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June 2013 Archives

Collaborative law great alternative to resolving disputes in a divorce

No matter how uncontested the divorce, the process is always stressful. One way that may help mitigate the tension and anxiety regarding property distribution or child custody matters, for instance, is through the use of collaborative law methods instead of traditional litigation.

Mediation can save money and hassle in divorce

What do you want out of your divorce? If you're like most people, the main thing you're probably looking for is simply a chance to start over and be happy. Of course, you are also likely concerned with the more tangible aspects of the divorce, like dividing up property and debt, setting terms of support and, if applicable, making arrangements for child custody and visitation.

CEO's property division settlement could break record

Ever since media mogul Rupert Murdoch divorced his wife in 1999, his split has been considered to include the world's biggest divorce settlement. Even though Murdoch is in the process of getting divorced again, a fellow businessperson may soon surpass the 1999 record set by Murdoch. Harold Hamm, CEO of an oil company, could end up owing his wife $3 billion as the split is finalized.

Enforcing child support gets serious in Illinois

Child support orders are determined based upon a parent's ability to pay, a child's needs and several other factors. There are some instances when a spouse obligated to pay under the agreement either is unable to pay and fails to seek a modification or chooses not to pay at all.

Is paid paternity leave the first step to fathers' rights?

In the afterglow of Father's Day, let's take a look at some recent local developments on the paternal parent front. First, Chicago's own 17-year-old rap star Chief Keef faces a second paternity suit and additional charges of avoiding child support payments. Second, local police hit the streets dressed like commandos in search of noncustodial dads who are behind on their support payments. They arrested 25 people in "raids" last week, one a dad who owes almost $125,000 in back support payments.

Walking the talk? Divorce papers follow Hardiman's battery charge

There is a cruel irony to the situation anti-violence activist Tio Hardiman finds himself in. As the director of CeaseFire Illinois, Hardiman forged a unique partnership with the city of Chicago to help curb street violence in a couple of stricken neighborhoods. While police and CeaseFire differ on the reasons for the drop in violence, the fact is that the murder rates in those areas are down.

Women's group pushes for equal custody arrangements

Generally speaking, the conception is that women are given primary custody of children more often than men in divorce. Even in arrangements where parents share custody, children may only spend a couple days per week with their father. Although Illinois child custody laws aim to meet the best interests of children, some observers feel as though family laws haven't caught up with the needs of today's families.

Distance can be a factor in child custody determinations

There is no doubt that the incident involving the NFL player Jovan Belcher and his family was a terrible tragedy. If our readers are not familiar with this situation, the football player had shot his girlfriend during an argument and later killed himself. While we don't have the standing to talk about what they were thinking, the issues that remain in the case are pertinent to our Illinois Family Law Blog.

Noncustodial dads observe Fatherless Day at Illinois Capitol

Fathers are short-changed by family courts, according to the organization Illinois Fathers. The group of noncustodial parents and grandparents met at the Capitol in Springfield this week to observe Fatherless Day, their effort to make the public and lawmakers aware of the difficulties noncustodial fathers face in building solid, meaningful relationships with their children.

Mom wants to move kids closer to dad; why should he object? p. 2

We are continuing our discussion of professional basketball star Steve Nash's child custody dispute with his ex-wife. The couple is arguing over where the children should live, but the argument is not about what you'd think. We are used to parents here in Lake County wanting to be closer to their kids and objecting when the other parent tries to leave the state. In Nash's case, he wants his kids to stay put with their mother, 400 miles and one state away.

Mom wants to move kids closer to dad; why should he object?

One of the challenges for divorced parents is how to handle custody and visitation arrangements when one parent moves out of state. We are not talking about parents who kidnap their children or relocate out of spite. This is a situation that can come up even in the most amicable of divorces. A parent or a new spouse is transferred for work or has family obligations that require moving. 

529 plan college savings can be saved in property division, p. 3

We are wrapping up our discussion of 529 plan accounts and how couples can handle them during a divorce. The plans offer a tax advantage -- federal taxes, not Illinois state taxes -- to people who save for future educational needs, generally parents thinking ahead to their children's college tuition bills. The money in the plan account is a marital asset if it was amassed during the marriage, so it must be included in the property division settlement.

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