shutterstock_1108958093Illinois law says that a child’s birth parents are presumed to be the natural parents, and they have certain rights and responsibilities — unless they opt to waive those rights. There may be limited situations where the courts may step in and terminate a parent’s rights involuntarily. This only happens when a family court judge feels that doing so would be in the best interests of the child.

Parents who have lost their parental rights do not have any authority in decision making for the child, nor do they possess any rights to parenting time with the child. There are rare instances where both parents involuntarily lose their parental rights. Their child would then be eligible for adoption by someone else. If you are a parent whose parental rights are being challenged, you can go to court to protest the termination of your rights. This is where an Illinois family law attorney can help.

Involuntary Termination of Parental Rights

To have a parent’s rights terminated, it must be because he or she was “unfit.”  There are numerous factors that can cause a parent to be deemed unfit. Some of these include:

  • Physical abuse
  • Creation of an unsafe living environment
  • Repeated neglect
  • Abandonment
  • Disability or mental illness
  • Failure to visit or have contact with the child for 12 months
  • Regular substance abuse by the parent
  • Incarceration
  • Exposing children to controlled substances
  • Disinterest in the child’s welfare

If only one parent is deemed unfit, the other parent will likely receive a greater allocation of responsibilities and rights. The other option is to have the child placed in the care of the state’s Department of Child and Family Services (DCFS).

It is important to understand that being declared an unfit parent does not automatically equate to the parent losing all of his or her rights. The courts typically give a parent time to change their behavior and improve the situation first. The court will typically look to terminate a parent’s rights after their child has been in foster care for around 15 months.

In rare situations, the court may look to expedite the process in the event the parent meets one of the following criteria:

  • He or she has a documented history of sexually assaulting or abusing children.
  • He or she has been convicted of attempted murder or murder.
  • He or she has already lost their parental rights in another situation.
  • He or she is incapacitated, and there is only a small chance of recovery.

Challenging the Termination of Rights

During the hearing on termination of parental rights, the affected parent can make a claim that the termination is not in the child’s best interests. Some arguments that may be made could include that a relative is caring for the child, there is no one who is able and ready to assume parental rights of the child, there has been no effort by DCFS to reunite the parent with the child, or the parent would be more involved in their child’s life if they were not incarcerated.

Contact a Naperville Parental Rights Lawyer

If you are fighting against the termination of your parental rights, it is important to speak with a knowledgeable and experienced Lisle family law attorney. At Momkus LLC, we can advise you of your rights and advocate for you to be able to maintain a relationship with your child. Contact us at 630-434-0400 to schedule an initial consultation.



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DuPage County prenup lawyerA prenuptial agreement, often called “prenup” for short, is an important legal contract that a couple creates before they get married. Some people mistakenly assume that prenuptial agreements are just meant to take advantage of the other party in the event of a divorce, but that is not the reason for most prenups. Instead, prenups can have a variety of benefits and purposes. They can address financial concerns and help reduce conflict if a married couple decides to divorce.

When creating a prenup, it is imperative for each party to be represented by independent legal counsel. At Momkus LLC, our DuPage County family law attorneys have years of experience drafting and reviewing prenuptial agreements. Our team also has related experience that can be extremely helpful in these situations, including in the areas of estate planning and business law.

Topics to Cover in Your Prenuptial Agreement

Prenuptial agreements can address a wide variety of important matters. Some of these can include:

  • Asset Distribution: In your prenuptial agreement, you can determine ahead of time what is considered marital property and what will be separate property. This can include assets like investments, homes, retirement accounts, family-owned businesses, boats, cars, etc.
  • Passing Separate Property to Children: This is especially common if you have children from a prior marriage or marriages, and you want to ensure you pass property to them after your death. Without a prenuptial agreement, your surviving spouse could make a claim to a large portion of your property, which would leave less for your children.
  • Alimony: You can set forth the amount of spousal maintenance you or your spouse will receive in the event you file for divorce at some point. You can also include a provision to waive alimony in the event of a divorce.
  • Debts: A prenuptial agreement can also set forth plans for how existing debts will be handled during a divorce. This can also include tax bills as well.

Prenuptial agreements will not address topics like child care and custody, any criminal matters, or those that are contrary to public policy.

Things to Remember with Prenuptial Agreements

When you are preparing to create a prenuptial agreement, there are important things you need to remember. For one, both parties have to disclose all of their financial information to each other. There needs to be a clear understanding of each side’s net worth, including any expected inheritances, if applicable and known.

