A U.S. senator is sponsoring a bill that could aid parents of missing or kidnapped children by relaxing one Internal Revenue Service rule. The senator said she was motivated to propose the legislation by stories of noncustodial parents disappearing with their children as well as high-profile stories like Elizabeth Smart's.
A procedural change regarding child support agreements went into effect on January 1, 2011. The law seems simple, but its effect could be profound. It certainly speaks to the state's commitment to the best interests of the child and, as such, is important information for Illinois parents and family law professionals to know.
An interesting case came up in another state, and family law attorneys in Illinois -- and everywhere there are kids with phones -- are waiting for the next step. The decision deals with a parent recording a chlid's telephone calls without consent, and it all started with a custody dispute between the parents of a 2 ½-year old girl.
In our last post, we started talking about a group of mothers and organizations from different states, including Illinois, who have taken their argument with the U.S. courts to an international body. This group petitioned the InterAmerican Commission on Human Rights, claiming that U.S. courts have violated their human rights by granting custody and unsupervised visitation to fathers who have abused both the mothers and the children.
More than three years ago, a group of mothers, an adult child, and a handful of non-profit organizations petitioned the InterAmerican Commission on Human Rights, alleging a discriminatory pattern and practice of United States courts in custody and visitation cases. The petitioners, including one from Illinois, claim that the courts' tendency to award custody or unsupervised visitation to child molesters and abusers violates the mothers' human rights. In the three years since the petition was filed, reports say that the number of cases is growing and the IACHR has failed to act on many of them.
A tragedy unfolded in the Chicago suburb of Bloomingdale last week. A 43-year-old woman, said to be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and depression, killed her 4-year-old daughter and tried to take her own life. Reports are sketchy, but it seems the girl was the youngest of the woman's three children. The older two had been the subjects of protracted custody battles that authorities believe contributed to their mother's mental state.
In Illinois and elsewhere, separation or divorce can be hard on a family, especially on children. Often, parents will find a counselor to help their child through the difficult time -- a trained professional who can work with the child to resolve trust and anger issues, to sort through the push and pull that especially accompanies custody disputes. The basis of therapy is confidentiality: What happens in therapy stays in therapy. That confidentiality helps to establish trust, and trust between the counselor and the client is essential if the therapy is to be effective.
A custody hearing will be held in McHenry County later this week in a case involving an 11-year-old boy, his father's family and his long-absent mother and her family. The mother was absent because she was in prison for attacking her husband (the boy's father) with a sledgehammer in 2001. Released in 2009, she has not sought visitation or custody rights. The issue came up only because the father, whose permanent injuries did not keep him from caring for the child, passed away a couple of weeks ago.
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.
Two sisters and their brother are collecting signatures in their home state of Connecticut to take an idea to state legislators. Their petition has to do with how kids participate in custody decisions. If they are successful, the idea could catch on with children in Illinois and elsewhere.