The Chicago Family Law Blog

March 2011 Archives

Illinois Senate Committee Votes Down Senate Bill 1993

An anti-gay adoption legislation referred to as Senate Bill 1993 was brought before the Illinois State Senate but recently failed to pass a committee vote, according to Gather. Had it passed, same-sex couples in Chicago and throughout the state would have faced many limitations and have a more difficult time adopting a child.

HuffPost Chicago reported that SB 1993 would have allowed "faith-based" adoption agencies to reject would-be parents based on certain religious criteria, which could have led to the exclusion of agnostics, atheists, and other Illinois residents who practice a different faith and whose denominations do not operate its own adoption centers.

Richard Barton Faces Felony Charges For Polygamy Thanks to Facebook

As some Chicago locals may have heard, authorities in Grand Rapids, Michigan have charged a man with polygamy after his first wife, whom he was still legally married to, realized that he had also married another woman.

AOL News reported that 34-year-old Richard Leon Barton Jr.’s second marriage was uncovered on Facebook after Adina Quarto, his first wife, saw photos of the event on Facebook. “I put two and two together. They were definitely his wedding photos,” said Quarto, a Rhode Island resident. “I was shocked. I didn’t think he would be so stupid as to get married without first getting a divorce.”

Interestingly enough, Barton had allegedly told his second wife that he was divorced.

CASA Hosts Conference In Chicago About Foster Care

From March 19-22, 2011, the National Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Association hosted its 30th annual conference in Chicago called "Building Hope for Youth," according to PR Newswire. Attendees included over 1,500 CASA staff, volunteers, attorneys, and other welfare professionals from the country who came to learn from leaders who work in foster care.

The resources and training offered sought to help participants build the skills needed to advocate for abused and neglected children. The conference also provided "the tools necessary to help ... provide the much-needed positive influence every young person needs to stay on track," said Commissioner Ellen Caron, Ph.D., from the Chicago Department of Family and Support Services.

Lauren Serafin Sues Ex-Fiance For Breach Of Promise

Lauren Serafin was ready to get married and had everything set for the wedding, from purchasing the dress for the event to booking the honeymoon trip to Bora Bora. But when Serafin’s fiancĂ©, Robert Leighton, called off the engagement, she filed a lawsuit in Cook County Circuit Court demanding $62,814.71 in damages to compensate for the expenses she paid for a wedding that never happened.

Serafin, who is an attorney in Chicago, claimed that Leighton (also an attorney) was in “breach of promise” when he decided not to follow through with their wedding, which was set for August 2010, according to the Chicago Tribune. She said she had spent tens of thousands of dollars to prepare for the occasion, which included $5,000 for the wedding dress and $7,000 for the honeymoon.

Miami Heat Star Dwyane Wade Gets Sole Custody of Sons

Cook County Court Judge Renee G. Goldfarb has awarded Miami Heat basketball star Dwyane Wade with sole "care, custody and control" of his two sons. Wade said the ruling has definitely taken "a huge weight" off his back after having spent several months battling his ex-wife, Siohvaughn Wade, for child custody.

"For me, it shows a lot of people that you need to fight to be in your kids' lives sometimes," said Wade, whose sons arrived in Miami from Chicago after Judge Goldfarb's ruling was filed. "You fight until you can't fight anymore. That's all I was trying to be, a father in my kids' lives."

Child Support or Divorce Hell? Help Others with FindLaw Answers

Have you been through the wringer with a divorce? Maybe you had the kind of struggles over child custody or support that turned your everyday life into a re-run of Ally McBeal? Now you have an opportunity to turn your tough experience into something good. With the help of the FindLaw Answers community, you can lend a helping hand when it comes to divorce, child custody or child support questions.

FindLaw Answers is a community that allows anyone with a legal question to ask participants for help. Members of the Answers community do include legal experts, but also include everyday people who want to get involved in the discussion.

Ashlee Simpson And Pete Wentz Don't Agree On Custody Over Son

Many Chicago locals may have heard about the divorce between singer Ashlee Simpson and Fall Out Boy bassist Pete Wentz. The Chicago-Sun Times reported the pair has been facing some issues with the proceedings after Simpson stated in her filing that she sought spousal support and sole physical custody of their 2-year-old son, Bronx.

Simpson also added that she wanted Wentz to only receive visitation rights, but his response in Los Angeles Superior Court revealed that he preferred joint custody. Babble reported that a source said Wentz “told Ashlee not to worry because he would be paying support” and added that it did not seem as though “Pete was the one to make the decisions about support and custody.”

Parents With Overdue Child Support Risk More Penalties

In an effort to enforce stricter regulations on parents who neglect paying for child support, Illinois state senators passed legislation that gives the Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS) the authority to place a lien on the assets of those with overdue child support payments.

Parents who have over $2,500 in overdue child support will not only have a hold on their property but will also lose the right to acquire a passport, according to MyStateLine. The measure will also parallel federal law in allowing the HFS to take control of and attach parents’ workers’ compensation settlements without requiring a court order.

DOJ Upholds DOMA In Karen Golinski's Suit Despite Obama's Decision

President Barack Obama decided last week that the Defense of Marriage Act, a federal law banning recognition of same-sex marriages, was unconstitutional and violated individuals' equal protection rights. But according to the ABA Journal, the revised policy following that decision might actually not be as extensive as many people were hoping it could be.

As some Chicago locals may have heard, the Department of Justice is supposedly going to reverse the previous decision it made on two cases from Boston and New York's Circuit Court of Appeals. However, The Associated Press reported that the DOJ will continue to oppose the claims of lesbian federal employee Karen Golinski, who seeks health insurance for her wife.

Facebook And Social Media Cause 1 in 5 Divorces In U.S.

While most Chicago locals use Facebook to keep in touch with their loved ones, some may be surprised to hear that the popular social networking site has also fueled many breakups and divorces. Managing Director Mark Keenan of Divorce-Online has said that one in every five divorces stemmed from a Facebook-related activity.

According to the San Diego News, a poll done by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers also showed that 80 percent of divorce lawyers said the number of people using social media as a means to engage in extramarital activities has also been rapidly increasing.

Latina Pearce Charged With Abandoning Kids At Merrillville Motel

Latina Tawanda Pearce from Minneapolis, Minnesota, was charged with two counts of neglect after authorities found her 12- and 13-year-old children abandoned at a motel in Merrillville. Pearce, who had apparently listed an address in Kankakee, Illinois, allegedly left the two kids on February 9 after staying in the motel for a few days for a funeral.

The 13-year-old girl told police that she was never told who died since they came into town, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. The teen said she called Pearce's cell phone several times but was unable to get in contact with her mother. She decided to contact her school counselor in Minnesota the next day, who then immediately called Merrillville authorities.