​​​​​EXPUNGEMENT / Sealing Records

Access To Justice, Inc.


In an appeal, a higher court reviews the decision of a lower court. Lawyers in appellate practice handle the process of appealing a lower court judgment. This may happen in a civil or criminal case - after a trial before a judge or jury - or after dismissal of a case upon disposition of a motion.

Uncontested Divorce

There are generally two types of divorce - contested and uncontested. A contested divorce is one in which the parties cannot agree, either about getting divorced or about the terms of the divorce, such as the division of assets, allocation of debts, alimony, child support, or the custody of children. In an uncontested divorce, the spouses agree on everything and do not need the court to divide assets or make determinations about support or custody. In general, an uncontested divorce will proceed through the system more quickly (typically 2-3 months), and be much less expensive.

​​Uncontested Divorce may be right for you if you and your spouse agree on the terms of the divorce. As you may know, the divorce process - even an uncontested divorce - requires a lot of confusing legal work. Thus, an inexperienced person can easily make mistakes, which can cause frustration, delay, and result in unnecessary expense. That is why we set up an easy, hassle-free way for you to go through the uncontested divorce process. That is, for an affordable flat fee, our uncontested divorce attorney will handle everything for you, including going to court with you. Also, you'll have the comfort of having an attorney available to answer all of your questions. We highly recommend this process if you know your case will be uncontested.


Adoption is when a person becomes the legal parent of another person who is not his or her biological child.  There are several types of adoption, including the following:

  • Related Adoption occurs when at least one of the adopting parents is related to the person being adopted.  This is typically the easiest type of adoption to accomplish.  When a step-parent wants to adopt his or her spouse's biological child, this is considered "related adoption." 
  • Agency Adoption occurs when a licensed agency, including DCFS, is given the authority to place a child with adopting parents.  
  • Private Adoption occurs when the child is not placed with an agency and neither of the adopting parents are related to the child. 
  • Adoption of an Adult occurs when a child aged 18 years or older is adopted.  
  • Standby Adoption occurs when a legal parent who is terminally ill agrees in advance to have the child adopted by a specific person either when the legal parent becomes to ill to care for the child or when the legal parent passes. 

Typically the person adopting the child must be over the age of 18. However, courts typically have discretion to make exceptions to this rule for good cause. A child is typically available for adoption if the child has been surrendered to an agency, including DCFS/DCF, and the agency has consented to adoption, or, a person authorized by a court to consent to adoption has consented, or, the child's biological parents have placed the child in the custody of the prospective adoptive parents. ‍An adult may also be adopted under certain circumstances. 

In order for an adoption order to be entered by the court, the biological parents' parental rights typically must be terminated (however, there are several exceptions to this rule, including adult adoptions, or, if the biological parent is deceased). When one of the petitioners is the biological parent of the child, parental rights are not terminated. Instead the biological parent will consent to adoption by his or her spouse in the petition for adoption. 

‍If termination of parental rights is a necessary prerequisite for adoption, this can be accomplished either voluntarily or involuntarily.  

  • Voluntary Termination of Parental Rights - ‍biological parents can execute a final and irrevocable consent to adoption, or, an  irrevocable surrender for purposes of adoption.

  • ‍Involuntary Termination of Parental Rights - ‍Involuntary termination of parental rights can be accomplished through a court proceeding if the court finds the biological parent to be an unfit parent. The rights of a putative father may be involuntarily terminated by serving the putative father with proper notice of a petition to this effect.

​The Adoption Process typically begins with the filing of a Petition for Adoption.  The petition must be served along with a summons upon all required parties. ‍Once all required parties have been properly served, an interim order hearing will be held to decide who will have temporary parental responsibilities for the child to be adopted.  The judge will also determine whether parental responsibilities must be terminated, determine whether a guardian ad litem will be assigned to represent the child, and appoint an investigator for the case.  The investigator will investigate the home of the adoptive parents and run a criminal background check.  In agency adoptions, the agency will typically perform the investigation. After a period of time has elapsed from the date of the interim order hearing (6 months), a final hearing will be conducted.  After reviewing the investigator's report, the guardian ad litem's report, and affidavits submitted by the parties, the court will issue an order finalizing the adoption. ‍After the final adoption order has been entered by the court, the petitioners for adoption can submit a completed certificate of adoption form to the state in order to obtain a revised birth certificate that will show the child's new name (if applicable) and list the petitioners as the child's parents. ​​

We do not handle expungement and/or sealing cases at our office; however, the below resources should point you in the right direction if you are seeking to Expunge or Seal a Criminal Record.


Cabrini Green Legal Aid runs a Help Desk in Cook County every week. They are a good resource for those looking to expunge and/or seal criminal records.

Cabrini Green Legal Aid
740 N. Milwaukee Ave.
Chicago, IL 60642

(312) 738-2452



The Chicago Bar Association is also a good resource for cases and matters in Cook County (call your local county bar association for matters outside Cook County). The CBA may be able to refer you to a local attorney. Also, ask the CBA about their modest means program for attorneys who charge reduced rates.


21 S. Plymouth Ct.
Chicago, IL 60604

Phone: (312) 554-2055

Website:   www.chicagobar.org

Another helpful website:    www.chicagobarfoundation.org/find-legal-help/



Veterans and their families have sacrificed greatly to keep our country safe. With this in mind, many states as well as the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) honors and serves veterans by fulfilling President Lincoln’s promise “to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan.”  As such, veterans and their families may be eligible for a broad range of benefits and programs, including but not limited to:

A number of healthcare services may be available, including but not limited to: hospital, outpatient medical, dental, pharmacy, prosthetic services, domiciliary, nursing home, and community-based residential care, treatment related to Military Sexual Trauma (MST), readjustment counseling, homeless veteran programs, alcohol and drug dependency treatment, medical evaluation for disorders related to Gulf War service or environmental hazards, and specialized health care for women Veterans Caregivers (support for caregivers who provide personal care services to Veterans who are seriously injured, chronically ill, disabled, or are getting older and are no longer able to adequately care for themselves).

Burial and memorial services to honor certain deceased Veterans.

A tax free monetary benefit paid to Veterans with disabilities that are the result of a disease or injury incurred or aggravated during active military service. Compensation may also be paid for post-service disabilities that are considered related or secondary to disabilities occurring in service and for disabilities presumed to be related to circumstances of military service, even though they may arise after service. Generally, the degrees of disability specified are also designed to compensate for considerable loss of working time from exacerbation or illnesses.​

A tax-free benefit paid to wartime Veterans with limited or no income who are either aged 65 or older or who are permanently and totally disabled due to a non-service connected cause. Seriously disabled or housebound Veterans receiving Pension may also qualify for an additional Aid and Attendance or Housebound benefit.

Eligible to Servicemembers and Veterans pursuing an approved education or training program.

Assists Veterans with service-connected disabilities to prepare for, obtain, and maintain suitable employment through the Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment VetSuccess program. 

Insurance benefits to Servicemembers and Veterans to provide peace of mind, knowing that your family is protected. VA insurance benefits were developed in consideration of the extra risks involved in military service.

Veterans and Active Duty, National Guard, and Reserve Servicemembers may be eligible for VA’s home loan program. VA loans have favorable terms, including no down payment or mortgage insurance premiums.

Benefit programs for survivors include, dependency and indemnity Compensation (DIC),  the Civilian Health and Medical Program of the Department of Veterans Affairs (CHAMPVA) provides reimbursement for most medical expenses, the Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance Program (Chapter 35) provides assistance to obtain a degree and pursue other eligible education and training, survivor's pension.

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