Category General Information

Moving in with Your Boyfriend? Develop a Plan

More millennials and divorced people are deciding to live with their boyfriend or girlfriend in lieu of marriage. For some, marriage is not desired; for others, marriage might only be considered after a period of cohabitation. Either way, moving in with your significant other creates both personal and legal issues to be considered and discussed.

According to a recent New York Times article, What I Wish I’d Known Before Moving In Together by Anna Goldfarb, couples planning to move in together need to develop a plan first. In the article, Galena Rhoades of the University of Denver accurately summarizes the issues cohabitating couples face:

“When you live together,” Dr. Rhoades explained, “you face all the issues dating couples face — time together, managing friends, jealousy, ex-partners — but you also face all the issues married couples face, like household contributions, managing money together and planning for future expenditures.”

If you are considering moving in with your boyfriend or girlfriend, here are several tips:

1. DEVELOP A ROADMAP

Before signing a lease or purchasing a home together, you need to resolve who will stay in the event of a breakup. It sounds harsh to discuss a breakup during an otherwise exciting time, however, knowing who will stay and pay the lease/mortgage/taxes/utilities and who will help contribute to relocation costs after a breakup can actually help relieve unnecessary stress during the relationship. Also, create a list of items each person wishes to keep, including any pets; such a discussion is often impossible to have at the end of the relationship.

2. DISCUSS FINANCES

Both parties should be fully aware of the joint budget and the other person’s ability to pay for house related expenses. Also, both parties should prepare for an illness or death so that the other party is capable of maintaining their home. Consider obtaining a term life insurance or disability policy to help with unexpected life events.

3. ESTABLISH BOUNDARIES

Discuss and establish mutual expectations for roles within the house such as decorating, cleaning, cooking, caring for pets, limiting screen time, and setting up an environment that can be shared or retreated to for privacy.

As a mediator and family law attorney, I am available to help you develop a legal and personal plan for your future living arrangements. Cohabitation in Illinois, especially after divorce, may create legal obligations that you should discuss with an attorney to ensure you are truly comfortable with your living arrangements.

ABOUT ERIN BIRT:
Illinois Attorney Erin Birt is a skilled legal professional with over ten years of experience in trial and divorce law serving clients in many DuPage County cities including Wheaton, Glen Ellyn, Naperville, Warrenville, and Winfield.

She opened the Law Firm of Erin Birt, P.C. in 2010 to offer her clients alternative divorce resolution services, specialized collaborative divorce options, and family law expertise. She and her expert team continually develop creative outcomes such as divorce mediation and family law mediation that work for all parties involved.

Ms. Birt holds a J.D. from DePaul College of Law and is a member of the Collaborative Practice Professionals of Illinois, the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals and the DuPage County Bar Association. She is a past board member and presenter for the Mediation Council of Illinois.

Do You Need A More Private Divorce?

Our new 2017 website was created to enhance client options for a more private divorce. Check out below how our firm makes your privacy a priority.

VIEW WEBSITE ANYWHERE

Our new website is now compatible with any device: smart phone, tablet, laptop, computer. You can view our site privately and easily anywhere you feel comfortable. Our blog can help you privately gather information for your divorce and our attorney can help you achieve your legal goals in-person or virtually.

VIRTUAL SERVICES

You lead a busy life.  It can be hard to make in-person appointments with your attorney without informing work or your spouse.  Our divorce attorney is now available to serve you privately as a Virtual Attorney.

PRIVATE CLIENT PORTAL

You shouldn’t have to use your work or personal email during your divorce.  We offer our clients a secure client portal for sharing documents, invoices, and appointment reminders. You can also pay your invoice through the portal or via our contact page.

We know our clients have limited time due to work, children, or family obligations.  Now you can view our website or access your private documents when it is convenient for you.  We look forward to our how our new website, services, and secure client portal will improve the divorce process for our clients. To learn how our attorney can best work for you, contact us today.

ABOUT ERIN BIRT

Erin BirtIllinois attorney Erin Birt is a skilled legal professional with over thirteen years of experience in trial and divorce law serving clients in many DuPage County cities including Wheaton, Glen Ellyn, Naperville, Warrenville and Winfield.  She also serves clients in Cook County, Kane County, Kendall County, and Will County.

Erin opened the Law Firm of Erin Birt, P.C. in 2010 to offer her clients alternative divorce resolution services, specialized collaborative divorce options and family law expertise.

