The Chicago Family Law Blog

December 2010 Archives

Although nothing has been finalized, celebrity watchers expect Camille Grammer to land a hefty $50 million divorce settlement from television star Kelsey Grammer, according to the Los Angeles Times. The couple did not sign a prenuptial agreement, which means property will likely be divided 50/50, and they amassed roughly $100 million during their 13 years of marriage, gossip website TMZ reported.

Half of that is a cool $50 million.

The simple math is not lost on Camille Grammer, who rejected the former "Frasier" star's $30 million settlement offer, CTV reported.

The Chicago Tribune profiled the nonprofit Parenthesis Family Center, which provides single mothers and vulnerable families with vital services at little or no cost. The Oak Park-based family center was founded by two graduate students at the Erikson Institute for Child Development in Chicago 30 years ago.

Teenage mother TaTyana Bonds, 17, described how she was stereotyped right after giving birth to her son. She learned about Parenthesis while she was pregnant and joined their program four months into her pregnancy, which gave her a home away from home:

"I enjoy being with everyone at Parenthesis. I'm with people I have something in common with."

A stay-at-home mom in Michigan with two young daughters whose husband abruptly left her received a generous gift from nearly 250 of her former classmates who banded together on Facebook, the Chicago Tribune reported. Incidentally, her estranged husband's departure was linked to an affair that was sparked on Facebook.

It began in October, when Amy Pugh used the popular social networking site to organize her 20th high school reunion. She said her husband left the family just 10 days later, leaving her and her children deeply in debt.

The 38-year-old stay-at-home mother was stuck with three months of unpaid bills and zero cash; she isn't sure where he is but thinks he might be in Kansas.

Dominique Buttitta filed a $95,942 lawsuit against former fiancé Vito Salerno after he called the whole thing off just four days before their wedding day, according to an article at the Macedonia International News Agency's web site. The jilted would-be bride, who is an attorney, is claiming damages for wedding costs, legal fees and the alleged "breach of promise" to marry her.

Very few states have such laws; but according to civil attorney John Zielinski, who was interviewed for the article, it's a much easier claim to argue than a personal injury suit for infliction of emotional distress.

Tanya Shannon of LaSalle County had filed for divorce from now-deceased husband Dale Shannon prior to her December 5 disappearance, according to court records cited by ABC's Chicago affiliate WLS.

The 40-year-old mother disappeared after she and husband were driving back from a holiday party. Their car crashed, killing Dale Shannon, but Tanya Shannon has been missing ever since. Dale Shannon's blood-alcohol concentration was more than three times the legal limit, according to a toxicology report.

Family law attorney and divorce mediator Laurie Puhn offered 10 suggestions to help spouses stay happily married in her recent Huffing ton Post column. She also is the author of the book, "Fight Less, Love More."

Her advice mostly pertains to the encouragement of open communication, trust and other ingredients that are so crucial to a tight and loving relationship. Laurie Puhn said she offers these 10 tips to her clients, as well as a copy of her book.

An article about the state's recently passed (as soon as Gov. Pat Quinn signs it) civil unions bill in the Illinois Times looks at the trajectory of the legislation. It's not quite marriage; so what is next on the marriage equality agenda?

Republicans argued that passage of the bill, which grants most of the rights and privileges of marriage to domestic partners (including same-sex couples), opens the door to full gay marriage. Equality Illinois' Rick Garcia, who helped push the legislation through, thinks that's an accurate analysis:

"We've been very upfront from day one that we view the civil union bill as a stopgap measure."

Naperville couple Mike Isaac and Adam Stachowiak have been together for nearly a decade, co-own a pet shop and share a house together, according to a profile in the Naperville Sun. And with the passage of Illinois' civil unions bill which allows civil unions in Illinois, they look forward to the rights and privileges of committed heterosexual couples.

Besides the fact that they're both men, they're typical of couples in long-term relationships. Mike Isaac said his other half can be "kind of a slob," while Adam Stachowiak said his partner tends to worry too much about finances.

It may present a whole new set of challenges for Major League Baseball's Los Angeles Dodgers, but according to Reuters a judge ruled that newly divorced couple Frank McCourt and Jamie McCourt jointly own the team. Not surprisingly, lawyers for Frank McCourt disputed the ruling and insist his ex-wife has no rightful claim to the team.

That means the long and nasty divorce battle between the two McCourts will go on, according to Marc Seltzer, Frank McCourt's attorney:

In what observers are calling a major victory for committed same-sex couples, the recently passed civil unions bill clears the path for gay couples who seek the rights and privileges previously available to just heterosexuals who got married.

But an article in the Chicago Tribune explains how the institution of civil union may be a good fit for some heterosexual couples as well. In fact, bill sponsor Rep. Greg Harris, D-Chicago, expressly stated his intention to draft an inclusive bill that wasn't just for gay couples.

An unidentified Chicago man called Chicago Now Real Law Blog writer Michael Helfand with an unusual question regarding his wife's "secret" insemination of herself with his sperm. Specifically, he wanted to know whether or not he would have to pay child support.

He didn't say whether he and his wife were in the process of a divorce at the time or whether he is now planning to divorce her for the alleged sperm theft. But only divorced or unmarried parents pay child support to the custodial parent.

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn is expected to sign landmark state legislation passed yesterday extending the rights of marriage to same-sex couples without actually calling it "marriage," the Chicago Tribune reported. The Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Unions Act passed the House 61 to 52 and cleared the Senate by a vote of 32 to 24.

Some of the rights that would be extended to committed same-sex couples that enter into civil unions include the legal rights of probate matters and the ability to visit one's partner in the hospital (when only family members are allowed).

A Cook County prosecutor said Irma Rodriquez had planned to leave her husband soon after their son's eight-grade graduation ceremony on June 2, 2009. She withdrew $4,000 from the family account in preparation for her departure but disappeared two days before the ceremony, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Her body was found the next day in the trunk of her car with several bullet wounds. June 2, 2009 also was when the estranged couple was to appear for another court appearance.