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January 2011 Archives

E-mail and Facebook used as weapons in family law cases

Illinois families going through divorce or working on a custody arrangement will want to take note of two recent developments regarding electronic communication. First, a man is facing criminal charges in Michigan for hacking into his wife's e-mail account. Second, Facebook has become a popular source of ammunition in divorce and custody disputes.

Trend in the Making? Marriage, Divorce Counseling Law Proposed

At least one state legislature has introduced a bill this year that would mandate pre-marital and pre-divorce counseling. The Illinois General Assembly hasn't tackled the subject, and it may not need to. The divorce rate here is 2.6 per 1,000 residents, lower than the national rate of 3.4 and less than half the top rate of 6.6 (Nevada). Wyoming, the state considering the counseling bill, has the third-highest rate at 5.2 per 1,000.

Passport Applications Recognize Non-traditional Families

The U.S. Department of State recently announced a revision to passport applications that has elicited a wide range of responses from advocacy groups. The words "mother" and "father" have been replaced by gender-neutral "parent 1" and "parent 2" on the child's application. The change has sparked a lively exchange of views about the definition of family.

Losses in Madoff Investments Spark Property Division Suit

An unusual case has been cleared for trial in an East Coast court, and it's caught the attention of divorce lawyers in Illinois. A man has asked the court to revise the property division he and his ex-wife agreed to in 2006, because his investment account with Ponzi-schemer Bernard Madoff was included as an asset.

Proposal Would Aid in Finding Children

A U.S. senator is sponsoring a bill that could aid parents of missing or kidnapped children by relaxing one Internal Revenue Service rule. The senator said she was motivated to propose the legislation by stories of noncustodial parents disappearing with their children as well as high-profile stories like Elizabeth Smart's.

Numbers Show Child Support Payments Falling

The recession was likely the reason child support payments fell in 2009, the first such decline in over 60 years. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has not completed the analysis of 2010 child support data, but preliminary results suggest another year of losses.

Change to Illinois Child Support Law Effective on January 1

A procedural change regarding child support agreements went into effect on January 1, 2011. The law seems simple, but its effect could be profound. It certainly speaks to the state's commitment to the best interests of the child and, as such, is important information for Illinois parents and family law professionals to know.

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