The Chicago Family Law Blog

September 2011 Archives

Senator Suzi Schmidt Domestic Dispute Made Public

The State Senator Suzi Schmidt domestic dispute 911 tapes were released revealing a stormy and rocky relationship between the public official and her husband, Bob Schmidt. In less than a year, either Suzi or Bob Schmidt had called 911 on three separate occasions to complain about domestic abuse.

The 911 tapes that were released this week concerned an argument last Christmas where Suzi Schmidt apparently made a preemptive 911 call telling the dispatcher to disregard any calls the dispatcher may receive from her husband, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. Surely enough, that call was interrupted when Bob Schmidt called 911 to complain about his wife. The state senator allegedly locked him out of their Lake County home following an argument.

Chicago Kidnapping of Girlfriend -- Anime Gone Wrong?

There's this stereotype that grown men who are overly into anime (Japanese cartoons) and attend anime conventions have a hard time relating to grown women. Perhaps this stereotype is deserved -- at least in the bizarre Chicago kidnapping case of Sir Wilfred Camaligan, who allegedly kidnapped and tortured his girlfriend.

Camaligan, 22, met his 20-year-old girlfriend at an anime convention in June. The two communicated via Facebook before dating shortly thereafter, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. In July, the two moved together into a Northwest Side apartment when Camaligan started to become abusive.

Chicago Mom Kills Baby -- Warning Signs Before Deadly Shaking?

Chicago mom kills baby and now faces murder charges? But could the death of the three-month-old girl been prevented?

Last week, Starkenya Banks, a South Side mother, allegedly shook her baby daughter and then dropped her head first onto the floor when the baby would not go to sleep, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. Later that day, the baby was found unresponsive and died.

Annulment of Marriage in Illinois

We had earlier written about divorce in Illinois. And so now you know that it's not that easy. At the minimum you have to live apart for six months if you don't have a specific grounds to seek divorce, and in this case, both partners would need to agree. Otherwise, you have to wait two years.

However, some couples can seek to invalidate the marriage, thereby making the marriage invalid from the very start (negating the need for a divorce). Annulment of marriage in Illinois can be complicated and there are specific requirements for who can declare their marriage invalid and when.

Illinois Divorce Law

Illinois divorce law includes both no-fault divorce and fault-based divorce.

A no-fault divorce generally refers to a type of divorce where the spouses do not have to prove fault or provide a specific reason to end a marriage. But just because Illinois has no-fault divorce, this does not mean that a couple can simply wake up, decide to divorce, and fill out paperwork ending their marriage.

So what does it take to dissolve a marriage under Illinois divorce law?

Back to School Safety: Dangers at School

The start of the school year can be a fun time for parents and children. Kids get to spend time with their friends, and hopefully learn a thing or two at school. And parents can return to work or have more free time to themselves. However, as kids go back to school, back to school safety is inevitably brought up when students get injured and suffer harm at school.

For example, just in the past week, there have been reported dangers at school such as sexual assault in the classroom, noxious fumes poisoning students, and a fatal car accident.

The Joe Walsh Child Support Battle Continues

Joe Walsh deadbeat dad sentiments were fueled when the Tea Party darling did not even bother to show up at his own child support hearings. Implying that he was too busy to attend, the Joe Walsh child support battle continued without him.

Without Walsh in attendance, a Chicago judge issued a preliminary ruling against the Congressman placing the burden on Walsh to explain why he does not owe his ex-wife, Laura Walsh, $100,000 in back child support payments, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. If he cannot explain himself, Walsh may be held in contempt for failing to pay child support and could be ordered to pay fines along with the back child support payments.

John Granat Accused of Killing Parents

Children attacking their parents. No parent wants to think about it. And most parents probably think their kids wouldn’t do it. But it happens more than you may think. Last month, a man tried to kill his mom after she offered him a sandwich. Another man killed his father with a weed-wacker. Now, high school student John Granat allegedly bludgeoned his parents to death after they discovered he was growing marijuana.

The 17-year-old was by all appearances a typical high school student. He was described as being a nice, sweet, and quiet kid who recently took up weight-lifting, reports the Chicago Tribune. And as a lot of high-schoolers start getting into trouble, Granat was no different.

Teen Matthew Degner Dead in Home with 100 Animals

Fourteen-year-old Matthew Degner died of pneumonia. When officials looked into his death, they discovered that the boy was living in a home with three other children and 100 animals. Now, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) is investigating the death and deciding whether to charge his mother with child neglect.

Degner lived with three brothers and sisters, ages between 12 and 17, in Berwyn with their mother, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. The boy's mother apparently hoarded animals, keeping 100 animals including 40 cats, 24 birds, and a squirrel in the family home described by animal control officers as "disgusting." Along with the animals, officers found feces, bugs, and no running water.

Cheap Shots in Joe Walsh Child Support Battle

The never-ending Joe Walsh child support saga continues. This time the Tea Party Congressmen is seeking sanctions against his ex-wife, Laura Walsh -- turning the tables on Laura Walsh who has been seeking money from Joe Walsh since last year.

Joe Walsh allegedly owes his ex-wife $117,000 in back child support payments, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. The two were married for 15 years and had three children together before divorcing in 2002. Since that time, Laura Walsh has filed numerous petitions against Joe Walsh claiming that he was not paying child support payments.

Adoption Checklist for Chicago Adoptions

Lavan Williams was a swinging bachelor earning a good salary and living in a posh condo. Then while campaigning for soon-to-be-President Barack Obama, Williams was inspired to help his community, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. So he adopted six kids.

Everyone has different reasons to adopt. Whether you have a void in your home that you want to fill, whether you and your partner are having trouble conceiving, or whether you want to perform your civic duty like Lavan Williams.

Rebecca Mercado Inspires New Illinois Domestic Violence Law

Rebecca’s Law is the newest Illinois domestic violence law that increases the penalties for those convicted in battery cases involving torture to a minimum of four years and a maximum of 15. As you can guess, Rebecca’s Law is inspired by a woman named Rebecca who used her experience with domestic abuse to push for tougher legislation.

Rebecca Mercado was married to Erick Mercado-Hernandez in a union dominated by abuse and torture, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. Rebecca Mercado says that she was tortured day and night. Her husband beat her with metal boom sticks, pieces of wood, and made sure she was always around so that she could not flee with their three children.

Report Child Endangerment? Wrigley Field Worker Drunk With Baby

A Wrigley Field worker drunk with baby was arrested for endangering the life of the child while riding the L. Father Mark Rios was headed home on the Red line train with his one-year-old son on his lap. Rios was reportedly drunk and passed out.

We’ve all seen parents behaving badly with their children — from moms yelling at their kids while standing in line at the grocery store to dads spanking their kids a little too hard. But do you know when you should stay out of a family matter or when you should report child endangerment?