Ms. Birt holds a J.D. from DePaul College of Law and is a member of the Collaborative Practice Professionals of Illinois, the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals and the DuPage County Bar Association. She is a past board member and presenter for the Mediation Council of Illinois.

Why Fighting Can Actually Be Productive In Divorce Mediation

For many people, divorce mediation can be helpful at opening up channels of communication between parties to air their individual thoughts, desires, and expectations.

It can also provide the opportunity for either party to air specific feelings of sadness about the divorce, fears about the future, and anger at their partner for past hurts large or small.

That last one often can include some pretty explicit and creative name-calling, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, says Dan Simon in a recent blog on Mediate.com. Below are some of Dan’s reasons why mediators and couples should be open to this strategy in mediation.

  • IT’S QUITE POSSIBLY THE TRUTH. “Mediation can be an opportunity for parties to speak their truth, to name reality as they see it. After having been perhaps horribly mistreated by the other party, the opportunity to tell them what they really think of them is an essential part of a process that’s intended to meaningfully address the conflict,” says Simon

  • IT CAN BENEFIT THE NAME-CALLER. According to Simon, once the naming party gets it off his or her chest, so to speak, in the presence of the mediator, it’s quite possible they can then calmly discuss other key aspects of the divorce process such as property division or child support.

  • IT CAN BENEFIT THE PERSON BEING NAMED. “The namee may become more aware of just how angry the namer is; they may gain insight that the namer is out of control, which might inspire the namee’s compassion; the namee might reflect more deeply on their own behavior that inspired the namer.” It also allows the namee to decide whether to sit there and take it or respond in kind with the mediator there for support.

In Simon’s view, “Mediation is supposed to be about self-determination.” This includes both parties being able to engage each other, say what they need (or want) to say, and even walk away when it suits them.

Parties using divorce mediation generally want the best results for everyone involved. That’s why they chose to mediate. If it takes some name-calling to reach that end, couples should be open to experiencing it and mediators should be ready to let it happen in that safe space they provide for their clients.

As an experience divorce mediator, I can help you successfully work your way through all aspects of this process. Contact me for more information.


ABOUT ERIN BIRT

Erin BirtIllinois attorney Erin Birt is a skilled legal professional with over ten years of experience in trial and divorce law serving clients in many DuPage County cities including Wheaton, Glen Ellyn, Naperville, Warrenville and Winfield.

She opened the Law Firm of Erin Birt, P.C. in 2010 to offer her clients alternative divorce resolution services, specialized collaborative divorce options and family law expertise. She and her expert team continually develop creative outcomes such as divorce mediation and family law mediation that work for all parties involved, particularly children.

Ms. Birt holds a J.D. from DePaul College of Law and is a member of the Collaborative Practice Professionals of Illinois, the Collaborative Law Institute of Illinois, the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals and the DuPage County Bar Association. She is a past board member and presenter for the Mediation Council of Illinois.

 

Helping Lawyers Cope With Job Stress

Family Friends Neighbors Co-Workers Support System GearsGood lawyers commit themselves to helping their clients in every possible way. While there’s great satisfaction in this, there can also be a fair amount of stress that comes along with it. Add any personal issues into the mix, and the pressure can lead to unhealthy coping responses.

If you are or know of a lawyer in DuPage County who is struggling to cope with stress, or if you are a family member being affected by this struggle, there is help available from the Lawyers’ Assistance Program, Inc. (LAP).

For over 30 years, this non-profit organization has offered free, confidential assistance to lawyers, law students, judges and their respective family members in a respectful, non-judgmental way.

In addition, anyone concerned about a friend, family member, or colleague in the legal profession can contact LAP for additional help with their own stress and concerns that come with being a caretaker or support system for this person.

Specific assistance includes free individual assessments, short-term counseling, support groups, attendance at two weekly 12-step meetings, and referrals for those who need or want continued treatment beyond what LAP offers.

LAP also hand picks and trains volunteers from the local legal community who provide confidential peer support for certain situations. As a DuPage County Divorce Attorney, I’m honored to have been chosen to be a peer volunteer for the Lawyers’ Assistance Program, and I value the trust placed in me to help my fellow legal professionals.

The Illinois LAP office is located in Chicago at 20 South Clark Street, Suite 1820, and there are several ways to contact them:

You can also contact me directly for information on LAP or for help with your divorce planning process in DuPage County and surrounding areas.


 ABOUT ERIN BIRT

Erin BirtIllinois attorney Erin Birt is a skilled legal professional with over ten years of experience in trial and divorce law serving clients in many DuPage County cities including Wheaton, Glen Ellyn, Naperville, Warrenville and Winfield.

