The story has made headlines for many reasons. A Chicago-area woman, the older sister of Academy Award winner Jennifer Hudson, obtained a divorce from her estranged husband in December 2011. He is currently on trial on charges of murdering her mother, her brother and her 7-year-old son.
We are continuing the story of the "orphans of the Titanic." This is a true story, and it makes you wonder why the movies and books about the Ship of Dreams needed to make anything up. The ship and its sinking were full of real-life drama, including two boys, age 2 and 4, who were the last passengers to get into the last lifeboat. They had no idea they were in the midst of a custody dispute.
According to a Lake County historian, two passengers aboard the RMS Titanic had ties to the area. Both perished when the Titanic went down. Only 700 of the 2,200 passengers survived. The Lake County stories are just two of the real-life dramas that have come to light during the 100th anniversary of the loss of the Titanic. One story, about two young boys caught up in a custody dispute, caught our attention.
As society and technology progresses, one would imagine that the law would attempt to reflect the nature of modern times. Families have evolved over the last several decades and, fortunately, Illinois child custody and visitation laws have, in some ways, grown to suit the needs of 21st century parents and their children.
An unusual case is unfolding in a Chicago, Illinois courthouse. On the surface it is a simple case of a mother wanting her children back. On second look, it is the case of a mother with a troubling criminal record and her two adopted little girls -- and a judge who must decide whether returning them to their mother is in the best interests of the children.
We often talk about celebrity dads who are behind on their child support or spousal support payments. For many of us, the dollar amounts are mindboggling; how can a famous ex-football player like Warran Sapp owe more than $700,000 in alimony and child support?
Television sports analyst and former NFL defensive tackle Warren Sapp has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Reports indicate he owes more than $6.7 million to creditors and, it seems, his ex-wife. When the couple divorced in 2007, Sapp agreed to pay $15,000 per month to support for his two children and another $45,000 per month in spousal maintenance. In February, his ex-wife filed court documents that stated Sapp owed her and their children more than $700,000.
So much changes when a marriage ends. It isn't just the emotional relationship that changes -- it's the financial relationship, the parent-parent and parent-child relationships, the social relationships that come with being part of a couple. For both women and men a divorce can mean an unexpected -- and unprepared for -- return to the workforce. Whether change for the better or for the worse, divorce means change.
We aren't aware of anything like this scheduled in Lake County. It could be just a blip on the radar, a passing fad, the "one day you're in, and the next day you're out" phenomenon of conventions. Still, while critics complain that it sends the wrong message, attendees at the Divorce Expo were excited about the opportunity to network and to learn more about the legal and financial issues that come with divorce.