Family & Divorce

The decision and privilege to pursue adoption is an exciting, gratifying path when you desire to expand your family. More than ever before, today’s adoption services offer new parents opportunities to share their life with a child who is in need of a good home. However, adoption proceedings are complex and require serious preparation in order to navigate them successfully. For the sake of all parties involved, it is important to understand the legal aspects to make the adoption experience as seamless as possible. Know Your Rights It is not uncommon for new parents to feel instantly overwhelmed the moment…
Many clients that come to my office have issues with a spouse with traits of a personality disorder. These traits create many challenges for the relationship, and the family, and in the context of divorce, the case can end up being what is called a “high conflict case.” For many years, I have focused my practice, in part, on these cases involving psychological issues as well as high conflict cases.  Rarely do I find a good, understandable explanation in the public domain of what a narcissistic personality is, how they present, and the impacts that these traits and disorders have…
A married person may consider divorce as an option for leaving a stressful or unhappy relationship and getting a fresh start. Agreeing to dissolve a marriage can be a difficult choice, since a person may be unwilling to give up the unity and love that brought the couple together. The divorce process will require spouses to identify and resolve the legal issues that must be addressed when ending their marriage, including the allocation of parental responsibilities (formerly known as child custody), child support, and the division of marital property. However, the complexity that might be involved in resolving these…
When you are in the midst of a divorce, you will be given advice (often unsolicited) from friends and family members. Abraham Lincoln observed that “he who represents himself has a fool for a client.” The thought behind that quote is anyone who represents himself or herself lacks the objectivity and insight to make certain clear eyed decisions in his or her court case. The same holds true for friends and family who love you. Friends and family operate from the same emotional perspective that you do. In some ways they are more invested because they empathize with your pain…
As of August 6, 2019, Illinois is the first state to require fire protection for pets kept in kennels and other boarding facilities.[1] House Bill 3390 amended the Illinois Animal Welfare Act to require that all kennel operators install a fire alarm monitoring system that triggers notification to local emergency responders, unless the kennel is staffed at all times.  If a kennel is found in violation, they can face a fine of $500 for a first offense, $1,500 for a second offense, and $2,500 and the loss of their license for a third offense. The bill, which passed through…
In Illinois, marriage dissolution, or what is most commonly referred to as divorce, is the sole means by which a couple can legally terminate their marriage. The termination itself requires a judgment entered by the court, which a judge will issue after the couple agrees to the terms of the divorce. If the couple cannot reach an agreement, then a judge will decide the marital and child-related issues, including the allocation of parental responsibilities and other matters, such as division of property and assets or spousal maintenance (alimony). It is not unusual for one of the spouses to decide to move…
It is no secret that many individuals consider their companion animals, or pets, a member of their family.  In fact, a recent survey conducted found that over 80% of pet owners consider their pets to be full fledged family members, equivalent to the human members alike. [1] Considering this information, it is unsurprising to learn that when a family is going through a divorce, the argument over who gets custody of the family pet may arise. In 2018, the Illinois legislatures made a number of changes to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution Act, one of which was the addition of…
Have you ever sat down with a member of your family and helped him or her apply for government-funded assistance programs? If so, you have probably seen firsthand that many of these programs have eligibility criteria that often include limits on income and owned assets. These requirements, in most cases, were established in order to ensure that those with the greatest need were served by these programs. However, the limits have also created unintended consequences for many people. Such is often the case when an individual who receives benefits through Social Security, Medicaid, or other income-based programs is named as…
Kogut & Wilson is pleased to announce their expansion with the opening of a new office in northwestern Park Ridge. This is the firm’s second location and will allow firm attorneys to serve suburban clients. “Providing excellent client service remains our focus as the firm continues to grow,” said partner Eva Kogut. “With our new Park Ridge office, our clients will have the opportunity to connect with us in multiple places, selecting whatever location is best suited for their schedule.” The office is located at 350 S. Northwest Highway, just blocks from Park Ridge’s Uptown neighborhood and easily accessible…
Illinois may be on the path to establishing a statewide registry for individuals convicted of animal abuse.  State Senator Tom Cullerton, who has introduced similar legislation in the past, says that he intends to reintroduce the idea this January when the next legislative session begins.[1]His proposed bill states that anyone convicted of aggravated animal cruelty, violations involving animals for entertainment, dog fighting and similar offenses will be required to register with the county sheriff for 10 years following their conviction.[2]The offenders will be required to provide their name and any aliases, their date of birth, their…
On July 31, 2019, Governor Pritzker signed into law House Bill 834, effectively amending the Equal Pay Act of 2003 and banning employers from requiring job applicants to disclose their salary history.[1]The new law prohibits employers from requiring that an applicant’s prior wages satisfy minimum or maximum criteria, requesting information about prior wages or salary as part of the application process, or asking questions related to prior benefits or other compensation received. While the new law prohibits employers from requesting prior salary information, it does allow the applicant to disclose their salary and compensation history if they wish.  …
Court dates in divorce and family law matters can be stressful. The thought of coming to court can cause stress and anxiety. Many might even be worried about being seen by others they know. They might feel embarrassed if others see them. Others might not want to take the time off work. They’d rather save their vacation and personal days for a more joyous experience. There are many different types of court dates in divorce and family law matters. Apart from trials, there can be pretrial conferences, settlement conferences, motion dates and even temporary hearings. Even when a person…
In traditional litigation, it’s often the war of the competing experts. Whether the issues in the case are financial or custody related, both sides often enlist their own experts. At trial, this can make it more lengthy and more contested. It can cost the paries a great deal in legal costs. The judge also has to determine whose opinions and methodologies are more credible after hearing their testimony and reviewing their reports. In some cases, a business valuation might be the source of the dispute. It could be a real estate valuation regarding residential or commercial property. In a…
As we all know, not all marriages stand the test of time, and a divorce can be a messy undertaking. In previous posts, we have discussed in a fair amount of detail how a divorce can affect a person’s already existing estate plan. In most cases, the divorce will nullify any provisions that pertain to the person’s spouse. But, did you know that the terms of a divorce settlement agreement could create obligations for a person to meet in his or her estate plan in the future? A recent ruling by an Illinois appeals court shows how such a…
” Today Parental Alienation Europe co-founder Brian O’Sullivan was interviewed on The Elaine Show, Virgin Media, where he discussed Parental Alienation and its devastating effects. Brian dispelled some myths about Parental Alienation being a new phenomenon and shows that this problem has been around for a very long time. PARENTAL ALIENATION UNITED AS ONE CONFERENCES 2020 ANNOUNCEMENT [embedded content] Brian also made the official announcement of our Parental Alienation United As One Conferences 2020 that we are running in association with The La Dolce Vita Project, a domestic violence charity in Northern Ireland in April 2020. The conferences will take…
Being able to take your adopted child home for the first time is a special moment. The child gains a family and the parents finally get to experience the moment that they have been awaiting for months or even years. This day will be exciting for everyone, but it takes time and adequate preparation to get there. International adoptions require additional prep work when cultural differences are factored in. Not only do families have to abide by the adoptive country’s legal process, but they also have to travel to get their child. The following are tips to help you get…