She opened the Law Firm of Erin Birt, P.C. in 2010 to offer her clients alternative divorce resolution services, specialized collaborative divorce options and family law expertise. She and her expert team continually develop creative outcomes such as divorce mediation and family law mediation that work for all parties involved, particularly children.

Ms. Birt holds a J.D. from DePaul College of Law and is a member of the Collaborative Practice Professionals of Illinois, the Collaborative Law Institute of Illinois, the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals and the DuPage County Bar Association. She is a past board member and presenter for the Mediation Council of Illinois.

 

New Illinois Divorce Act Benefits Children

Marital agreementIllinois couples with children who are planning a divorce now or in the near future should note that Illinois divorce laws will change on January 1, 2016.

The new Illinois Divorce Act will likely have a significant impact on how your divorce is ultimately resolved.

PURPOSE OF THE NEW LAWS

There are three primary aims of the newly updated Illinois Divorce Act:

  1. To protect children from exposure to conflict and violence during the divorce process;

  2. To recognize and enforce the right of children to continue a healthy relationship with both parents post-divorce;

  3. To expressly uphold that frequent contact with both parents–absent domestic violence or other harmful factors–promotes the healthy development of children.

COURT ENFORCEMENT STRATEGIES

To honor and achieve these stated goals, the Illinois Court will:

  • Promote or order parents to participate in educational programs so they learn how to minimize the negative effects of divorce litigation.

  • Facilitate parental planning discussions, including explicit allocation of parenting time and parental responsibilities, to help reach a mutual agreement about the children’s upbringing after the divorce, including child custody and visitation.

  • Safeguard the continuation of existing parent-child relationships to ensure each parent’s maximum involvement in the well-being of their children.

IMPACT ON YOUR DIVORCE PLANNING

If you want to avoid the impact of these new laws on your divorce, you must ensure that it is finalized by December 31, 2015. Any matter currently pending that has not entered a final judgement before January 1, 2016, and any new matter filed after that date, will need to comply with the updated laws.

An experienced DuPage County divorce attorney trained in divorce mediation can help divorcing or already divorced parents to create an Allocation Judgement that complies with the new Illinois divorce laws as well as the spirit and purpose of the new Divorce Act.

Contact me if you need assistance and support navigating through these restructured laws.


ABOUT ERIN BIRT

Erin_Birt_37033-199x300Illinois attorney Erin Birt is a skilled legal professional with over ten years of experience in trial and divorce law serving clients in many DuPage County cities including Wheaton, Glen Ellyn, Naperville, Warrenville and Winfield.

She opened the Law Firm of Erin Birt, P.C. in 2010 to offer her clients alternative divorce resolution services, specialized collaborative divorce options and family law expertise. She and her expert team continually develop creative outcomes such as divorce mediation and family law mediation that work for all parties involved, particularly children.

Ms. Birt holds a J.D. from DePaul College of Law and is a member of the Collaborative Practice Professionals of Illinois, the Collaborative Law Institute of Illinois, the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals and the DuPage County Bar Association. She is a past board member and presenter for the Mediation Council of Illinois.

Potential Changes to Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act

Exit strategyThe Illinois General Assembly has passed a major update to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA). If signed by the Governor, the new IMDMA will offer many positive changes for divorcing couples in Illinois.

Here is an outline of proposed changes taken from a recent article in the Illinois Bar Journal by Matthew Hector.

GROUNDS FOR DIVORCE

  • Except in cases of irreconcilable differences, the new Act will remove all grounds for divorce previously listed in the IMDMA.

  • The term “irretrievable breakdown” of marriage will automatically be presumed when divorcing parties have lived separate and apart for at least six months.

  • Couples who are in agreement about divorce can now proceed immediately, no six-month waiting period required. Divorcing couples who don’t agree to a six-month waiting period no longer have a mandatory two-year wait for divorce.

  • A judge must enter an order of dissolution within 60 days of the closing of proofs.

CHILD CUSTODY

  • Emphasis is now on parental responsibility rather than who will get custody of a child.

  • While some decisions (health, religion, and extra-curricular activities) will be shared between both parents, in some cases the responsibility for specific decisions will be granted to the parent who can best make those decisions. For example, a parent who is a teacher might be assigned to make educational choices.

  • The best interests of the child remain paramount.

CHILD RELOCATION

  • Custodial parents in the following counties can relocate with a child up to 25 miles without court approval: Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry and Will.

