The Chicago Family Law Blog

October 2012 Archives

Wrong Way to Get Religious Annulment: Forge Court Docs

Former CBOE (Chicago Board Options Exchange) multi-millionaire trader Steve Fanady, formerly known as Sotirios Fanuda, was arrested on Thursday, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. He was not charged with securities fraud, insider trading, or any other white-collar crime related to his former profession.

He was charged with forgery ... of a divorce document.

We get it. We've all been desperate to escape the clutches of an ex at one time or another, but forging a judge's signature and clerk's stamp? That's probably going a little too far.

Joe Simpson's Alleged Affair With Male Model Complicates Divorce

Until today, there really wasn't much to glean from the Simpson parents' split. Tina and Joe Simpson, married since 1978, and proud parents of Jessica and Ashlee Simpson, were calling it quits in an amicable divorce. Though it was sad, there wasn't much law to be dealt with.

Of course, the rumors now swirling will change that a bit. The most prevalent rumor of the moment is that Pastor Joe Simpson was cheating on his wife with Bryce Chandler Hill, a 21-year-old male model, reports the Chicago Sun-Times. The rumors include the tidbit that Simpson has been a regular in West Hollywood gay bars in recent times. Both Simpson and Hill have denied the rumors.

Tax Consquences of Divorce: Enter the QDRO

Earlier this week, we had a brief opportunity to mention Qualified Domestic Relations Orders in the context of retiree divorce. Because of the rising Baby Boomer divorce rate, and the tax consequences of fiddling with retirement accounts, these important devices deserve further discussion.

A QDRO (pronounced "quad-row") is a bit of paperwork that splits a retirement account into two, usually in the context of a divorce. These are especially important because in many cases, they can avoid the tax consequences of early withdraw or assignment of retirement benefits.

'Gray Divorce' On the Rise; Baby Boomers Seek Split

If it wasn’t clear from the headline, “Gray Divorce” is an emerging trend in divorce statistics that indicates that Baby Boomers, more than any generation before them, are choosing to end unhappy marriages in their later years. According to a study by Bowling Green State University, the divorce rate among middle-aged and older adults doubled between 1990 and 2009, while the overall divorce rate declined.

It’s not just the United States either. According to the BBC, in Japan, they call it “retired husband syndrome.” Essentially, these older Americans (and Japanese) are heading into retirement and instead of continuing in an unhappy marriage, they are seeking companionship and happiness elsewhere.

What to do With the Family Home in a Divorce

It’s the American Dream. Every person in America dreams of the day where prosperity and stability meet long enough to secure a private parcel of land and a familial castle. Then divorce happens and the dream is shattered. That home, once a symbol of achievement and happiness, is now a point of contention and a financial albatross.

What do you do with it? As always, that depends on your circumstances. In many cases, keeping the house is not an option, as finances won’t allow it. In others, it might be as simple as refinancing the mortgage and paying off one party’s share. Consider the following before discussing the matter with a divorce attorney.

Divorce Now Possible for Permanently Disabled via Guardianship

“Till death do us part” was never more true than the case of a permanently disabled individual who was subject to a guardianship. For those no longer able to care for their own affairs, a guardian can be appointed to handle all of their legal, financial, and healthcare-related issues. However, under prior Illinois law, this did not apply to the dissolution of marriage.

To put a face on the issue, take the case of Marcia Karbin and her husband, Jan Karbin. She suffered brain damage in a car accident in 1997. Her husband handled her affairs initially, but eventually the guardianship was transferred to her daughter, Kara Hibler, because his advancing Parkinson’s disease made caring for his wife difficult.

Toddler Found Strolling the Streets Twice, Plus Bonus DUI!

It’s often said that the best family law attorneys are jacks-of-all-trades. They have to deal with contract law when drafting prenuptial agreements. They must be familiar with estate planning real estate law for divorces. Child endangerment charges and disputes about custody with the Department of Child and Family Services also require specialized knowledge.

Kystal Rushing’s lawyer, however, is going to have to be a Supreme Court justice to handle all of her legal issues.

Russell Crowe Divorce: Prenup Limits Wife to $25 Mill 'Pittance'

A pittance you say? Well, not exactly. Still, compared to many other Hollywood divorces, $25 million is chump change. Russell Crowe and Danielle Spencer met on the set of 1990’s The Crossing. They were married in 2003. Fortunately for Mr. Crowe, the couple agreed on a prenuptial agreement that protects the vast majority of his assets, reports the Sidney Morning Herald.

