Royce Reed, a former NBA dancer who was once slated to appear on the VH1 reality series "NBA Wives," claims Dwight Howard regularly misses visitations and is a deadbeat. You don't need an Illinois family law attorney to tell you that missing scheduled visitations doesn't help your case when revisiting custody arrangements in court.]> The NBA star's ex has asked the court to appoint a guardian (on Dwight Howard's dime, of course) to keep tabs on him and make sure he sticks with their agreement.
Royce Reed allegedly called the police when she learned that Dwight Howard was planning to pick up their son from day care on Aug. 26, according to an earlier TMZ story. Since it wasn't his day to pick him up, she reportedly arrived at the day care center to confront him but Dwight Howard and his son had left.
He told police that he and Royce Reed inked a new visitation agreement giving him the right to pick up his son that day. However, officers later learned that the agreement was verbally discussed but never signed and then ordered him to take his son back to the day care center.
One of Royce Reed's spokespersons thanked the authorities for their swift response and, although it may have little more than displaced anger, offered the following statement about their son:
"[The child] was seriously traumatized by the unlawful actions of Dwight and his staff, and Royce will rely upon the Courts to prevent future incidents from occurring."
Was this just another high-profile child custody meltdown among celebrities or was there something more?
Civil unions would give same-sex partners the exact same rights enjoyed by heterosexual married couples, according to reporters. While that sounds a lot like marriage, a Chicago family law attorney could better explain how the two compare.]> HB 1716 was introduced by Rep. Greg Harris, D-Chicago, one of two openly gay members of the state legislature. While he expressed interest in moving this piece of legislation as quickly as possible, he said political realities may stall it:
"Every member of the General Assembly has two priorities on their mind right now: jobs and the economy, and the terrible state the budget is in."
Only New Jersey allows civil unions, while Iowa, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire and the District of Columbia extend marriage to same-sex couples. A form of domestic partnership providing limited spousal rights to same-sex couples is available in Oregon, Washington, Maine, Hawaii, Nevada, Wisconsin and California.
Rick Garcia, of Equality Illinois, said the law would fix certain vague situations often faced by gay and lesbian couples, including visits with hospitalized partners:
"We're nowhere near equal marriage rights, but a civil union bill would pass. This issue is not a big deal."
Some conservative activists, meanwhile, say they're prepared for a fight. David Smith, executive director of the Illinois Family Institute, which opposes marriage equality, said he thinks it would be a stepping stone to marriage:
"It's counterfeit marriage by another name."
But given the other pressing issues in Springfield, it may remain shelved for a while.
The Illinois family law attorney appointed to represent the 8- and 3-year-old boys filed a pretrial memo explaining the recommendations he plans to make at trial, including a suggestion that Siohvaughn Wade agree to "extensive therapy."
The trial is expected to last until about Sept. 20; Dwyane Wade is expected to report to the Miami Heat training camp on Sept. 28.]> Lester Barclay, the boys' attorney, stated his intention "based on the best interests of my clients, the minor children" to petition in favor of Dwyane Wade being awarded custody. While the court is not obligated to follow the suggestions of the minor children's attorney, it usually carries some weight in such decisions.
Specifically, Lester Barclay is recommending that the 2006 NBA finals MVP be awarded primary residential custody, joint custody with at least one of the boys attending school near his residence or sole custody. He was awarded "physical possession" of the boys in June after a Chicago judge granted agreed that Dwyane Wade's visitation with his sons had been "frustrated on an ongoing basis as a result of continual interference" by Siohvaughn Wade.
The court cited three separate instances where Dwyane Wade's ex-wife made sudden alterations to his visitation schedule. Siohvaughn Wade, meanwhile, made claims that he abused their children while they were in his custody; her claims were not substantiated.
The estranged couple's divorce was finalized in June but child custody and financial matters still have to be decided.
Child custody cases are difficult for everyone involved, especially the children. Most parties to a custody dispute benefit from the representation of a Chicago family law attorney.