  • Those in other counties can move up to 50 miles without court permission.

  • Any move of 25 miles or less can be across the state line without leave of the court; Illinois courts will retain jurisdiction over custody issues.

PROPERTY DIVISION AND MAINTENANCE

  • The court must now provide the reasons for allocation decisions.

  • For marriages of ten years of less, fixed periods can be set during which a maintenance decision cannot be changed by a court order.

  • Allocation decisions are no longer automatically subject to review by either party filing a motion.

“HEART BALM” DECISIONS

  • The following divorce actions will be eliminated in the new IMDMA:

    • Alienation of Affection

    • Breach of Promise to Marry

    • Adultery/Criminal Conversation

Contact me if you would like to learn more about current Illinois family law or the proposed changes to the IMDMA and how they could affect your divorce planning.


ABOUT ERIN BIRT

Erin_Birt_37033-199x300Illinois attorney Erin Birt is a skilled legal professional with over ten years of experience in trial and divorce law serving clients in many DuPage County cities including Wheaton, Glen Ellyn, Naperville, Warrenville and Winfield.

She opened the Law Firm of Erin Birt, P.C. in 2010 to offer her clients alternative divorce resolution services, specialized collaborative divorce options and family law expertise. She and her expert team continually develop creative outcomes such as divorce mediation and family law mediation that work for all parties involved, particularly children.

Ms. Birt holds a J.D. from DePaul College of Law and is a member of the Collaborative Practice Professionals of Illinois, the Collaborative Law Institute of Illinois, the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals and the DuPage County Bar Association. She is a past board member and presenter for the Mediation Council of Illinois.

Illinois Family Law Case Summaries

wooden gavel and book isolated on whiteHere are summaries of two recent family law cases from the Appellate Court of Illinois.

PAYMENT OF OVERDUE CHILD SUPPORTIn re Marriage of Rocha

When this couple divorced in 1998, the husband was ordered to pay child support of $150 per week.

In 2001, three years after the initial “Judgment for Dissolution of Marriage,” the husband filed a motion to reduce child support because he was unemployed, and the court reduced the support amount to $74.40 per week.

Later that year, the wife informed the court that her ex-husband was actually receiving 95% of his pay from his former employer, and the court increased child support back to the original $150 per week. Eighteen months later, the ex-wife returned to court because her ex-husband had been failing to make regular support payments and was now behind on them.

The ex-husband paid some of what was owed, but fell behind again due to another job loss. He was ordered to stay current on support payments and provide evidence of a job search. Nothing else was brought before the court until 2010 when the ex-wife petitioned the court “to vacate prior court orders based on the court’s finding” because her ex-husband “fraudulently concealed his income and employment from the court beginning in 2003.”

On appeal by the ex-husband, the appellate court found in favor of the ex-wife and maintained that the ex-husband “tried to hide information for purposes of minimizing his child support obligations” and “committed a fraud on the court in 2003” because he was not truthful about his employment status and salary at that time.

As a result, the appeals court upheld the order for the ex-husband to pay $32,419.47 in unpaid child support plus $17,640.77 in interest dating back to the time of the fraud in 2003.

CHILD CUSTODY AND VISITATIONIn re Marriage of Perez

As part of the dissolution of marriage in 2012, the court granted both parents in this case joint legal custody and visitation for their daughter, giving physical custody to the mother and liberal visitation rights to the father.

However, two years later, the father filed a motion for mediation to help create a new, more balanced parenting schedule. Witnesses for each parent said both were extremely committed to the happiness and stability of their child, and many extended family members also helped in the child’s care.

The child’s mother would not participate in the family mediation process, so the court created a joint parenting agreement which gave each parent joint legal custody and “joint care of the child” as well as a 50/50 schedule for parenting time. Neither home was designated as the child’s primary residence.

On appeal, the child’s mother said that the trial court was in error by granting the 50/50 parenting and for not designating her home as the child’s primary residence. The appeals court disagreed on both counts, stating that the trial court found it was in the child’s best interest “to fashion its custody order to maximize the involvement of both parties.”

Because both parents lived near each other, shared joint legal custody and had equal parenting time, the schedule was not a hardship for either party. For these same reasons, the appeals court concluded that the trial court was also within its scope when it refused to designate either parent as the “‘primary’ residential custodian.”

If you need the help of a DuPage County Divorce Attorney for child support, mediation, or other family law issues, contact me for more information.