Reports as to the reason for the dissolution of the marriage vary. Some allege that Spencer was having an affair with her Australian Dancing With the Stars partner. The duo were seen spending extensive amounts of time with each other outside of the show and in June, an Australian tabloid published a snapshot of the two wrapped in each others’ arms, reports the Examiner. Others say that the Crowe-Spencer union had been in trouble for some time due to Crowe’s hectic schedule, and the two have lived in separate houses for the past year.

Top Three Mistakes Celebrities Make in Marriage and Divorce

Some of you might suspect that this blog is turning into TMZ with brains. We’re flattered, really. However, we’re not just about celebrity stalking and schadenfreude. Celebrity divorces (and marriages) can provide valuable lessons for the everyday person. Because they are often rich and famous, their nuptials and dissolutions provide magnified and exaggerated looks at the same mistakes that plague all people.

In light of that, here is a recent review of a few of the most common mistakes made by celebrities (and normal folks) in either their days of bliss or days of discord.

Three Ways Your Attorney Keeps You Sane(er) During Divorce

Six months ago, you were happily married. That was before your husband accidently called you "Susan" while you were being "intimate." He now lives with Suzie the Secretary and you are in the old marital home, trying to figure out just how in the hell your life ended up this way.

Divorce is miserable. It often devolves into bitter arguments about possession of that ten-year-old Toyota and assumption of the credit card balance. In fact, many of your attempts to settle the case have played out like this. Throughout the gauntlet of hell that has been divorce, you have had a steadying presence: your divorce attorney. Three significant qualities have helped her to ensure that you came out of the divorce (relatively) unscathed.

Grandma Seeks Custody of Kids After Daughter Killed by Boyfriend

On March 6, Michele Peters was shot in the face while one son was asleep in the next room and the other played in his play pen. Neighbors heard her arguing with her live-in boyfriend and father of her children moments before the shot. He was eventually arrested after the forensic evidence pointed to him as the culprit, reports the Chicago Heights Patch.

Before he was taken into custody, George Kleopa handed his children over to relatives in California. Prior to the murder, the children reportedly had a strong relationship with their maternal grandmother, Catherine Peters. Since the murder, Catherine has only seen one of her grandchildren on a single occasion, briefly, a week after her daughter's funeral.

Child Support After 19: Disabled Dependants and College Kids

The obligation to pay child support typically ends when a child reaches the age of majority, or when the child graduates high school, whichever is later. The age of majority is 18 in Illinois. So, how could you end up paying thousands of dollars per year to support your 19-year-old child?

Illinois law provides two major exceptions to this rule: the disabled child and the soon-to-be highly educated child. If your son or daughter is physically or mentally disabled, and has not otherwise been emancipated by court order, an order for continued support can be made by the court. This means you could end up supporting the child indefinitely.

Paying for Your Child's College: IL Prepaid Tuition or 529 Plans?

For many, the surest path to prosperity is a college education. Sure, a degree -- even a recently acquired DePaul law degree -- guarantees nothing. Still, the odds indicate a higher earning capacity and a (hopefully) easier life if one graduates from an institution of higher learning. Like most parents, you'll want to ensure that your children get to enjoy those benefits.

If you're absolutely broke, and will be absolutely broke when your child goes to college, financial aid will cover most, if not all, of your child's expenses. If you're filthy rich, paying tuition won't be an issue either.

But the vast majority of Americans fall somewhere in between. If they fail to plan ahead, their children could graduate with an albatross of student loan debt suffocating their hopes and dreams.

Mom Cries Amber Alert Wolf, Should've Used Safe Haven

A 19-year-old Illinois mother could face a lengthy prison term for allegedly abandoning her child, reports Peoria's Journal Star. Kendra Meaker of Toulon in Stark County could not care for her 3-week-old child. Instead of heading to her nearest Safe Haven drop-off, she ditched the child on the side of a gravel road and reported her baby was missing.

After an Amber Alert was issued for Mia Gracy Thompson and volunteers spent 12 hours searching, a pair of Good Samaritans finally found the baby crying in her car seat on the side of a remote gravel road.

Instead of abandoning her young daughter outdoors, the troubled mother could've left her child at any number of places, no questions asked, and abandoned all legal responsibility.