It's no surprise to anyone that child custody has changed. Since the mid-1970s, when the nation's first joint parenting law was passed, the number of mothers awarded sole custody has declined. Before that, in Lake County and elsewhere, the mother had to be dead, in jail or mentally ill before the court would give a father sole custody, or so one family law expert says.
In early June, we talked about a lawsuit filed against the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services by Catholic Charities of the Springfield, Peoria and Joliet dioceses. Another diocese, Belleville, has joined the suit now, adding heat to the argument over providing foster and adoption services to same sex couples.
As Illinois nears the two-month mark under the Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act, other states have taken up the same-sex union debate. The argument has long simmered at the federal level, too, and a recently proposed Senate bill challenges the Defense of Marriage Act (DoMA) from a slightly different angle.
The first of the baby boom generation are turning 65 this year. In Illinois, boomers make up between 20 and 25 percent of the population -- about the same as the U.S. If you look around your neighborhood or your workplace, try to figure out how many boomers you know have been married to the same spouse for 20 years or more. The numbers are dwindling, it seems, giving boomers a higher divorce rate than any generation in history.
A medical journal opinion piece has sparked a controversy in both the medical and the family law communities. The authors, a doctor and a lawyer, argue that an obese child should be put into foster care; clearly, they say, the parents are not acting in the best interest of the child.
In our last post, we were talking about a professional football player, his ex-girlfriend and an engagement ring. He had mailed the engagement ring and a videotaped proposal to the girlfriend, only to have her say no. He demanded she return the ring. This is an interesting area of family law, really, that touches on contract law and property division -- the promise to marry is an odd duck in the law.
The musical "Guys and Dolls" has a wonderful number in it called "Take Back Your Mink." Theater fans who saw the revival in Chicago this winter should be familiar with the lyrics: Take back your mink; take back your poils, what made you think, that I was one of those goils? The song is a kind of anthem to pre-nuptial property division -- the courts would want to know, though, if the mink and pearls were given as promises of marriage.
Court-ordered child support payments are necessary to help the custodial parent care and raise the couple's children. If a parent fails to pay their court-ordered child support payments, the custodial parent can petition the court to enforce the child support award.