ABOUT ERIN BIRT:

Erin_Birt_37033-199x300Illinois attorney Erin Birt is a skilled legal professional with over ten years of experience in trial and divorce law serving clients in many DuPage County cities including Wheaton, Glen Ellyn, Naperville, Warrenville and Winfield.

She opened the Law Firm of Erin Birt, P.C. in 2010 to offer her clients alternative divorce resolution services, specialized collaborative divorce options and family law expertise. She and her expert team continually develop creative outcomes such as divorce mediation and family law mediation that work for all parties involved, particularly children.

Ms. Birt holds a J.D. from DePaul College of Law and is a member of the Collaborative Practice Professionals of Illinois, the Collaborative Law Institute of Illinois, the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals and the DuPage County Bar Association

Reinstating An Illinois Driver’s License

Wooden judge gavel and car keys over sound box - view from topWhile the law firm often focuses on divorce and family matters, it also provides services relating to reinstating driving privileges.

In Illinois, a DUI offense–driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs–can result in a restricted driving permit or revocation of your driver’s license. In some situations, you may need the assistance of an attorney and/or a state-approved evaluation agency to restore driving privileges after DUI.

Here is a brief outline of the license reinstatement process.

DETERMINE ELIGIBILITY FOR REINSTATEMENT – Normally, your license will not be returned to you until the eligibility date set by the court. However, your license could be reinstated if you provide proof of ‘undue hardship’ for reasons of employment; medical; child, elder or disabled persons daycare; educational; support group; or court-ordered community service reasons, per the Illinois Secretary of State.

ATTEND INITIAL CONSULTATION – This occurs regardless of your reinstatement eligibility.

COMPLETE DRUG/ALCOHOL REQUIREMENTS – If your license was revoked for DUI, you will be required to undergo DUI Risk Education and Treatment within six months prior to your hearing date by a Division of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse (DASA)-licensed provider. The DUI evaluations determine what level of treatment, if any, each person must receive.

ATTEND A HEARING – This hearing determines either that your license will be fully reinstated or that you will have a restricted driving permit and perhaps a breath alcohol ignition device in your vehicle. If your offense was a first-time DUI or did not involve a fatality, it is an informal hearing. Fatalities or multiple DUI arrests warrant Secretary of State Formal Hearings, and you may request representation by a Driver’s License Reinstatement Attorney.

When a license reinstatement is denied after an informal hearing, you can apply for a formal hearing or attend another informal hearing in 30 days. If the denial is after a formal hearing, you must wait 90 days for a new hearing.

Anyone granted a Restricted Driving Permit will be informed of the conditions that must be met.

If your Illinois driver’s license has been revoked for a DUI offense, my office is a state-licensed counseling and treatment provider for drug and alcohol abuse, and we can represent you at a formal hearing if required. Contact me to learn more about how we can help with all aspects of license reinstatement and evaluations.


ABOUT ERIN BIRT

Erin_Birt_37033-199x300Illinois attorney Erin Birt is a skilled legal professional with over ten years of experience in trial and divorce law serving clients in many DuPage County cities including Wheaton, Glen Ellyn, Naperville, Warrenville and Winfield.

She opened the Law Firm of Erin Birt, P.C. in 2010 to offer her clients alternative divorce resolution services, specialized collaborative divorce options and family law expertise. She also opened The Birt Group, a state-licensed DUI Counseling Firm in 2011.

Ms. Birt holds a J.D. from DePaul College of Law and is a member of the Collaborative Practice Professionals of Illinois, the Collaborative Law Institute of Illinois, the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals and the DuPage County Bar Association.

DuPage County Legal Resources

DCBA LogoFor lawyers and non-lawyers alike who live in DuPage County, Illinois, the DuPage County Bar Association (DCBA) is a valuable resource offering educational seminars, community service programs and even social functions to bring people together.

HISTORY AND MISSION STATEMENT

The DCBA was chartered on February 1, 1879, and according to its website “is the largest county bar association in Illinois with approximately 2,600 members.” It also boasts a “long history of commendations from the American Bar Association for its programs and operations.”

You can fully understand the importance and worth of this organization through its Mission Statement: “The DuPage County Bar Association serves the attorneys, judiciary and citizens of DuPage County, Illinois in providing legal education, business development and networking opportunities, designed to enhance and benefit our membership and community, while upholding the highest degree of civility and professionalism.”

BENEFICIAL PROGRAMS

For those in the legal profession, membership in DCBA offers many opportunities to learn and grow within their chosen profession. The general public can turn to DCBA for lawyer referrals, free legal help, and a variety of “self-help” information on Illinois legal matters. There is also useful information on the DuPage County legal system such as court locations, court rules, and county departments.

