The Chicago Family Law Blog

October 2010 Archives

Nancy Rojo filed for divorce from husband Alexander Rojo six days after her husband allegedly violently attacked her and threatened to kill her at gunpoint, the Chicago Tribune reported. A month later, both Alexander and Nancy Rojo were dead.

The couple, who struggled after their teenage son fatally shot himself in 2005, died in a murder-suicide earlier this month. It's just another in a long line of troubled marriages ending in tragedy before the divorce is finalized.

The contentious child custody dispute between Catholic father Joseph Reyes and Jewish mother Rebecca Shapiro made national headlines when the father defied a court order by taking his daughter to Catholic mass, as summarized in The Huffington Post. A judge later ruled that he may expose his daughter to Catholicism, overruling a prior order that restricted their daughter to a Jewish-only religious upbringing.

Now their story is back in the news for possibly the last time. A Cook County judge found Joseph Reyes not guilty of violating a court order when he took his daughter to Holy Name Cathedral for a service, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. 

A sweep by the Cook County Sheriff's Child Support Enforcement Unit netted the arrests of 48 parents who owe more than $475,000 total in back child support payments, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. The arrests began on Oct. 12 with officers going door-to-door looking for the alleged deadbeat parents, according to a Cook County Sheriff press release.

The press release provided details for the two suspects who are believed to owe the most money. Reginald Halford owes $41,448.55 in unpaid support and Charlene Love is delinquent on $38,921.00, according to the Sheriff's office. While 18 of those arrested reportedly owe more than $10,000, only two were women.

A new report found that one-quarter of respondents who got divorced when they were 50 or older blame a lack of sex, while 28 percent said their partner was "emotionally cold" or distant, according to a press release by the UK research company Saga.

The main reason men sought divorce was because their partner no longer wanted to get busy in the bedroom; while women said their husbands were emotionally cold.

But the report, based on a survey of 1,900 British divorcees over the age of 50, also might have implications for Chicago couples.

Miami Heat superstar and Chicago native Dwyane Wade may finally be divorced from ex-wife Siohvaughn Wade but now he's pleading his case to be the sole guardian of the couple's two sons in a Cook County courthouse, the Chicago Tribune reported. Reporters said he spent much of the day last Friday denying allegations by his former wife.

Dwyane Wade, whose new teammate LeBron James has made the Miami Heat the team to beat this season, is seeking sole custody of his 8- and 3-year-old sons. He testified that he is not trying to "punish" Siohvaughn Wade for accusing him of domestic violence.

He also denied his ex-wife's allegation that he has a sexually transmitted disease.

The Salt Lake Tribune reported that former Utah Jazz basketball star Carlos Boozer, who signed with the Chicago Bulls this year in a $75 million deal, has filed for divorce from his wife of eight years. But he'll be sidelined with an injury for eight weeks after tripping over a gym bag, the Chicago Tribune reported. 

Carlos Boozer and wife Cindy Boozer, known as "CeCe," have three children; but the article didn't mention anything about custody.

A Chicago Bulls spokeswoman declined to make a comment on their injured star's pending divorce, probably because they're more concerned about how their team will do this season without their star forward. Since he earns about $15 million each season over the next five years, the Bulls will be paying him nearly $5 million just to sit on the bench. 

Grammy Award-winning musician Ben Harper filed for divorce from wife Laura Dern, whose film credits include "Recount," "Jurassic Park" and a few David Lynch movies, the Los Angeles Times' gossip blog reported. Ben Harper, who filed the petition, is asking for joint legal and physical custody of the couple's children.

While the singer claims they were separated back in January, TMZ cited unnamed sources as saying Laura Dern and Ben Harper have been living and traveling together and even were intimate together earlier this month.

The two most vocal opinions of same-sex marriage are those who support marriage equality and those oppose it on moral or religious grounds. But Chicago author Yasmin Nair takes the unpopular position that the fight for gay marriage has actually hurt the broader struggle for homosexual rights, as revealed in a Time Out Chicago interview. 

Her latest book, "Against Equality: Queer Critiques of Gay Marriage," proves that she's hardly alone in her perspective. The book collects essays by leading gay activists who believe gay marriage shouldn't be the focus of the gay rights struggle.

Yasmin Nair's organization, Against Equality, argues that demands among the gay community to be included in marriage and other traditionally heterosexual institutions is counterproductive to their interests.

The New York Post reported that former New York Mets baseball player Roberto Alomar has been sued by 33-year-old wife Maria Del Pilar "Maripily" Rivera Alomar. She claims her estranged husband "intentionally, with corrupt intent, concealed from [her] his physical condition" in order to have unprotected sex with her.

This is the second woman to file such charges against the 42-year-old baseball star, who is reportedly HIV-positive. That case, filed by former girlfriend Ilya Dall, settled last spring. In fact, Maria Alomar staunchly defended her then-boyfriend against the prior charges, calling her claim "a vile lie."

The number of unmarried, heterosexual couples living together has shot up by 13 percent in the past year and a half, according to a recent Forbes blog that cited figures from a US Census Bureau report. Author Rose M. Kreider, of the Census Bureau's Housing and Household Economic Statistics Division, said it signals "a real change in household composition."

And the main culprit for the shift in cohabitation seems to be the severe recession and its impact on employment. The portion of cohabitating couples in which one partner was employed but not the other nearly doubled from 8 percent in 2008 to 15 percent in 2010.

Lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives condemned Japan for "the abduction and retention" of children caught in the middle of international custody disputes, who they say are often held "in violation of their human rights and United States and international law," the Associated Press reported.

The members of the House passed a nonbinding resolution by a vote of 416-1 urging the immediate reform of Japan's controversial international custody laws. The resolution also demands that Japan allow American parents to visit their children and for the government to join a 1980 international convention on child abduction.

Chicago Ald. Sandi Jackson publicly lambasted her adulterous husband, U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., at her 47th birthday party in Hyde Park while he was in attendance, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. In a later interview, she said she wanted everyone to know she was not taking his affair with a blond night club hostess lightly:

"I told them: 'I put my foot knee-deep in his ass and he has been having a very difficult time sleeping peacefully since then.'"

But Sandi Jackson most likely will not be calling up a divorce attorney in Chicago, since Jesse Jackson Jr. broke the news of the affair two years ago and said it was over. She told the Sun-Times reporter that he knew she would have left him if she had learned of the affair any other way.

We've all seen the headlines telling us that the recession officially ended in the middle of last year. But that observation is based on an arguably outdated reading of the data, while unemployment remains high and the distribution of wealth has become even more lopsided.

Another casualty of the current economic hard times is marriage. Marriage had been in decline for a while; but the ratio of Americans getting hitched fell to a record low 52 percent in 2009, according to the Associated Press. That figure was 57 percent in 2000.

In fact, 2009 was the first year the number of unmarried young adults exceeded the number of those were married. Rising divorce rates, an increase in unmarried couples living together and better job prospects for women had lowered the marriage rate for years, even before the recession.