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adoption, rehoming, child exhanges, underground adoption, Kane County family attorneyWhen it comes to interstate adoption, all 50 states adhere to the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC). The idea of interstate adoption is simple enough: if a child is born in one state and is adopted by parents in another state, then ICPC applies. The adoption will only go through if both states approve.

Last year, however, a Reuters investigation uncovered evidence that some families find ways of getting around ICPC. Known as “child exchange” or as “private re-homing,” Reuters revealed that adoptive parents were advertising children they no longer wanted through online bulletin boards. When the Reuters story surfaced in September 2013, no state (or the federal government) specifically prohibited this practice.

Reuters Investigation Spurs Some to Action

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Posted on in Divorce

divorce mediation, alternative dispute resolution, Kane County divorce attorneyIs there such a thing as a hassle-free divorce? Probably not, given the emotional, financial, and legal difficulties that follow in the wake of a divorce. However, that does not mean you and your divorcing spouse are destined to spend tens of thousands of dollars in court fighting over such trivial questions as who gets the family lawn chairs. In Illinois, there are a number of options to help your divorce be as conflict-free and cost effective as possible.

Mediation in Illinois A growing number of divorcing couples choose mediation. Divorcing spouses in Illinois may choose to use a mediator to help negotiate one or more aspects of their divorce. Mediation has a number of benefits, including the following:
  • Cost Benefits - The mediation process can save you money, especially compared with the prospect of an expensive, drawn-out court battle. You and your divorcing spouse may split the cost of the mediator.
  • Time Savings - Mediation offers a more rapid way to solve your divorce-related disputes than litigation. If you choose to go to court, it can take a year or more just to get a court date, and several years longer if either party appeals the decision. For couples who wish to move past the divorce as quickly as possible and start their new lives apart, mediation is an attractive option.
  • Relationship Preservation - As a less contentious forum than a courtroom, mediation offers an opportunity to negotiate a divorce while still preserving some kind of relationship with your ex-spouse. For divorcing couples who will need to have regular contact even after the divorce--for example, when future decisions will need to be made regarding the care of a child--mediation can help end the marraige on amicable terms.
  • Mutual Satisfaction - The goal of mediation is to reach an agreement that both sides can live with. This differs from the winner-take-all court system, in which each side presents an argument and then the judge decides who wins and who loses. Additionally, mediation offers an opportunity to address extra-legal issues that are not ordinarily susceptible to determination by a court. When couples play a part in negotiating their divorce agreements, they often feel happier about the results.
Even in a Mediation, You Need The Help of An Attorney Even if you choose to use a mediator to help negotiate your divorce agreement, it is essential that you speak with a skilled Illinois attorney. Those individuals who do not understand their rights in a divorce may end up disappointed and hurt from a mediation. Further, an attorney can help you select the right mediator, explain the mediation process, and even attend the mediation with you. Contact a Divorce Mediation Attorney If you are considering divorce and have questions about how to preserve your legal rights while ending your relationship with your spouse as amicably as possible, it is vital that you contact a skilled family law attorney. The professionals at Goostree Law Group are dedicated to helping individuals involved in divorce proceedings understand their rights and reach the outcomes they desire. Contact us today to schedule your free consultation. We work with families in Kane County, DuPage County, Kendall County, and many nearby communities.
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Posted on in Family Law

child abuse, Illinois family lawyer, Kane County, child abuse, lawyer, attorneyA heartbreaking story of child abuse broke early this year, on January 21st 2014, when 6000 pages of allegations against 68 Chicago priests were released to the public. Of course, the problem of abuse in the Church did not just recently surface. Accounts of child abuse date back 500 years; one of the reasons cited for the Protestant Reformation includes Martin Luther’s dismay at questionable conduct he witnessed at the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church on his first pilgrimage there. In 1517, he traveled to Rome a devout follower of the Catholic faith, and he left determined to start a movement against it. Despite the sordid side of its history, the Catholic Church is certainly not the only institution involved in such indignity – other churches, schools, daycares, colleges, residential care facilities, and private homes have all had instances of abuse.

Legal Ramifications Even where abuse cases are reported years later, brave victims may receive some solace in the public acknowledgment of the crime, and the resulting formation of better practices to reduce the number of new victims. The allegations surrounding the Chicago incidents were published online as part of a settlement agreement between the Chicago Archdiocese of the Catholic Church and attorneys of the victims. Most of these cases of abuse occurred prior the 1990 and apparently all of them were eventually reported to authorities. Part of the outrage in Chicago, similar to the scandal surrounding Jerry Sandusky at Penn State, was based on how various authorities – specifically the hierarchy in the church – handled, or mishandled, reports as they came in. In order to protect individuals and the reputation of the church as a whole, officials chose to transfer offenders to new churches as a temporary solution, and cast a blind eye where possible. Friends and family members of victims have responded strongly to this organizational conspiracy however, and the criminal laws punishing perpetrators of child abuse are significant.

In addition to being registered in the sex offender registry, convicted sexual abusers of children in Illinois can receive considerable penalties, including:

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child custody, best interest of a child, Illinois divorce, Illinois family lawyer, children of divorceA high-profile and very heated child custody battle has made headlines in recent months, underscoring the complexities of determining parental rights after a divorce or break up. The battle over the nine-month old baby of Olympic skier Bode Miller and former marine and firefighter Sara McKenna has been raising questions as to mother’s rights in custody battles.

 According to’s New Day news blog and The New York Post’s online site, Mr. Miller and Ms. McKenna met through an elite dating service and dated for a short time while in California. Ms. McKenna became pregnant during that time, and, according to her, Mr. Miller requested that she get an abortion. Ms. McKenna decided to keep the baby, and, at seven-months pregnant, decided to move to New York, where she now attends school at Columbia University. