Family & Divorce

An interesting article from Florida’s Dr. Michael Bone: ______________________________________ It is important to understand and recall that Parental Alienation is a form of child abuse.  Since it is the parent child- relationship that orients a child’s understanding of their own sense of self and their lovability, teaching a child that one of their parents does not love them, also teaches them that they are in some basic way, unlovable, or not worthy of love. While alienated children typically describe hatred or fear of the alienated parent, gently probing into the nuances of these negative feelings, virtually always reveals that these children…
The Illinois Adoption Act allows for the termination of parental rights in conjunction with an adoption. In order to do this, there must first be a showing that a biological parent is “unfit,” as defined in the adoption act. While the Adoption Act provides several grounds of unfitness, one of the most prevalent is the parent’s failure to maintain a reasonable degree of interest, concern or responsibility as to the child’s welfare. If you’re wondering whether your child’s parent may be considered unfit due to his or her failure to maintain a reasonable degree of interest, consider the following questions:…
On April 8, 2019, Governor Pritzker signed legislation officially raising the legal age to purchase tobacco in Illinois from 18 to 21.  House Bill 345, otherwise known as the “Tobacco 21” bill, states that no person under the age of 21 may purchase tobacco products, electronic cigarettes, or any other alternative nicotine product, and imposes various penalties on businesses that do not follow the new law.[1]  While the bill raises the age to purchase tobacco products and imposes penalties on businesses who sell these products to people under 21, it also eliminates the penalty for underage possession of…
Many people who get divorced often find love and happiness again in second marriages. A step-family, sometimes called a “blended” or “bonus” family, is a family in which at least one parent has children from a previous marriage or relationship. Blended families can be wonderful, especially when step-parents wish to adopt the children of their spouse as a way of making their family more “complete.” This is referred to as a related adoption, since one of the adoptive parents is related to the child who is being adopted. In fact, this is the most common form of adoption in North…
IRMO Salvatore Muddies Child Support Modification Waters Up until Salvatore, a formerly unemployed spouse obtaining a full-time job was almost a guaranteed “substantial change in circumstances” that would warrant a modification of child support in court.  The Salvatore decision complicates this analysis by placing a greater focus on what was initially contemplated at the time the prior child support order was entered. Pertinent Facts: Three kids were born to the parties. The original Marital Settlement Agreement (“MSA”) provided Husband would pay 32% of his net income for child support under old child support statute (amended July 1, 2017).  Wife was…
This is number 20 in my series of things to do with your kids during or after a divorce or separation. I always truly believe in putting the kids first during a divorce. Whether it’s recommending a therapist or just suggesting something to do with the kids for the afternoon, a family law lawyer should have be giving his or her clients ALL the information he has available. The winters in Chicago are brutal. More than brutal they are just long. It is incredibly difficult to adequately entertain a child indoors from November through April. It is also unadvisable to…
Crime Free Housing, a relatively recent phenomena, has begun to spread through Illinois as well as many other states.  However, what does that mean for local residents?  Why has it proven so divisive?  Sherer Law Offices is here to walk you through why some people are praising the Crime Free Housing initiative while others condemn it. The Crime Free Housing program is essentially a partnership between the city, landlords, and their tenants.  The program is designed to reduce crime rates around residential rental properties and allow landlords to evict tenants found connected to those crimes.  Property owners do this by…
Many parents relocate their families over the summer – often from the city to the suburbs – as to not disrupt their children’s school year. But divorced parents may not realize their parenting agreement has specific provisions about where and when they move. Legal and physical custody provisions Divorce agreements in Illinois often address both legal and physical custody. Legal custody deals with the rights parents have to make major life decisions such as schooling or religious upbringing. Physical custody determines where the children should live full-time and sets parenting time for the non-custodial parent. Regardless of the specifics of…
The exchange of engagement and wedding rings is a symbolic and important part of many relationships, but what happens to them if a marriage or engagement ends? [1] ENGAGEMENT RINGS Illinois courts identify engagement rings as gifts made in the contemplation of marriage.  Courts recognize that, since an engagement ring is a gift given in the contemplation of marriage, once the promise to marry is broken, the person who breaks the promise is not entitled to retain the ring. [2].  Illinois law does not look at fault in determining if a ring should be returned in this situation.  For this…
Whenever money is being transferred there is a possibility of taxes.  Perhaps there is no bigger transfer than the transfer of assets and income during divorce.  Therefore, taxes and divorce must be considered together when negotiating and finalizing a dissolution of marriage. Tax Implications of Transferring Property In Divorce Any transfer of property pursuant to a settlement of a divorce is not considered either a gift or income for tax purposes.  26 U.S.C. Sec. 1041(a)(2).  That transfer has to happen within three years of the divorce however to remain untaxable. 26 U.S.C. Sec. 2516. This means it is usually in…
Divorce and family law matters can certainly be an emotional time. In many of these cases, parties are worried about custody and support of their children. Custody cases in particular can cause a wide-range of emotions. While parties should never put their children in the middle, parties can sometimes get caught up in a contentious custody battle. This can cause some parties to become emotional and lose sight of what is really important. Divorce cases involving spousal maintenance (formerly known as “alimony”) can also be contentious. There are certain scenarios where one party feels as if they will not be…
There are three types of people who come to an initial consultation for divorce in our office.  The first type is someone who has already, firmly, made the emotional commitment to divorce.  They are ready to sign, ready to get that divorce on file.  The second type is there much more reluctantly.  They have been served with a summons, or their spouse has told them that they have seen an attorney.  They know the divorce is inevitable, but they are leagues behind the other spouse in being emotionally prepared for what is ahead. The third type of potential divorce client…
Illinois follows an “equitable distribution” rule when it comes to divorce. This means that if the divorcing spouses cannot reach a voluntary agreement, the judge will divide any marital property in a manner that is considered fair and just under the circumstances, which does not necessarily mean a 50/50 split. Divided Appeals Court Holds Purchase of Pre-Marital Pension Credits Qualify as Marital Property However, the court still needs to decide what qualifies as “marital property.” Normally this refers to any asset acquired during the marriage itself (with some exceptions). Conversely, assets held by either spouse prior to marriage is…
I am often called on by my fellow lawyers who practice immigration law to enter an order in the family law or domestic relations courts of Cook County.  A family law lawyer can often be the only one to establish the “findings of fact” necessary to grant immigrants certain statuses which allow them remain in the United States legally.  One of those statuses a family law lawyer can help with is Special Immigrant Juvenile Status or more commonly referred to as “SIJS”. Special Immigrant Juvenile Status (SIJS) is a form of relief for some noncitizen minors – specifically those…
Non-payment of court ordered child support can significantly affect the well-being of a child. Across the nation, only 58% of one-parent households have a court ordered support agreement, and of that percentage, only one-half receive the full support they are owed. [1] In Illinois, non-payment of child support is a serious offense and a series of laws exist to collect delinquent payments and ensure future payments. In the past 25 years, Illinois has substantially reformed child support laws. Illinois repealed the statute of limitations on the collection of past-due child support. Additionally, past due payments are now subject to statutory…
Couples that seek to dissolve their marriages without the challenges of litigation often turn to alternative dispute resolution. Non-litigation settlement strategies are particularly effective for couples committed to maintaining respectful relationships with their spouses after the divorce, and may also minimize negative consequences facing the children. The following issues, among others, are typically amenable to such settlement strategies: Property divisions Spousal support Interim living arrangements Child support Custody and visitation Divorce Mediation and Collaborative Divorce, Generally Two kinds of alternative dispute resolution models, often used by divorcing couples, include collaborative divorce and divorce mediation. In divorce mediation, the parties hire…