally responsible for. The false paternity may have been an honest mistake by both legal parents, but mothers may also mislead men into believing they are fathers. Paternity fraud can be devastating because the man:

  • Has been providing monthly child support payments; and
  • May have developed a paternal relationship with the child.

Men in Illinois can challenge their legal paternity based on fraud but must meet a two-year deadline and provide convincing evidence.

Establishing Paternity

Courts believe it is important to name a biological father for a child because it can provide the child with financial protection and family medical records. In Illinois, legal paternity is primarily established in three ways:

  • If the mother was married at the time of the child’s conception, the husband is presumed to be the father;
  • Both parents can sign a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity form; or
  • Either parent can take the other to court to establish paternity through a DNA test.

Paternity fraud most often occurs when a mother convinces a man to sign a VAP, even though she knows or suspects that the man is not the father. Once a man signs a VAP, he has 60 days to rescind it. Otherwise, the form legally establishes him as the father and waives his right to a DNA test or court hearing.

Challenging Paternity

A court can rescind a man’s paternal status if he proves he signed the VAP under fraud or duress. After the VAP goes into effect, the legal father has two years to challenge it. Proving fraud can free the man from future child support payments and allow him to pursue restitution from the mother. However,  paternity fraud must satisfy multiple conditions:

  • The man must present DNA test results showing he is not the father;
  • If possible, the biological father should be identified and established; and
  • The man must prove the mother knew that he was not the father when he signed the VAP.

Paternity Law

Challenging your paternity can be difficult after you have signed a VAP. A Kane County family law attorney at Van Larson Law, P.C., can discuss your options before you consent to paternity. To schedule an appointment, call 630-879-9090.



Posted in Child support, Family Law, Paternity | Tagged , , , , |

Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, Illinois child custody lawyer, attorney fees,Summer is right around the corner and for many families that mean filling the calendar up with vacations, day trips, family outings, and other fun activities. For divorced families, however, summer can also cause stress and strife between co-parents who are trying to make their summer plans with their children included, however, there are steps that they can take to help ensure a fun and no-stress summer for everyone.

Parenting Time Agreement

Spring is a good time to look over the parenting agreement that the court approved when custody was determined. Check and see if the agreement requires each of you to give the other a certain amount of notice when it comes to vacations and/or other events. If you do have plans which go beyond the boundaries set in the agreement, consult with the other parent before going ahead and finalizing those plans.

If you are currently in the process of a divorce and/or custody case, then this will enable you and your co-parent to sit down and discuss a schedule which will work well for everyone.

Holidays and Events

Ideally, your parenting time agreement addressed all the major holidays and how parenting time would be divided, including the “summer” holidays of Memorial Day, July 4th, and Labor Day. If these holidays were not addressed, try to work out a plan with the other plan now and see if you can agree on how these days should be divided.

Vacation Plans

It is not uncommon for one parent to be uneasy if the other parent is taking the children away on vacation. Providing information about the trip – such as where you will be staying, and what your itinerary will be – goes a long way in helping to alleviate that uneasiness. It is also a good idea to let the other parent know of your plans as soon as possible. It is much better if they hear about those plans directly from you and not from the children. Remember, if you are traveling out of the country with the children, there may be documents required – such as passports – which could require the other parent’s signature for approval.


Many co-parents find using online calendars extremely helpful, not only in the summer months but also throughout the school year too. There are several apps available which are geared specifically for families, such as Our Family Wizard and 2houses.com. Even Google Calendar is a good resource for each parent to be able to keep track of the other parent’s schedule and help avoid misunderstandings which can lead to conflict.


One of the most important elements to successful co-parenting is the ability to be flexible. Life happens, issues and events come up, and co-parents who are flexible not only have a more peaceful co-existence, they also have much happier children.

Contact a Kane County Family Law Attorney for Parenting Plan Issues

Unfortunately, no matter how cooperative and flexible we may be, the other parent does not always feel the same way. If you are having issues regarding your parenting time agreement – or any other custody issues – contact a skilled Kane County family law attorney to see what legal options you may have. Call Van Larson, P.C. at 630-879-9090 today.





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Illinois child support attorney, Illinois family law attorney, Illinois divorce lawyer,Illinois is schedule to enact a new child support law on July 1 that will switch the state to a income shares model for calculating support payments. The state currently uses a percentage of obligor net income model, but income shares is considered a more equitable method. The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services is responsible for creating the guidelines for the new child support model, but is not required to complete it by the time the law goes into effect. From the language of the law, divorcing parents can expect several changes in how child support payments will be determined.

New Formula

Illinois’ current child support system requires a parent to pay a set percentage of his or her net income, based on the number of children being supported. The new system eliminates that percentages scale in favor of a formula that takes into account both parents’ incomes:

  • The parents’ net incomes are combined as if they are part of the same household; and
  • The parent without primary allocation of parental responsibility makes support payments for a percentage of the children’s expenses that is proportionate to his or her share of the combined net incomes.

The IDHFS still must create a table that specifies how payments are calculated, but the formula is expected to more fairly divide the parenting expenses. Theoretically, if a parent is required to pay child support and earns 40 percent of the combined net income, his or her payments would equal 40 percent of the children’s expenses.


The law stipulates other guidelines that may be needed to determine child support payments:

  • Any spousal support payments resulting from the divorce are part of the recipient’s net income when calculating the combined income for child support payments.
  • If a parent is unemployed, his or her potential income will be used, based on work history and qualifications. The minimum monthly payment is $40.
  • The amount of time children stay with each parent can change how child support is calculated. If the children spend at least 146 nights with each parent during a year, it is considered a shared parenting arrangement. The parents’ child support obligations are multiplied by the percentage of nights the children spent with them. The costs offset, and the parent with the higher child support amount will pay the difference.

Determining Child Support

With the uncertainty about how the new child support law will be enforced, it is important to have strong legal guidance. A skilled Kane County child support attorney at Van Larson, P.C. will stay abreast of the new law and how it may affect your child support settlement.



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