As divorce attorneys in Chicago also may attest, divorce can either crush a newly single woman's will or provide an opportunity to recharge and embrace her new life. Elin Nordegren, who told People Magazine she feels "stronger than [she] ever has," said she first went through the stages of grief following Tiger Woods' reported infidelity.]> Other newly single female celebrities, including Halle Berry and Kate Winslet, also have shown an ability to persevere through divorce and even come out the other end stronger and more empowered.
Deborah Moscovitch, a divorce consultant and educator and the author of "The Smart Divorce," pointed out how life is about choices, including how we choose to live our lives following divorce:
"People seek blame, they seek revenge, they try to take their anger out on their partners and all they get is legal bills. You can stay a victim, you can stay and be miserable, or you can choose to pick up and move forward."
Even after the divorce, Deborah Moscovitch said, projecting anger and sadness only attracts the wrong kinds of people into your life. It's easier said than done, of course, but the divorce consultant provides the following tips for getting your groove back:
But nothing replaces the importance of having a skilled Chicago family law attorney at your side during the divorce proceedings.
You don't have to be an Illinois family law attorney to know that gay and lesbian couples currently don't have the right to get married in the state, but the laws are constantly in flux and public opinion is slowly shifting in favor.]> Robert Young, interviewed by the Tribune, said he supports same-sex marriage even though his religion looks down upon such unions:
"I think it's wrong, but I don't want to force my morality on other people. I think that's not my position to judge. That's somebody else's job."
But his willingness to look past his own religion and embrace the separation of church and state, governed by the US Constitution, puts him in the minority. Forty-six percent of suburban respondents oppose legalizing same-sex marriage, 40 percent approve and 14 percent said they have no opinion.
It's evenly split when the responses of city residents are included, with 42 percent in favor and 42 percent opposed (15 percent undecided).
Yet, 54 percent of suburban respondents said they favor the legalization of same-sex civil unions, while 33 percent oppose it. The results are roughly the same when city residents are factored in and are similar to national surveys.
Rick Garcia, political director for Equality Illinois, said he's encouraged by the overall trends:
"Years ago, there wasn't that much support for same-sex marriage. So what's encouraging in this poll is that we see the numbers are now neck-in-neck, and we see that it's trending in favor of instead of away from same-sex marriage."
TMZ cited unnamed sources as saying the breakup is "extremely acrimonious" and teased the story with the statement "it's gonna get ugly," but the relatively bland boilerplate language on court documents doesn't reveal much (PDF).]> Perhaps a divorce attorney in Chicago could read between the lines in the documents, but the fill-in-the-blanks divorce complaint does not seem to provide any salacious details. The dissolution of marriage petition cites "irreconcilable differences" and names the couple's two boys, 8-year-old London and 6-year-old Cash.
Slash is seeking joint legal and physical custody of the children.
Slash didn't have a prenuptial agreement and is willing to pay spousal support, according to TMZ, so it doesn't seem too acrimonious at a glance. The hard rock guitarist, famous for his trademark top hat and long curly hair, is claiming "miscellaneous jewelry and other personal effects" as separate property.
This is Slash's second divorce, according to CBS News. He previously was married to actress Suran until they divorced after five years in 1997.
TMZ refers to Slash's lawyer, Laura Wasser, as the "disso queen" for her rock star status among celebrities in divorce and other family law-related cases. Her other Hollywood clients include Gordon Getty, Angelina Jolie, Mel Gibson's ex-wife Robin Gibson and Spike Jonze, according to Divorce Saloon.
But you don't need a celebrity lawyer to get a fair shake in a divorce proceeding. Plenty of experienced Illinois family law attorneys are available.
Accusations and insults have been flowing from both sides of the dispute for a while; but USA Today and other news sources reported that the McCourt divorce has only just now begun. And since both parties claim ownership of the storied baseball franchise, the couple's divorce may hold sway over its future.
