Archive, February 2015.

Illinois is an equitable distribution state, which means that marital assets are divided equitably, and not necessarily equally. The first assets that likely come to mind when you think about dividing marital property are the bank accounts, as well as the house, car and other large tangible objects. But there are additional, more “unusual” assets that are often overlooked before the divorce proceeding begins. Examples include:

In some cases, courts have trouble enforcing child custody orders and orders forbidding removal of the child from the court’s jurisdiction. If the respondent improperly removes the child from the petitioner’s physical custody or improperly retains the child after his visitation time legally ended, then the court may enter an enforcement judgment.
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Illinois does not recognize alimony between unmarried couples, commonly referred to as palimony. Palimony, similar to alimony (maintenance), is an arrangement whereby one partner makes support payments to the other partner after the relationship ends. This law was established by the Illinois Supreme Court in 1979. However, a state appellate court recently held that the Supreme Court’s decades-old decision has been rendered obsolete.
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Foster care is designed to be a temporary solution, eventually leading to adoption. However, Illinois officials also want it to be a positive experience – or at least as positive as the experience can be under the circumstances. That is why the Department of Children and Family Services works with foster families to ensure that every child’s needs are met. The department provides a variety of services, including:
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When a couple divorces, the court often orders one party to make maintenance (alimony) payments supporting his or her former spouse. Generally, this maintenance amount may only be modified or terminated if there has been a substantial change in either party’s circumstances. The court will consider various factors when considering a party’s petition for modification or termination, including:
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A Florida judge recently allowed a gay couple to divorce, even though the state did not officially recognize the couple’s right to marry in the first place. However, that might change soon. In August 2014, a federal district judge overturned Florida’s gay marriage ban. Both the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court refused to extend a stay on the ruling, which means that gay couples were able to marry beginning in January.
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Aside from child custody, division of marital property is one of the most contentious issues divorcing couples face, especially if they entered the divorce proceeding without a premarital or postmarital agreement outlining these particulars.
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A Missouri mother whose teenaged son became a temporary ward of Illinois after a local judge found that she interfered with his medical treatment is fighting back. She has rallied support from Missouri lawmakers, who are considering legislation that would protect guardians from abuse charges when they seek a second opinion from a licensed health care provider and follow that provider’s treatment advice.
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Goostree Law Group

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