The Chicago Family Law Blog

Other Family Law Issues in Chicago

The family law practice area encompasses a wide variety of legal issues and not all of them fit into a neatly defined category. News and information on adoption, a complex process that usually involves multiple parties in multiple states or even countries, is one such topic that can be found in this section. Other topics grouped under this category include foster care, surrogacy, changing your name, minor emancipation and guardianship. Some topics, such as juvenile crime and child abuse, span a number of legal practice areas.

Legal actions related to family law often are emotionally charged and painful, so choosing the right Illinois family lawyer is important. Although most Chicago family law attorneys focus on one or just a handful of specialties, all have at least a basic understanding of family law in general.

Recently in Other Family Law Issues Category

Stubborn Recession Puts Marriage On Hold For Many

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We've all seen the headlines telling us that the recession officially ended in the middle of last year. But that observation is based on an arguably outdated reading of the data, while unemployment remains high and the distribution of wealth has become even more lopsided.

Another casualty of the current economic hard times is marriage. Marriage had been in decline for a while; but the ratio of Americans getting hitched fell to a record low 52 percent in 2009, according to the Associated Press. That figure was 57 percent in 2000.

In fact, 2009 was the first year the number of unmarried young adults exceeded the number of those were married. Rising divorce rates, an increase in unmarried couples living together and better job prospects for women had lowered the marriage rate for years, even before the recession.

Long Grove Family Forced To Give Up Adopted Daughter

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Lori and Craig Gertz are still grieving over the loss of their 7-year-old adopted daughter, Ellie, who now lives with another family 1,700 miles away in Washington State, according to the Chicago Tribune. They weren't ruled unfit parents and the child wasn't taken away from them.

It just became clear to the couple, who has two natural born children as well, that Ellie wouldn't work out in their family. 

It turned out that Ellie has serious mental problems that most likely were caused by her birth mother's admitted use of crack cocaine and PCP during her pregnancy. Her health records didn't indicate her destructive habits, which is why the Gertzes were so confused by her erratic and often violent behavior. The birth mother would commit suicide a few years later.

Survey: Most Americans Convinced They Married Right Person

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Maybe it shouldn't be too much of a surprise that most of the 1,004 adult Americans polled by a recent survey said they married the right person, according to an Associated Press article published in The Vancouver Sun. Otherwise, would they still be married? But only two-thirds said their spouse was their "soul mate," according to the poll.

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.

Lynn France Alerted To Husband's Bigamy Via Facebook

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Facebook-assisted news of infidelity and other evidence that can effectively end a marriage and help divorce attorneys in Chicago win their case are nothing new. But Cleveland woman Lynn France's Facebook discovery that her husband married another woman, as reported by the Associated Press, certainly is newsworthy.

The wife and mother of two young children already suspected her husband, John France, was having an affair. She searched for the suspected other woman on Facebook and saw wedding pictures of her estranged husband and his new wife at Walt Disney World:

"I was numb with shock, to tell you the truth. There was like an album of 200 pictures on there. Their whole wedding."

And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

Celebrating The Role Of Dads On Father's Day

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Marriage and family therapist Mitchell Rosen, of California, wrote an editorial in the Riverside Press-Enterprise about the importance of fathers being actively involved in the lives of their children. Obviously, the significance of the timing is the upcoming Father's Day holiday.

First, he insists that bias against fathers in family courts is not nearly as prevalent as many would have you believe. His experience most likely is limited to California; thus, an Illinois family law attorney might have a different take on how local courts handle child custody and visitation cases.

Foster parent applicants are denied for a number of legitimate reasons. According to FindLaw, prospective foster parents must be over 21, have a steady income source, have a record free of felony convictions, submit to a home assessment and attend parent training sessions.

Standards can be high, but apparently they can be daunting to a Muslim woman.

Contemporary Family Services (CFS) in Baltimore has strict standards. The Baltimore Sun reported that a woman was denied the opportunity to become a foster parent by the foster placement agency because she doesn't allow pork in her home.

That's it, no pork?

Man Pleads Guilty To Stabbing Estranged Wife & Daughter

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The Chicago Tribune reported that 46-year-old Christopher Rood pleaded guilty to home invasion and armed violence after breaking into the home of his estranged family and stabbing his ex-wife and daughter with a knife.

Jayne Rood was hospitalized for several weeks for wounds to her head and abdomen, while 17-year-old daughter Molly Rood was treated at the emergency room for several body wounds. Both have recovered from their injuries, at least physically.

Christopher Rood is scheduled to appear in court on June 11 for sentencing and could receive as many as 90 years in prison for the charges of home invasion and armed violence.

The defendant entered the home around 2:40 a.m. on Sept. 28, 2008 through a basement window and confronted his ex-wife and daughter in the master bedroom, according to DuPage County State's Attorney David Breyer. Then he allegedly asked to talk to them but became "enraged" after Molly Rood tried to call 911, stabbing them both.

International Adoption Popularized After Haitian Earthquake

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Adoption typically is a complicated process mired in paperwork with long lead times. But international adoption only magnifies these complexities, particularly when one considers the unique laws and processes associated with each individual country of origin. Chicago family law attorneys may not know about each country's laws but certainly could assist in the process.

FindLaw strongly recommends that prospective adoptive parents do as much research as possible before flying to a chosen country. Just to give an example, many nations' laws require the adoptive parents to stay in that country for several weeks or even months before bringing a child home with them. 

Haiti's deadly earthquake left thousands of orphaned children in its wake and brought the issue of international adoption to the forefront, as explained in a Chicago Tribune article.

Adoptive Mom Who Returned Russian Child Shops Around

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Adopting a child is nothing at all like ordering a vacuum cleaner from If the vacuum cleaner doesn't work as advertised, you just put it back in the box and send it back. But if a child does not adapt well to his or her new family, particularly a child from halfway around the world, then that's just the luck of the draw.

Apparently Tennessee mother Torry Hansen thought her adopted 7-year-old son came with a return policy, ABC News reported, as she put him on a one-way airplane trip back to his native Russia.

Now it appears the adoptive mother is shopping around for a replacement to the "defective" Russian child. Although the mother lives in Tennessee, would any Chicago family law attorneys care to weigh in on her chances of getting approved for another adoption after this ordeal?

Getting Hitched In Chicagoland: The Legal Nitty Gritty

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The Chicagoland Wedding Directory offers information on vendors of everything from wedding gowns and tuxedos to registries and disc jockeys. While this blog doesn't concern itself with the celebration of marriage, the same directory also provides a concise overview of the legal requirements and procedures for getting married in Illinois.

The services of Chicago family law attorneys, who typically handle divorce and other family law issues, are not required for a Windy City wedding. But in the absence of an ordained minister, non-theistic marriages require the "blessings" of a judge.

First things first: Individuals of the opposite sex who are 18 years of age or older and not related by blood may legally marry. The exceptions are 16-year-olds with the sworn consent of their parents and first cousins over the age of 50 (and thus unlikely to conceive children).