The Chicago Family Law Blog

February 2011 Archives

Ann Pettway Indicted For Kidnapping Carlina White

Many Chicago residents may have heard about the recent indictment of Bridgeport resident Ann Pettway, who was accused of kidnapping a New York couple’s daughter and raising her as her own. The Hartford Courant reported a federal grand jury in New York’s U.S. District Court indicted Pettway after she admitted to FBI agents she abducted Carlina White as an infant.

White was only 19 days old when she was kidnapped from the Harlem Hospital in New York in 1987. Pettway had quietly snatched White after her birth parents brought her to the hospital to get treatment for a high fever. White eventually suspected that Pettway was not her real mother when she realized that she hardly resembled anyone in Pettway’s family.

DuPage Search For Parents Who Owe Unpaid Child Support Begins

Law enforcement officials in DuPage County have been called to look for 42 parents who were collectively accused of owing over $2 million in unpaid child support payments, reported the Chicago Tribune. The search, which began on Valentine's Day, and has been referred to as "Operation Love."

The parents allegedly owe a total of $2,018,541 all together, and DuPage County State Attorney Robert Berlin said judges have already issued warrants for each parent's arrest. Most of the parents wanted for arrest are from DuPage County, but some also live around the area, including Chicago.

Civil Unions Available To Both Straight And Same-Sex Couples

Some Chicago locals may not realize that the Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act, signed into law in January, did not only allow civil unions for same-sex couples. Under the new law, straight couples are also provided with the same opportunity and most of the same benefits already offered to opposite-sex couples who are married, according to Medill Reports.

State Rep. Greg Harris from Chicago, who co-sponsored the bill, noted that there are several federal tax consequences straight couples may want to consider when entering a civil union, such as avoiding the federal "marriage tax" penalty. Other benefits provided to couples in civil unions include:

Poll Shows More Couples Living Together End Up In A Court Battle

According to PR Newswire, a recent poll of members in the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyer (AMML) revealed that nearly half of divorce attorneys - 48 percent overall - have noticed a sharp rise in the number of court disputes involving couples who used to live together.

“As more couples decide to live together they need to become better aware of the real legal consequences of this decision,” said AAML president Linda Lea Viken. “Not having a ring on your finder doesn’t prevent your partner from making legal claims against your property and your earnings.”

Juan Miguel Gomez Reunited With His Mother After 10 Years

In 2000, 13-year-old Juan Miguel Gomez was taken from his home in Cicero by his father and brought to Mexico at the age of 2 ½, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. Gomez's mother attempted to find her son prior to contacting the police in 2002, and since then authorities have worked hard to try and bring the boy back to Illinois.

Cicero police worked alongside several other law enforcement agencies, including the U.S. State Department and the FBI, to find Gomez. But this month, authorities were able to locate the young boy and reunite him with his mother, Gilma Torres, after over ten years of being separated.

Are Chicago Working Moms to Blame for Childhood Obesity?

A new weapon that is sure to be used in the mommy wars was dropped by researchers from American University in Washington D.C., Cornell University in New York state and the University of Chicago this week. According to a new study announced February 4, the more a mother works during her children's lifetimes, the more likely her kids are to be overweight or obese.

The researchers in Chicago and elsewhere studied data taken from over 900 elementary and middle-school-aged children in 10 US cities, reports the AFP. The data showed that the number of years a child's mother worked had a cumulative influence on the body mass index (BMI) of the child. The BMI is calculated by the weight to height ratio and used to measure if a person is overweight or obese.

Halle Berry and Gabriel Aubry Badmouth Each Other over Custody

There is nothing like the spectacle of a nasty split between two beautiful people playing out in public. It gets rivers of ink (or plenty of pixels) from the media and way too much time and attention from the rest of us. Case in point, news about the unpleasant turn the split between Halle Berry and ex-boyfriend, model Gabriel Aubry, has taken. And yet, watching another couple implode can always provide a valuable lesson to bystanders. This time, it is the importance of keeping your angry thoughts about your ex to yourself.

Aubry, the father of the couple's daughter Nahla, is now willing to tarnish the reputation of his daughter's mother, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. Aubry says he has emails and recordings showing Halle has a temper and that he has concerns about Berry's parenting abilities. Firing back, Berry's reps have been quoted as saying, "Halle has serious concerns for her daughter's well-being while in the care of her father for any extended period of time, and is prepared to take all necessary steps to protect her."

Governor Quinn Signs Legislation Allowing Civil Unions in Illinois

Chicago locals may have witnessed the bill-signing ceremony where Governor Pat Quinn recently enacted a legislation that allows civil unions for same-sex couples. The Chicago Sun-Times reports the ceremony, which was held at the Chicago Cultural Center on Washington Street, might also be remembered as one of the most momentous occasions in Illinois' history.

"We knew there was going to be a lot of interest in participating in what is a pretty historic moment," said Brie Callahan, Quinn's spokesperson. "There's only a limited number of states that allow civil unions, and a smaller amount that allow gay marriage." Callahan added that nearly 200 people sent an RSVP for the event during the first 12 hours after the initial notice that Gov. Pat Quinn would be signing the bill.