The Dodgers organization is valued between $750 million and $1.5 billion, a fortune unheard of to most Chicago family law attorneys with respect to marital property.]> Legal fees alone are estimated to hit the $20 million mark by the time the trial records it's final out, prompting some observers to predict a quick sale of the team by its eventual sole owner. The prevailing party, they say, may not be capitalized enough to properly maintain the Dodgers as a business and may have to sell to owners with deeper pockets.
James Fox Miller maintained his client's legal stake in the team while admitting it's difficult to predict what will happen at trial, which began on Monday:
"If justice prevails, Jamie McCourt will win. It should be equal partnership, and I think Frank is trying to deprive her of one-half of the partnership."
The trial is centered on the issue of whether Jamie McCourt has a legal claim to 50 percent of the team's assets, as she would with any other marital property. But Frank McCourt's attorneys have argued that a postnuptial agreement signed by both parties in 2004 granted him sole ownership.
Jamie McCourt's lawyers claim their marital agreement lists the Dodgers as jointly owned property, while Frank McCourt's lawyers argue that it was simply a clerical error.
You may want to consult with a divorce attorney in Chicago if you and a soon-to-be ex-spouse are disputing over property issues.
Diandra is seeking half the earnings from the forthcoming film, which reprises the role of greedy antihero Gordon Gekko. She claims a clause in their divorce settlement entitles her to a portion of earnings from "spin-offs" of his films. But is the film is a "spin-off" or, as attorneys for Michael Douglas claim, merely a sequel?
This is a unique case rooted in entertainment law, but a divorce attorney in Chicago could better explain how an Illinois court would interpret such language.]> Diandra Douglas received an estimated $45 million and two high-end homes in the settlement, so her attempt to gain even more from the divorce is understandably frustrating to her ex-husband.
But if the contract holds up, he may not have a leg to stand on.
A judge has not yet set a date for the ruling but the estranged couple's attorneys recently squared off in a court hearing. Marilyn B. Chinitz, representing Michael Douglas, said his ex-wife misread the contract and that a "Wall Street" sequel was not even planned while they were married:
"It's time for Ms. Douglas to move on and let Mr. Douglas move on and enjoy his life without having to concern himself with someone trying to claw back moneys that they're not entitled to."
Nancy Chemtob, representing Diandra Douglas, said she's not greedy but would like her ex-husband to honor their agreement:
"Mr. Douglas is seeking to shirk his financial responsibility that was entered into when he signed this contract."
"Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps" is scheduled to hit theaters on September 24.
Call an Illinois family law attorney if you need help putting together, or enforcing, a solid divorce agreement.
I'm sure plenty of Chicago family law attorneys have their own opinions but one divorce attorney, Raoul Felder, said he believes Elin Nordegren made off like a bandit.
He said the high settlement (which he believes is too high) can be attributable to Tiger Woods' desperate situation at the time and lack of public support. The real settlement amount, which he believes was somewhere between $100 million and $500 million, is confidential:]>
"He was desperate. July 4th, he signed a post-nuptial agreement. Then he went into rehab for two months and for an illness that half of America hopes they would have, I guess. And then he tried this ridiculous press conference that didn't work. And then the golf wasn't working. So this is the only thing left."
If Raoul Felder had represented Tiger Woods, he said he would have advised him to immediately hold "a real press conference" and nip it in the bud early.
"Early Show" co-anchor Erica Hill told CBS News that Elin Nordegren clearly had the upper hand from the start, which few would deny. After last year's car crash set off speculation of Tiger Woods' many mistresses, several women talked to tabloids about their alleged affairs with the at-the-time married golfer.
So why didn't the prenuptial agreement protect his fortune? Tiger Woods actually changed it after news of his infidelity hit a fever pitch in order to convince her to stay. But it backfired and she would eventually take advantage of its newly generous terms and Tiger Woods' lack of credibility and a seemingly endless parade of alleged mistresses.
Raoul Felder said the settlement upped the ante for celebrity divorces and jokingly referred to it as "the best thing for lawyers since the Magna Carta."
