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Last month New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law a bill officially banning religious exemptions for vaccinations.  The law was passed after states across the U.S. saw the largest measles outbreak since 1992 and since the disease was declared eliminated in 2000. [1] In fact, just this year, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention has reported that 1,148 cases of measles have been confirmed in 30 states.  This is up from 372 cases reported in 2018 and 120 reported in 2017.  New York seems to have been hit the hardest by this recent epidemic, reporting 550 confirmed cases…
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…
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…
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.  …
Divorce and custody proceedings can be an emotional and tense time for all individuals involved. In these situations, it is often the children shared by the parties that suffer the most. While both spouses have attorneys representing their own wishes, the children are in the position of relying on their parents to advocate for their best interests. Because of the strong emotions that can surround a separation, the Illinois legislatures have implemented a number of procedures to ensure that the best interest of any children involved are given the highest consideration. THE CHILDREN FIRST PROGRAM If the divorcing couple shares…
Upon filing for divorce, one party may request support from the other party and in the state of Illinois support payments take two forms. If a party is requesting support for themselves to ensure that they are able to adequately provide for their own livelihood, it is considered maintenance (also know as alimony or spousal support). If a party requests support as a contribution to the expenses of caring for children that were a product of the relationship, the court considers this child support. The first step in determining if support will be granted by the court is to calculate…
Establishing paternity for a child can be a stressful, emotional event. Despite the drama portrayed about the situation by afternoon talk shows, the need to establish a legal connection between a father and a child is a common situation. Whether you are the mother of a child seeking to have a father acknowledge his responsibility, or a father seeking to become a part of the life of a child, Illinois offers legal remedies for both situations. The simplest way that paternity can be established is by acquiring consent from both parties. The mutual consent of both parties at the time…
Maintaining good mental health is just as important as maintaining good physical health. Nearly 20% percent of the population struggles with maintaining their mental health, and, until recently many looked down upon an individual for seeking treatment for mental health issues. [1] In recent years, access to treatment for mental health issues has become a growing concern for both the national and the Illinois government. In 2013, the Illinois State Legislature developed a five-year plan to improve access to mental health treatment for all residents. [2] Recent statistics indicate that the plan has been successful, as Illinois was recently ranked…
If you’ve ever received a letter from the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) you’ve likely wondered to yourself, why is this happening, what do I do now, and what effect is this going to have.  Sherer Law Offices is here to answer your questions and try to provide you with some clarity during a tumultuous time. DCFS investigations usually begin with someone making a call to the abuse and neglect hotline. [1] The person who answers the call will then decide whether the reporter makes sufficient allegations to warrant an investigation.  Further, the hotline operator must determine…
In Illinois, a party is entitled to terminate maintenance when a former spouse “cohabitates on a continuing conjugal basis” with a new partner.[1] However, the phrase “continuing conjugal basis” is a standard that must be interpreted by courts when determining whether a former spouse is entitled to terminate maintenance.  A recent appellate case out of the third district has offered guidance. In re Marriage of Churchill focused on the ex-wife’s new relationship and whether her actions permitted her ex-husband to terminate maintenance.[2] In Churchill, the parties were divorced in September of 2016.  In October of 2017, the ex-husband…
The Illinois Senate has introduced a bill that would lower the compulsory age that children are required to attend school from 6 to 5.[1]  Senate Bill 2075 was introduced last February and, if passed, would require children in the State of Illinois who are 5 years of age or older to be enrolled in school by the 2020-2021 school year.  In addition, it would also require all schools to provide kindergarten classes for 5-year-olds.  The bill passed through the senate by a vote of 39-16 on April 11, 2019 and is currently sitting in the House awaiting further action.…
On May 31, 2019, Illinois took a monumental step toward legalizing recreational marijuana use by passing HB 1438.  The bill passed through the Senate by a vote of 38-17 on May 29th  and then through the house on May 31stby a vote of 66-47 . [1]  It was signed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker on June 25, 2019 and Illinois has officially become the 11thstate in the U.S. to legalize the purchase and possession of small amounts of marijuana. Governor Pritzker has expressed ongoing support for legalization since his campaign. HB 1438, or the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, allows…
All the papers are signed, the arguments are over, and a judgment has been entered, what are the next steps you should ensure your attorney is taking? There are a variety of administrative tasks that need to be accomplished once a judgment is entered in order to make sure your future interests are being protected. One such concern is the removal of a spouse from the title of real property owned during the marriage. This can be achieved by filing a quit claim deed, either during the proceedings or after, which removes the other spouse’s name and legal claim to…
While a child’s birth parents are initially guaranteed certain parental rights and responsibilities, situations may arise where a parent loses or has these rights terminated. Some parents voluntarily terminate their rights. A voluntary termination requires approval of the court and is typically only granted when an adoptive parent is ready and willing to take over parental responsibilities.  This is due to the fact that courts want a child to have the support of two parents whenever possible.  If voluntary termination is granted, that parent is completely absolved of all responsibilities to the child.  However, they also lose their rights for…
Scott’s Law was enacted in 2002 in response to a fatal traffic accident that occurred on December 23, 2000, in which Chicago Fire Lieutenant Scott Gillen was struck and killed after responding to a car crash.  In response to this, Illinois legislatures passed what is known as Scott’s Law, or the “Move Over law.” Originally, this law required all drivers to slow down and move over when approaching a police car or other emergency vehicle on the highway.[1] In 2017, the law was expanded to apply to require drivers to slow down and move over when approaching any vehicle…