James G. Ahlberg's answer You best bet is to file a paternity action to get an order declaring you to be the boy's father. Once you have that you're on much more solid footing when you go to claim your son. In this situation it's cheaper and easier to get things straightened up at the outset rather than trying to fix up a mess afterward.
Marilyn Johnson's answer Your son needs to immediately file a petition with the court to establish his paternity. He also needs to obtain a restraining order prohibiting the mother from leaving the state so that the matter is litigated in Illinois.
Marilyn Johnson's answer Yes, your former husband can get a withholding order for child support and serve it on your employer. You should appear in court on each and every court if you do not have an attorney. You should inform the court of your situation with your children as it can effect the child support amount. You certainly do not have to cook for your former husband or do errands for him as this will not effect the amount of child support that you may be ordered to pay.
James G. Ahlberg's answer A mediator doesn't decide who gets how much parenting time (formerly known as custody and visitation), a judge does. If you value your child, find a good lawyer. What you call the "stress/pain/ugliness that can come with getting lawyers involved" is NOTHING like the stress/pain/ugliness that can come when lawyers are not involved at the outset and have to come in later to clean up the mess made in their absence. Get a lawyer. I repeat, get a lawyer.
James G. Ahlberg's answer You need permission from the court to move your child out-of-state. There are a number of legal hoops to jump through and numerous things the judge needs to consider. Contact an attorney to get this done -- it is not something most people will succeed in doing on their own.
Marilyn Johnson's answer You absolutely should present to the court any and all incidents of abuse even if they have been previously unreported and undocumented. The court will then weigh the presented evidence and rule accordingly.
James G. Ahlberg's answer Child support can be used for almost anything. Car payments? Sure, you've got to get around. Gas or repairs for the car? Same thing. Rent or a mortgage payment? You've got to have a roof over your head. Food? Yes. Phone bills, water, heat for the house or apartment, garbage removal, Internet, cable TV (or dish)? All of these are legitimate things to spend child support on, along with countless others.
James G. Ahlberg's answer Any action changing parenting time (formerly called custody and visitation) must be taken by a court. If your question is whether you are likely to win if you try to terminate your ex's rights to see the children, the answer depends on too many factors to list here. You need to know that Illinois courts tend to avoid terminating a parent's involvement with his or her children if possible, though it does happen at times. I encourage you to make an appointment to see a lawyer who can thoroughly...
James G. Ahlberg's answer Due to recent changes in state law, you and your ex-husband will be expected to propose how much parenting time each of you gets and when it will be (Illinois has done away with the terms "custody" and "visitation"). It will be important for you to emphasize that the term "parenting time" means just what it sounds like -- it is time for a parent to spend time with the child. The term doesn't mean storing the child with someone else the vast majority of the time. Discuss this with your lawyer....
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