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February 2011 Archives

The Unusual Suspects: Visitation Decision Breaks Ground

Illinois joined a handful of states recently when Governor Quinn signed the civil union law. Civil unions will be available to both heterosexual and same-sex couples, but same-sex couples celebrated the law a little more heartily. Other states have made headlines recently with decisions that bode well for same-sex relationships -- in particular, a decision from an unlikely venue regarding a child visitation agreement.

Custody fight focuses on religious traditions (part 2)

We were talking about a Chicago child custody dispute that centered on the religious upbringing of the child. The mother converted to Hassidic Judaism when she married again. The father, though he agreed to raise the boy as a Jew, believes her "extremism" -- she keeps kosher -- is driving a wedge between him and his son. The mother has petitioned the court to toss out the previous custody agreement and to give her sole custody. The father vigorously disagrees.

Custody fight focuses on religious traditions

A Chicago custody fight made headlines recently, not because it involved celebrities, but because the nature of the case is so unusual. When the couple divorced in 2007, they agreed to joint custody of their son. Now the boy's mother says their original custody agreement should be dissolved and she should be granted sole custody. The parents stipulated in the original agreement that the boy be raised Jewish. Unfortunately, they did not clarify just what that meant.

Cohab agreements more common, group says

Early Census results showed an increase in the number of couples who cohabit. We know from history, though, that unmarried partners have to protect their assets just as carefully as married couples do. And while the issues may not be the same, the result of not planning for the break-up contingency can be painful, expensive litigation. The law doesn't provide for partners in heterosexual or same-sex relationships the way it provides for spouses or civil partners. So, what's an unmarried, cohabiting couple to do?

Be careful what you wish for: The Oscar Curse

For those of us who pay attention to movie stars, it was a surprise when Warren Beatty married Annette Benning in 1992. It may have been less of a surprise when Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise filed for divorce, but she elicited such sympathy that hundreds of people partied outside her hotel when she remarried in 2006. Both women are Best Actress nominees this year, and if Oscar has his way, if one of them wins, she'll soon be negotiating child support and custody, spousal maintenance and property division with her soon-to-be-ex-husband.

Another marriage stressor: lying about money

This is another story about financial woes and their effect on a marriage. We've said often (our last post notwithstanding) that money troubles are among the top reasons couples divorce. According to a recent survey, though, it's not just that there's not enough money or that the couple disagrees on financial priorities. No, some marriages fall victim to "financial infidelity."

Study: Great Recession had 'double-edged impact' on marriages

Most of us know all too well the effects of the Great Recession on Chicago: unemployment up 4 percent in 2009, one foreclosure every 22 minutes and so much more. Researchers recently delved into the effects of the Great Recession on married couples, with some expected and some surprising results. The "Survey of Marital Generosity" revealed two positive outcomes along with the negative. Overall, the study's findings are consistent with research from other sources in its main conclusions: Divorce rates have declined since the onset of the economic downturn, and, as financial woes increased, so did the risk of divorce.

Bitter split didn't end with wife's death

Believing that her daughter's "long, bitter, hostile divorce" had finally come to a close, an Illinois woman found herself making arrangements for her daughter's funeral. The 34-year-old died a week ago, leaving no will and no instructions about her funeral beyond telling her brother years earlier that she'd like to be buried near her father, in Illinois. She died in Florida, near her son and her ex-husband.

Civil unions recognized in Illinois come June

One Illinois county has used pink paper for brides and blue paper for grooms who apply for marriage licenses. That may all have to change, according to a county employee, now that Governor Pat Quinn has signed legislation recognizing civil unions in the state. County clerks have a few months to work out the details; the law doesn't go into effect until June 1 of this year.

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