Most people will never see a hundred-million-dollar settlement, but having a skilled divorce attorney in Chicago represent you in a divorce proceeding certainly can help.
According to King County prosecutors, Federal Way resident Carmen Lynn Johnsen told her then-boyfriend in December 2008 that she was pregnant and that he was the father. She took pregnancy tests one month later, showing she was not pregnant, but prosecutors said she kept that to herself.
It must be noted that DNA tests used to determine paternity are extremely accurate and in any event, it may be a good idea to consult with an Illinois family lawyer first before agreeing to child support payments.]> A Federal Way detective identified as "Scholl" claims Carmen Johnsen knew she was not pregnant but lied to the unidentified man:
"Instead she told him that she had a history of high risk pregnancies and miscarriages and needed to be on bed rest with this pregnancy."
He believed her and paid out $700 a month, paying out a total of $3,500 in child support before the alleged fraud was discovered. She not only repeated her false pregnancy claim under oath on four different occasions but also named a fictitious child in the following death announcement:
"In Loving memory of Rebekah Lynn Johnsen. Becky was born asleep, 28 days premature, on July 23, 2009."
In addition, police said she approached a pastor about holding a funeral for her child, claiming she miscarried the child after a car crash and cremated the remains. Police said she gave the victim a photo of an urn as she tried to get him to pay more than $9,000 in hospital bills.
She admitted to taking money under the false pretext that she was pregnant and police said that a document purporting to show she was pregnant was a forgery.
She was charged with first-degree theft, perjury and forgery.
A history of emotional or physical spousal abuse usually doesn't help the case of that individual in a divorce proceeding. Chicago family law attorneys could better explain how such allegations might play out in their divorce (if it indeed is in the works).]> Katherine Jackson said her estranged husband actually blamed her for Michael Jackson's sudden death last June, that she didn't spend enough time with him. Joe Jackson, meanwhile, has been blamed repeatedly for abusing their children, to which Katherine Jackson's spokesperson referred in the following statement to the press:
"The world also knows who Joe Jackson is and he seems bent on never letting us forget... She's been humiliated by him for too long. She's absolutely livid. There's no going back."
Katherine Jackson has been reluctant to divorce Joe Jackson because her Jehovah's Witness religion forbids divorce.
She gained sole custody of Michael Jackson's three children after his death: 13-year-old Prince Michael, 12-year-old Paris and 8-year-old Blanket (yes, that's his real name). Joe Jackson was not included in the custody order, so their grandchildren wouldn't be an issue in a divorce.
Michael Jackson publicly stated that his father beat him as a child and left him out of his will:
"My father would rehearse with a belt in his hand, you couldn't mess up. I would never get spanked during rehearsals or practice - but afterwards was when I got in trouble."
The divorce is still a rumor and an LA Weekly article casts doubt on whether it's actually happening.
The divorce and custody dispute of a New York couple married in 1804, for example, set the groundwork for U.S. child custody law, according to a St. Louis Post-Dispatch article. Quite a bit has changed in the 200 years since, but the story provides a glimpse into the origins of current custody law.]> The recently published book "The Great Divorce: A Nineteenth-Century Mother's Extraordinary Fight against Her Husband, the Shakers, and Her Times," by Ilyon Woo, paints a picture of custody laws almost unrecognizable to today's Chicago family law attorneys.
Eunice Chapman, who would win New York State's first legal divorce in 1818 and also was able to gain custody of her kids from ex-husband James Chapman, is hailed as a feminist revolutionary. The couple had problems from the start, according to court documents and other primary sources.
They lost their home to foreclosure and then James Chapman joined an obscure religious cult known as the Shakers, taking their three kids with him. He hid the children from his wife, with the help of the Shaker church, but Eunice Chapman fought a three-year legal battle to regain custody.
Mothers (and women in general) had very few rights at the time, as discussed in the book, excerpted in the article:
"Even after her husband died, a woman had no guarantees; a man could appoint his lover, parents, or anyone else to be his children's guardians after his death."
