Practice Areas

Marie Taraska understands that the law affects people in many different ways. Ms. Taraska has over 19 years of experience both in and out of the courtroom in both counsel and representation. Ms. Taraska focuses her practice in, Defense of DCFS – Department of Children and Family Services matters, Family Law and Juvenile Delinquency Law/Criminal Defense.

DCFS Matters

The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) investigates and makes determinations regarding any cases involving allegations of abuse or neglect. Anyone may call DCFS anonymously and make allegations involving a child. The reporter is not required to leave their contact information, but often the call will result in investigations which cause extreme anxiety and distress for all of the family members involved.

DCFS investigations can be directed at anyone involved in taking care of a child or living in the home with a child when an abuse or neglect allegation is made. The investigators hold great power over the entire family and are often not clear regarding their investigation.

An allegation of abuse or neglect can have far reaching consequences starting with DCFS putting a safety plan into the home during the initial investigation. These safety plans are often drafted by the DCFS investigators, do not make sense to the family and can require other individuals to move into the home to "supervise" the family during the investigation which can last for up to 60 days or longer.

Depending on the information given in the call to DCFS, police or other law enforcement may also begin their own investigation. After an investigation is completed, it is possible criminal charges could be brought against the person investigated. Even if criminal charges are not initiated, the case can be brought to Juvenile Child Protection Court where a parent could lose custody of their children. The DCFS investigator can also "indicate" the person investigated. After an individual is indicated, they only have 60 days to appeal this finding or it will be kept in the State Central Registry. An indication can have negative implications and will affect the ability to work in certain types of jobs.

Because the DCFS investigators have so much power over the lives of all the individuals involved in an investigation, it is important to have a lawyer who can fully represent you during the first steps of the investigation.

Family Law Matters

When a couple has a child and is not married, a parentage matter is important for establishing who the legal parents are, custody, visitation and child support. The first step in establishing parentage is to either sign a voluntary acknowledgment of parentage or to initiate a parentage action in court where a DNA test will be conducted.

Unresolved parentage issues can cause great stress for the mother, father and the child so obtaining an order setting forth the child support, visitation and custody guidelines now called “allocation of parenting time” can help all family members involved. It is important for families to try to work together to reach an agreement which is in the best interest of their children. However, when that is not possible, Ms. Taraska will argue vigorously for her client’s rights.

Ms. Taraska has been handling parentage matters for both mothers, fathers and children for over 19 years. She understands that each case is different and requires a firm but also an understanding approach of not only the legal issues but the emotional aspects of each and every family member involved.

Ms. Taraska also handles any types of custody disputes which arise from a divorce which has already been completed. Many times, the original custody provisions which were put into the divorce decree have changed. This is called a post-decree custody matter and requires that a motion to change or modify the custody terms be filed in Court.

Juvenile Delinquency Law/Criminal Law:

Police officers, Sheriff's Police and other government agencies often work in conjunction with the State's Attorney's Office in investigating and charging both adults and juveniles with alleged crimes. Unlike civil cases, Juvenile Delinquency and Criminal cases often result in a person's freedom being restricted in many ways. Juvenile Delinquency deals with the same criminal laws as adult matters, but the cases are often heard in Juvenile Court and have different consequences should a minor be found guilty of a crime.

The first court hearing after a person is charged with a crime is a custody hearing for a juvenile or a bond hearing for an adult. A person charged with a crime will go before a judge who will decide if a minor should remain in custody or if bond is necessary for an adult to be released from incarceration. It is important to have a qualified attorney who can represent you at this hearing and attempt to have you released from custody.

After the bond hearing the case can be brought into court several different ways and an accused person will be assigned to their permanent judge. This judge will usually preside throughout the entire case unless the attorney makes a motion to substitute that judge. There are time periods which are critical to Juvenile Delinquency and Criminal matters so hiring an attorney as early as possible is important to secure the person's rights and freedom.

These are only a few of the many services that Ms. Taraska offers. For more information, or if you would like to schedule an appointment, call Ms. Taraska at 773-989-8502.