November 2010 News: The Chicago Family Law Blog

The Chicago Family Law Blog

November 2010 Archives

The family unit typically doubles as a support group; but when families are torn apart after a divorce, newly single parents often feel isolated. That can be especially true for non-custodial parents who suddenly feel alone.

That's why Mike Doherty, chairman and co-founder of the Children's Rights Council of Illinois, decided to host a Shared Parenting workshop in Hinsdale in October, as reported by the Hinsdale-Clarendon Hills Patch.

More than a dozen divorced parents attended the workshop, where they vented frustrations about their ex-spouses and discussed strategies for changing Illinois family laws with respect to the rights of non-custodial parents.

Elizabeth Marquardt, author of the book “Between Two Worlds: The Inner Lives of Children of Divorce,” suggested in a recent Huffington Post column that the children of divorce are often stigmatized by potential mates when they begin dating.

It used to be that children of divorce were always stigmatized, told they were from “broken homes,” but she argues the increasing divorce rate has made them quite ordinary. Research does show that the children of divorce often suffer several social problems.

Los Angeles Lakers star Lamar Odom, who last year signed a four-year $33 million contract, sued the mother of his two kids, according to Fox Sports. His two children, 12-year-old daughter Destiny and 9-year-old son L.J., live with mother Liza Morales in Manhattan.

Neither the Fox article nor others covering the story provided much detail about Lamar Odom’s legal filings. All we know is that the basketball pro has asked a judge for a “parental access schedule” and to set “reasonable child support.”

Steve Nash, the point guard for the Phoenix Suns and two-time NBA most valuable player, announced he and wife Alejandra Nash's plans to call it quits, the Associated Press reported. He announced the news one day after the birth of their third son, Matteo, which makes for some rather awkward timing.

But Steve Nash said in a press statement that he and Alejandra Nash had been living apart for several months prior to the announcement, so at least it's not news to her.

Often considered the next-best thing for committed same-sex couples who are excluded from marriage, civil unions may become a reality in Illinois, according to the Chicago Tribune. State Rep. Greg Harris has slowly built up support for the bill over the past three years and Gov. Pat Quinn promised to sign it.

So what is a civil union? It’s not quite marriage but the institution does extend many of the rights and privileges heterosexual spouses often take for granted, including the ability to make funeral arrangements for one’s partner.

The Illinois Dept. of Children and Family Services is tasked with representing the best interests of the state’s most vulnerable residents— children. But Chicago Sun-Times columnist Mary Mitchell wonders if sometimes they do more harm than good for Illinois’ children.

To illustrate her point, she recounts the story of 41-year-old single mother Wonda Guider. A judge in Cook County’s Domestic Relations Division ordered her 6-year-old daughter to be temporarily placed with her biological father because Wonda Guider refused to move her to Queen of Martyrs Catholic School in the Far South Side.

Eleven-year-old Joey Dombroski, whose family disintegrated after his mother severely bludgeoned his father in the face with a sledgehammer seven years ago, is waiting to find out where he'll call home, the Chicago Daily Herald reported. 

He had been living with his paternal grandmother and his father, Joe Dombroski, who survived the brutal attack but unexpectedly died last month. But instead of spending Thanksgiving with his grandmother, Agnes Dombroski, a McHenry County Judge delayed his custody hearing until early December.

This blog has covered the issue of pet custody in divorce proceedings before; but it's worth revisiting, since so many U.S. households consider dogs, cats and other beloved creatures as family members. The latest installment of attorney Michael Helfand's legal column in Chicago Now explores the issue of pet custody

This blog's prior entry about pet custody pointed out that pets are treated like any other piece of "property" in a divorce, with no special legal significance. And legally, pets are awarded to one person or another (you can't "split the dog," in other words).

Matt Fiddes, martial arts expert and former bodyguard of Michael Jackson, told reporters he's the biological father of the pop star's son, Prince Michael II, according to the Herald Sun. Prince Michael II, also known as "Blanket," was raised by Michael Jackson as his son; but Matt Fiddes' claim casts doubt on the King of Pop's paternity.

He said he donated sperm for Michael Jackson because the deceased singer feared being assassinated on stage, which doesn't exactly clear things up. Matt Fiddes said the singer asked him to look after his children if anything were to happen to him. But how does his sperm help in this regard?

Kelsey Grammer, the actor most famous for his title role in the "Cheers" spinoff "Frasier," is the target of ex-wife Camille Grammer's anger following their nasty divorce, according to The New Jersey Star-Ledger. She told reporters Kelsey Grammer "abandoned" her and tried to conceal his girlfriend's pregnancy.

Camille Grammer claims she didn't know about about her husband's infidelity until a mutual friend call her while he was in New York for a stage production of "La Cage Aux Folles."

A recent poll conducted by Marist College in upstate New York found that two-thirds of Americans buy into the notion of a soul mate, that there is one special person they are meant to be with, according to College Times. That's nice; but another study by the University of Virginia concluded that those who believe in soul mates are actually 150 percent more likely to get divorced than those who don't.

Why is that? Chicago Sun-Times sex and relationships columnist Dr. Laura Berman wrote in a September article that the concept of soul mates creates an "us-against-them" ideal that just doesn't mesh with reality.