National Public Radio's "All Things Considered," which interviewed the author, provides a longer excerpt from the book at its Web site. It's worth a read and helps one appreciate how far we've come as a society, especially with respect to mothers' rights.
While 97 percent of the men and 94 percent of the women in a Marist poll said they believe they got hitched to the right person, only 66 percent said they believed that person was destined to be their soul mate. Still, that figure is quite a bit higher than the estimated 50 percent of Chicago couples, for example, that eventually will need the services of an Illinois family lawyer.]> Lee M. Miringoff, director of the Marist College Poll, stated the obvious in an interview with AP reporters:
"There are clearly people who think things are going very well, but it may not turn out that way,"
About one-third of American marriages end in divorce by the 10th anniversary, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control cited in the article. But only about half of all marriages last "until death."
Regionally, 97 percent of Midwesterners said they married the right person, followed by 96 percent of Southerners and 90 percent of married couples in the Northeast. Interestingly, 100 percent of respondents aged 18 to 29 said they married the right person.
And while only 66 percent of respondents said they bought into the concept of a soul mate, there were some regional differences there as well. Adults 29 and younger, people in households earning $50,000 or less and Southerners were more likely to believe in soul mates than other demographic groups.
But marriages unfortunately outlive their initial bliss at least half the time. Research divorce attorneys in Chicago before settling on someone to represent your interests.
The 35-year-old father owes $5,979.66 in court-ordered support for his children, according to police. He also has been arrested 14 times and has 80 unrelated criminal convictions, according to court records. So while his Illinois family law attorney may try to help give him some wiggle room, his chances at leniency by a family court judge don't look good.]> Sheriff's deputies attempted to take Ronald McIntyre into custody at an apartment building near his home earlier this week. After the officers entered, a woman told them she didn't know where he was but invited them inside. A young child, however, pointed to the window and the deputies checked it out.
An unnamed spokesperson at the sheriff's office gave the following account:
"[The deputies] walked to that window, looked down and saw McIntyre lying on the ground below. Though it appeared he landed on grass, it was actually artificial turf covering concrete."
Ouch. The injured and pain-riddled suspect, however, tried to crawl away from the deputies while reportedly cursing them with expletives. They easily apprehended the man and handcuffed him to a gate. He was then hospitalized with broken legs.
Further exploration of his court records revealed that he has been convicted of assault 21 times, obstructing justice 39 times and invasion of privacy 20 times. It's not clear if any of these convictions were related to his children or their mother.
Talk with an Illinois family attorney if you have any questions regarding the payment or collection of child support.
This just shows how hard it can be for domestic violence victims to face reality and leave their abusers. Violent spouses rarely if ever change; so you may want to consult with a divorce attorney in Chicago if you feel threatened by your partner.
Maurice Lyons is in jail on $8 million bond. He faces the death penalty; although his criminal defense attorney argues that his client has psychiatric problems.]> The Cleveland resident faces 10 criminal charges, according to the city's paper, The Plain Dealer: aggravated murder, kidnapping, aggravated robbery, child endangerment, tampering with evidence, domestic violence, disrupting a public service, intimidation of a crime victim, telecommunications harassment and misuse of credit cards.
This particular incident (there were others) began when Maurice Lyons allegedly assaulted his 42-year-old wife at their home on July 13, preventing her from calling police. Tonya Hunter finally was able to get through to police and Maurice Lyons was charged with felony domestic violence, his second such offense.
Five days later, he allegedly assaulted her again and called repeatedly with more threats of violence in the days following the attack. He confronted her at their home on July 25 as she and her son were leaving. They argued, Maurice Lyons tried to rob her and then he allegedly stabbed her 17 times, killing her.
According to police, he stashed her body in the garage, took her credit cards and car, abandoned the child on the side of the road and drove to his mother's house to get rid of his bloody clothes. He was arrested the next day.
As this gruesome story proves, domestic abuse often just gets worse. Consult with a Chicago family law attorney if you are in an abusive relationship.