Prenups need to be fair, although this can be subjective. What is fair in a divorce involving two people who were married for one year will be entirely different than in a divorce involving a couple married for 15 years who have three minor children, or a couple who were married for 10 years with children from prior marriages.

Contact a Lisle Prenuptial Agreement Attorney

If you need assistance with drafting or reviewing an Illinois prenuptial agreement, it is important to speak with a knowledgeable DuPage County family law attorney. Contact Momkus LLC today at 630-434-0400 to schedule an initial consultation.


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Lisle life insurance trust attorneyIf you are thinking about purchasing a life insurance policy, or, you have already done so to provide financial resources for your family in the event something should happen to you, you should consider establishing a trust to hold the policy. Contrary to popular belief, trusts are not just for the wealthy. Trusts are a very practical part of a comprehensive estate plan for everyone, especially for families with minor children. Trusts can hold money or other assets, including life insurance policies.

How Do Life Insurance Trusts Work?

Instead of listing your spouse and children as the beneficiaries of your life insurance policy, you can name your trust and trustee. When you pass away, the trustee will manage the trust and handle the distribution of the money according to the instructions you set forth in the rules of the trust.

Advantages of Life Insurance Trusts

If you list your minor children as beneficiaries, and you pass away before they are adults, then the court would have to appoint a guardian before any benefits are paid out to them. Plus, once they have access to the cash, young adults may not know how to handle a large sum of money.

Rather than hand over this money directly to a young adult, a trust allows you to determine when and how the funds will be paid out. The trustee you have chosen must follow the distribution rules you set forth in your trust. For example, your trust can establish discretionary rules for distributions to your children, while saving to pay for your children’s college expenses. The trustee may also be directed to make distributions at certain ages, helping to ensure the money will be able to provide for your children’s needs over time rather than being received all at once.

Revocable Versus Irrevocable Trusts

There are two types of life insurance trusts—revocable and irrevocable. For some people, a revocable trust will meet their needs. This type of trust can be modified or changed at any time. On the other hand, irrevocable trusts cannot be altered once they are created. People who have a large estate may be able to use irrevocable trusts as a way to reduce or eliminate estate taxes. An irrevocable life insurance trust may also protect the insurance proceeds from any creditors your children may have.

Estate taxes are the taxes paid to the federal government when assets are transferred to the estate’s heirs. State estate taxes may also apply for some Illinois residents. Any property that has been placed in an irrevocable trust is typically not considered part of the estate when determining eligibility for estate taxes. Currently, federal estate taxes are only applied to an estate that has more than $11.4 million per person, or $22.8 million per couple. Most estates fall below this threshold and are not subject to estate taxes.

The obvious downside to an irrevocable trust is that you generally cannot use any of the assets of the trust, including any cash value to the life insurance policy. Typically, an irrevocable trust may not be revoked or altered once it has been created. If your circumstances change, and you want to change the terms of the trust, you may be unable to do so. For this reason, revocable trusts may be a better option for many people.

Contact a Naperville Life Insurance Trust Lawyer

If you need assistance with life insurance trusts, or if you have other estate planning questions, you need to speak with a skilled DuPage County estate planning attorney. Contact the team at Momkus LLC by calling 630-434-0400 to schedule a consultation.


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Illinois commercial real estate dispute lawyerCommercial real estate disputes tend to be quite complex for both property owners and developers. Issues may arise related to prior or subsequent owners, neighbors, governmental agencies, or other third parties. If you are a commercial property owner or developer, these problems can become costly and time consuming. In order to improve your chances of prevailing in any dispute, it is imperative to have a skilled Illinois real estate litigation attorney on your side. At Momkus LLC, our knowledgeable civil and commercial litigation attorneys have extensive experience with Illinois zoning and commercial real estate cases. We have represented countless developers, landowners, and other entities in disputes involving commercial real estate.

Types of Commercial Real Estate Disputes

Problems involving real estate can arise for a number of different reasons. Some of the more common issues include:

  • Zoning Violations: A dispute regarding zoning and land use can occur when a commercial developer is in violation of its permit or zoning requirements.
  • Breach of Lease: This is typically a commercial landlord and tenant dispute that may arise over anything from failure to make payments on time to the tenant’s failure to use the property for its stated purpose in the contract.
  • Construction Disputes: A construction dispute can arise between multiple parties when one or more parties do not live up to their obligations under the contract.
  • Environmental Compliance: Any builder or land developer who fails to comply with applicable environmental laws and regulations could end up facing action from the EPA or another regulatory body.
  • Banking and Financial: Banking and other financial disputes can arise if an owner is in violation of his or her financing agreement. In these cases, the lender may take its own action in the form of foreclosure in order to get the relief owed.
  • Breach of Contract for Property for Sale: If land is being sold under a contract for development, it typically has certain timelines and contingencies that are built into the contract. In the event these conditions are not met, it can become a breach of contract case.

