The Chicago Family Law Blog

November 2011 Archives

Crystal Valdez Accused of Killing 4-Year-Old Son on Birthday

Last Friday, relatives came to the house of 4-year-old Christopher Valdez planning to throw him a party. They knocked on the door, but when no one answered, they became concerned and went inside where they found the boy dead under a blanket.

Christopher Valdez was apparently dead for several hours and he was covered in makeup that masked bruises all over his body, reports the Chicago Tribune. His mother, Crystal Valdez, and her boyfriend, Cesar Ruiz, now face first-degree murder charges.

Child Custody Murder Plan Leads to Jail

This is a tale of how not to resolve a child custody dispute. Christina Keck of Collinsville was involved in a particularly nasty child custody dispute with her ex-boyfriend. Perhaps trying to ensure that she would retain custody of her three-year-old son, Keck hired a would-be hit man to take out her ex.

But that hit man ended up being an undercover cop, and for the child custody murder plot, Keck will now be serving the next ten years in federal prison, reports the Associated Press.

Study: Cyberbullying More Stressful than Actual Bullying

A study in the American Journal of Public Health found that high school students who are bullied online are more likely to be depressed or have attempted suicide than students bullied only at school.

The study found that almost half of those students bullied both online and at school reported depression. A third of those bullied only online felt depressed. In contrast, only about a quarter of students bullied only at school said they were depressed, reports The Boston Globe.

With these grim findings, understanding cyberbullying for parents is very important. The following are five things you can do to help keep your child safe.

Demi Moore Divorces Ashton Kutcher

It seemed inevitable. Demi Moore divorces Ashton Kutcher. After recent months of rumors of infidelity, Demi Moore finally called it quits.

The couple wed in 2005, reports the Associated Press. At the time, the wedding made a lot of news as Moore was 15 years Kutcher’s senior. In addition, Kutcher had been a bachelor at the time, while Moore was a divorcee and mother of three.

Catholic Charities Foster Care Lawsuit Dropped

Catholic Charities are done with the foster care business. The Catholic Charities foster care lawsuit was reportedly dropped, thereby avoiding a potential court battle that would have pitted religious beliefs and church freedoms against sexual orientation discrimination and state laws.

Leaders of the dioceses of Joilet, Springfield, and Belleville decided to end their partnership with the state to provide foster care services and will transfer the more than 1,000 foster care children currently under their care to other agencies, reports the Chicago Tribune. This had been a historic relationship between the two groups that had led to the creation of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.

Child Neglect? Boy Shoots Relative in Game Gone Wrong

A six-year-old boy, Marshown Means, was shot in the chest at his grandfather's home after playing a game of cops and robbers with his 13-year-old uncle.

While Means is expected to survive the shooting, his teenage uncle has been charged as a juvenile for reckless discharge of a firearm, reports the Chicago Tribune. However, the fact that the shooting even happened in the first place, you may be asking whether Illinois child neglect laws apply and whether Means was unnecessarily placed in danger.

Falling Television Sets Kill 2 Kids in 10 Days

Two young children were killed by falling television sets in the past ten days. The Chicago TV deaths will spark at least one child abuse investigation, and criminal charges may follow depending upon the outcome of the investigation.

Earlier this week, three-year-old Shaniya Singleton was killed at her home in Hamilton Park when a television fell on her, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. Police have called the death a "tragic accident" and an autopsy showed that the girl died of head injuries.

Illinois Adoption Process: Petition and Investigation

We wrote before that pretty much anyone can file a petition to adopt a child in Illinois. Similarly, pretty much any child or adult can be adopted by another. However, just because someone can file to adopt, this does not mean that the adoption will be approved.

Instead, under the Illinois adoption process, your petition must first meet the statutory requirements. And once your petition is complete, you will still be subject to an investigation just to determine if you are a suitable candidate.

Illinois Adoption Laws: Who May Adopt and be Adopted?

You'd be surprised at how open Illinois adoption laws are. Pretty much anyone can file a petition to adopt just about anyone. In other words, there are very few legal restrictions over who can adopt, and who can be adopted.

Generally, any person who has lived in the state continuously for at least six months preceding an action to adopt a child can seek to adopt. And any member of the armed services who has been domiciled in the state for 90 days can also institute a proceeding to adopt.

Joe Walsh Praised for Family Values by Conservative Group

It seems family values is more about opposing gay marriage and opposing "choice" than it is about supporting one's own children. At least that's how the Family Research Council Action (FRCA) sees it naming Joe Walsh a "True Blue" member of Congress for "unwavering support of the family" despite the Joe Walsh child support battle currently in court.

Walsh is the only Illinois congressman to be named on the true blue list, reports the Chicago Sun-Times.

In Court: Antoine Walker Child Support Battle

Antoine Walker was in court this week fighting charges of unpaid child support. The Chicago native and former NBA All-Star is accused of not paying child support in over two years.

The Antoine Walker child support case should be interesting as Walker famously returned to D-League basketball last year as he needed money following a bankruptcy filing and charges of skipping out on casino debt.

Kim Kardashian: 72 Reasons for Getting a Prenup?

You may have heard that Kim Kardashian is reportedly divorcing her husband of 72 days, Kris Humphries. You may also be aware that Kardashian reportedly earns $12 million a year, while her husband remains unemployed as the NBA lockout continues.

Luckily for Kardashian, the reality star is believed to have signed a prenuptial agreement, reports CBS.