A variety of DCBA committees give DuPage County attorneys the ability to improve their own skills while also helping those in the community. Some key committees include:

  • Alternative Dispute Resolution
  • Business Law
  • Child Advocacy
  • Diversity
  • Elder Law
  • Family Law and Practice
  • Health Care Law
  • Immigration Law
  • Labor and Employment Law

PRIDE IN MEMBERSHIP

I’m pleased to say that I’m an active member of the DuPage County Bar Association and was recently appointed to chair their Diversity Program. In addition, for the past two years I was vice chairman and then chairman of the Child Advocacy Committee.

Regardless of your legal questions or requirements, the DCBA is a great place to start searching for answers and assistance. If you need legal support for a personal family law, child custody or Illinois divorce matter, please contact me to learn how I can help.


ABOUT ERIN BIRT

Erin_Birt_37033-199x300Illinois attorney Erin Birt is a skilled legal professional with over ten years of experience in trial and divorce law serving clients in many DuPage County cities including Wheaton, Glen Ellyn, Naperville, Warrenville and Winfield.

She opened the Law Firm of Erin Birt, P.C. in 2010 to offer her clients alternative divorce resolution services, specialized collaborative divorce options and family law expertise. She and her expert team continually develop creative outcomes such as divorce mediation and family law mediation that work for all parties involved, particularly children.

Ms. Birt holds a J.D. from DePaul College of Law and is a member of the Collaborative Practice Professionals of Illinois, the Collaborative Law Institute of Illinois, the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals and the DuPage County Bar Association.

Understanding The Role Of A GAL

GAL WorkIf your Illinois divorce includes child visitation or custody arrangements, you may be assigned a Guardian Ad Litem, often referred to as a GAL.

In Family Court, the role of this specially trained, court-appointed advocate is to protect the interests of minor children in a divorce by making recommendations to the Judge regarding custody and visitation decisions. While Judges are not required to follow a GAL’s recommendations, they often do.

The attorneys of both parents have the right to cross-examine the GAL regarding the recommendations given to the Judge.

GAL DUTIES

Once appointed, a GAL has two main duties during the custody discussions:

  • To determine what decisions will be in the best interests of the children;

  • To investigate and report to the Court on anything the GAL determines will have an effect (positive or negative) on the children.

Information is gathered in a variety of ways, most often through in-depth discussions with the child and the child’s parents. Known as a home study, this can include questions about the current situation and what you believe your child requires both now and in the future.

If necessary, the GAL will also speak with others who have insights about the child’s welfare such as teachers, neighbors, friends, relatives and doctors. The parents must provide signed releases in some of these situations.

Parents and parties involved in an Illinois divorce case should know that while there are certain duties and obligations of the GAL, information provided to the GAL is not confidential and can be disclosed to the court.

GAL TRAINING

To perform the role of a GAL, a person must participate in on-going specialized training for their particular legal jurisdiction to understand the relevant laws and specific procedures that must be followed. Topics can include mediation and negotiation skills, family and domestic violence issues, child development issues, dynamics of child abuse and neglect, and more.

For Illinois child custody cases, a Guardian Ad Litem is often an attorney who has been practicing for a specific number of years before being appointed to the role. A GAL’s report usually carries a great deal of weight with the court, so it’s important to cooperate as much as possible with the GAL and follow instructions.

I am a trained GAL who has been appointed several times a year as a Guardian Ad Litem for children in a divorce or parental custody situation. A significant amount of my practice is devoted to working with children, and I welcome the opportunity to seek their best interests in a DuPage County divorce situation.

If you need information or assistance on working with a GAL in your divorce or custody case, contact me to learn more.


ABOUT ERIN BIRT

Erin_Birt_37033-199x300Illinois attorney Erin Birt is a skilled legal professional with over ten years of experience in trial and divorce law serving clients in many DuPage County cities including Wheaton, Glen Ellyn, Naperville, Warrenville and Winfield.

She opened the Law Firm of Erin Birt, P.C. in 2010 to offer her clients alternative divorce resolution services, specialized collaborative divorce options and family law expertise. She and her expert team continually develop creative outcomes such as divorce mediation and family law mediation that work for all parties involved, particularly children.

Ms. Birt holds a J.D. from DePaul College of Law and is a member of the Collaborative Practice Professionals of Illinois, the Collaborative Law Institute of Illinois, the International Academy of Collaborative Professionals and the DuPage County Bar Association.