A judge has ordered former NBA All-Star Allen Iverson to abstain from alcohol for 24 hours prior to scheduled visits with his children. This child custody restriction will remain in place until all of his five children reach the age of 18. This restriction was in addition to other limitations, such as requiring 12 months of AA meetings and 18 months of sobriety. The 37-year-old is also required to see a psychiatrist.
The definition of "family" has changed so much over the past few years. In any neighborhood here in Lake County, for instance, there can be married and unmarried couples with or without children, single parents with children, grandparents raising their grandchildren ... as many different families as there are houses. Some families start off as more traditional, while others are forged by choices some of us didn't think possible not too many years ago.
Danica McKellar of "The Wonder Years" filed for divorce last week. It looks as if Kobe Bryant and his wife may reconcile. In their home state, a divorce is not final for at least six months after filing, and the waiting period is up but the documents aren't signed. Oprah Winfrey is promoting her interview with Kim Kardashian by promising stunning revelations about the celebrity's short-lived marriage. Mel Gibson's family troubles have been out of the headlines for a while, though a new book about him promises stories about his infamous temper.
Couples who are separating or divorcing often disagree about who gets the pet. In some extreme cases, one spouse will abuse the pet, using custody as a weapon. A few states, Illinois among them, have laws that protect animals in domestic violence situations. Fortunately, those cases are few and far between. Most of the time, when a pet enters the picture, he or she is the subject of a custody and visitation arrangement.
If Timmy's parents divorced, who would get custody of Lassie? Would she go with Timmy's dad, the human who trained her so well? Or would she go with Timmy's mom, the human who fed Lassie and took her to the vet for her check-ups? Or, would she go wherever Timmy went? In the '50s, shared physical custody was rare, so perhaps Timmy's mom would have custody of Timmy, and the boy's dad would keep Lassie.
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.
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.