We are continuing our discussion of how newly divorced or separated people cope with family holidays. In our last post, we talked about couples without children and their challenges at family gatherings.
Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn signed the Steven Watkins Memorial Act into law in August, giving Watkins' family a victory in a hard-fought legislative battle. The law gives family court judges the power to revoke the driver's license of a custodial parent if that parent refuses to allow court-ordered visits of the children and the noncustodial parent.
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.
An unusual and emotional custody fight made its way to the Illinois Appellate Court last week. The case involves a man who is asking for custody and visitation of the child his ex-wife adopted during their brief marriage. The problem is that he never filed stepparent adoption papers.
Traditionally, the New Year brings a promise that better things are coming. The future is bright, and hope rebounds. But the New Year is also a time for reflection, and for some Chicago families that can mean big changes. January is the most common month for couples to file for divorce, and that can make the long winter months a lot more stressful.
An Illinois native has completed a month-long bike ride that he hopes will result in changes to child custody laws. He lives in Japan; his son and his ex-wife live more than 500 miles away from him there. According to his visitation agreement, he is allowed to see his son for five hours every six weeks.
In a high-profile Illinois case, the parents of a murder victim are continuing their fight for access to their grandchild. Their son and his ex-wife had been to court themselves to settle visitation matters, and it was during one of those court-ordered visits that the ex-wife's grandmother shot and killed the man. This visitation battle has crossed state lines and landed the ex-wife in jail.
As his parents continue their struggle for visitation with his 4-year-old son, a bill bearing Steven Watkins' name is making its way through the Illinois General Assembly. Watkins was murdered in 2008 when he went to pick up his son for a court-ordered visitation. This bill would allow the court to suspend the driver's license of a person like Watkins' wife who fails to comply with a visitation order.
When parents split up, it can be scary for kids. There are so many things a couple contemplating divorce or legal separation can do to make the transition easier for their kids. Halloween, the scariest time of year, is a great time to remember the basics: It's okay for kids to be spooked by ghosts and goblins this time of year, but they shouldn't be spooked about how their parents will act when it comes time to trick or treat.
As a follow-up to the story we discussed in our September 3rd post "Bridget Dumps Bernie - Interfaith Divorce Tough on Kids," news has been released this week that the Chicago man under a restraining order preventing him from taking his daughter to church was cleared of charges relating to his alleged violation of the restraining order.A Cook County judge ruled yesterday that the father was not in violation of the court order when he took his daughter to church in January, prior to the completion of child custody proceedings. Contempt of court could not be proven given the video captured by the television crew does not actually show the daughter in attendance at the service.