The Chicago Family Law Blog

August 2011 Archives

Elmhurst College Asks Sexual Orientation of Applicants

"Are you gay?" Elmhurst College asks the sexual orientation of freshman and transfer students hoping to attend the school beginning fall 2012. The school becomes the first to ask the sexual orientation of potential students.

Elmhurst College in Illinois, a liberal arts university, says that answering the sexual orientation question will be completely voluntary, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. Students have the option of checking "yes," "no," or "prefer not." Those who answer "yes" may be eligible for a special scholarship.

Cook Count Survey: Teen Sexual Activity

In a wide-ranging Cook County survey of suburban teens, patterns of teen sexual activity and teenage behavior problems were revealed that might trouble many families.

First, 37 percent of teens say they've tried sex, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. While this number may not seem that high, 6 percent said they had sex before the age of 13. Even more troubling, 7 percent said they've been raped.

And when teens are having sex, they're not being that careful -- only 62 percent of the group that reported having sex said they used a condom the last time they had sex.

Ten years ago R&B singer Aaliyah Haughton (better known as just "Aaliyah") died in a plane crash in the Bahamas. The singer died at the young age of 22, but she had already lived a pretty full life.

It may seem strange to start a post about Illinois marriage laws and the marriage age of consent with a discussion about Aaliyah's death. However, the One in a Million singer was also well known for her rumored marriage to mentor R. Kelly -- when she was only 15 and R. Kelly an adult -- reports The Washington Post.

Post Adoption Services in Illinois

Adopting a child is a noble act. Vulnerable children living in state wards may be desperate for love and a home to call their own. And when someone adopts a child, the rewards are often immediate and a family bond develops.

However, in some cases there may be growing pains, especially, when a family adopts older children, children who have bounced around foster facilities, or children with mental health issues. In these cases, post adoption services are critical. In the absence of such services, families may be torn apart and children lost.

Illinois Human Rights Act and Sexual Orientation Discrimination

After winning a long hard-fought battle to join together in a civil union, gay and lesbian couples are still running into sexual orientation discrimination and violations of the Human Rights Act.

On June 1st, same-sex couples could lawfully enter a civil union in Illinois. Hundreds of gay and lesbian couples across the state tied the knot at city hall, churches, and backyard ceremonies. However, one couple from Mattoon found that despite gaining the right to join together, they could not find a venue to host their celebration. Or at least they had trouble finding a venue that would accept them.

Yashesh Desai Kills Dad, More Parental Abuse by Children

Every week there seems to be a case of horrific parental abuse by children in the Chicago-area. It's only Monday, and already there's been a report out of Woodbridge that a 21-year old man killed his dad with a weed wacker as the elder man slept on a futon inside the family home.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Yashesh Desai was arrested over the weekend after beating his father to death with a weed trimmer. No motive was given as to why the son killed his father, 47-year old Sanjiv Desai.

Mother Abandons Child Fights to Keep Parental Rights

Serving a three-year jail term for dumping her newborn behind a garage, the mother abandons child now turns to a fight to prevent giving up her parental rights upon release from jail.

In 2009, Nunu Sung gave birth to a baby boy outside of a garage in Wheaton, reports the Daily Herald. The mother had kept the pregnancy secret and kept the birth secret as well, abandoning the child behind the garage. A man walking his dog came upon the baby covered in dirt and with his umbilical cord still attached.

Grandparent Visitation Rights in Illinois

When parents divorce, most people know that one parent usually gets primary custody of the child while the non-custodial parent gets visitation rights. As Illinois visitation rights are commonly associated with parents, grandparent visitation rights are often ignored and many may not even be aware of these rights.

The Illinois Legal Aid shed light on this issue when they published their senior citizens handbook discussing grandparent visitation rights.

Chicago Family Torn Apart Reunites at O'Hare

A family torn apart by deportation will reunite at O’Hare International Airport.

According to the Chicago Tribune, four years ago, Tony Wasilewski had his wife and child taken from him when an immigration judge decided that they were in the country illegally. The wife, Janina Wasilewski, returned to her native Poland taking the couple’s child with her.

Benefits of Gay Marriage: Lesbian Widow Battles In-Laws

The benefits of gay marriage were brought up in a complicated series of lawsuits over a deceased law partner’s profit sharing benefits.

Sarah Farley was a partner at the law firm Cozen O’Connor’s Chicago office when she died, reports the Philadelphia Daily News. Farley left behind $40,820 in the firm’s profit-sharing plan at death and her lesbian wife, Jennifer Tobits, and her parents are now battling it out over who will receive the benefits.

Internet Safety Tips for Kids in Illinois

The Internet can offer a host of good things for kids, and a host of bad things for kids. The challenge facing parents is to funnel the good things over the world wide web to their kids, while ensuring that their children are not exposed to the predators and other salacious elements of the Internet.

Given the power of the Internet, protecting your children from the harmful elements may seem like a losing battle. And statistics may support this:

  • 71% of teens 13-17 received messages online from someone they didn’t know
  • 30% of teens 13-17 considered meeting someone they’ve only talked to online
  • 14% have actually had an encounter with someone they met online
  • 25% of youths 10-17 have been exposed to sexually explicit pictures online without seeking or expecting them
  • 20% of youths have received unwanted sexual solicitations online

FMLA Eligibility for Chicago Working Families

Chicago working families may be aware that there is a federal law out there called the FMLA that gives them the right to time off work when they or their family members are sick. However, there’s a lot of confusion over FMLA eligibility.

Generally, the federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) gives eligible employees the right to take 12 weeks off work if they or their family members have a health issue. But only eligible employees are entitled to the leave. If you’re not eligible, you don’t get the federal leave. So what does it mean to be FMLA eligible?