Illinois Real Estate Laws

The laws that govern Illinois real estate are complicated. Regulations may involve multiple governing bodies with statutes that sometimes conflict with one another. This is the basis for drafting long (and sometimes confusing) real estate contracts.

Real estate is typically one of the largest assets that a business owns. It is important to understand the importance of protecting your business’s most valuable assets. In the event a dispute arises, our team of attorneys at Momkus LLC can help resolve it through several different means: negotiations, alternative dispute resolution (ADR), or litigation.

We can advise you on other real estate topics as well, such as negotiating incentive agreements and relief considerations for both landowners and developers. These can be in the form of sales tax incentives, tax increment financing, and more.

Contact a DuPage County Commercial Real Estate Attorney

Commercial real estate can be a complicated business with a lot of legal terms to understand. If you need assistance with land use and zoning matters in Illinois, you should speak with a skilled DuPage County commercial real estate lawyer. Contact Momkus LLC at 630-434-0400 to schedule a consultation and find out how we can assist you in solving your real estate disputes.


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Naperville estate planning lawyer for special needs trustsProper estate planning involves more than just deciding on how to distribute your assets to your beneficiaries after your death. Actuarial reports indicate that during our working lives, we are more likely to incur an event of disability. Thus, estate planning includes planning and making arrangements in the event you have a future disability, or to ensure that a child or family member with special needs is taken care of. Estate planning and disability planning can be complicated, and you should not make any decisions about what tools to use without speaking with a knowledgeable DuPage County estate planning attorney at Momkus LLC.

At Momkus LLC, our team of estate planning attorneys has years of experience helping clients with all aspects of disability planning. We start with a complete analysis of your circumstances, and we help you plan for possible scenarios, such as future incapacitation, while ensuring that any loved one who has a disability is well-cared for. Our goal is to find the strategies which will prove to be the most beneficial to protect your interests. We will craft an individualized solution that helps meet your immediate needs and your long-term goals.

The Importance of Planning for Disability

While no one wants to think about becoming disabled, the fact is, the unexpected can happen. Many people will be faced with a temporary disability at least once in their lives. Long term disability is a real concern that could happen at any moment to anyone. Even if you practice healthy eating habits, exercise each day, and see the doctor regularly, you may be unable to avoid an injury that could have a long-term effect on your life. For example, you could suffer a slip and fall or some other type of accident that was beyond your control. Proper disability planning can ensure that your needs will be met if the unthinkable occurs.

Disability Planning Tools

There are special tools that you can use for disability planning, depending on your individual situation. Some of these include:

  • OBRA Trusts: The OBRA (d)(4)(A) trust was created as part of the 1993 Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act. An OBRA trust may also be known as a Supplemental Special Needs Payback Trust, a Self-Settled Special Needs Trust or a First Party Special Needs Trust. Ordinarily, an individual who has a significant amount of non-exempt financial assets does not meet the eligibility requirements for Medicaid assistance. A properly established OBRA trust allows a disabled person to become eligible for Medicaid, as long as the trust is established before he reaches age 65. To set up an OBRA trust, the individual must be considered disabled according to the government’s Social Security standards.
  • Power of Attorney: You will want to designate a trusted friend or loved one to have control over your healthcare and/or financial decisions in case you are not able to make decisions on your own. You can opt to designate a person who will have temporary or permanent control, depending on your individual needs.
  • Special Needs Trusts: This allows someone with a disability to have access to the assets held in the trust without putting their eligibility for public assistance at risk.
  • Living Trusts: These can help you manage assets while you are still alive and enable you to transfer them to your intended beneficiaries after your death.
  • Guardianships: A guardianship can be used to legally gain custody of a minor, elderly person, or a disabled person. This may be the best method for someone to assume legal responsibility if no power of attorney agreement has been executed.

Contact a Naperville Disability Planning Attorney

If you need assistance with estate planning and/or disability planning contact Momkus LLC today at 630-434-0400 to schedule an initial consultation with one of our DuPage County estate planning lawyers.


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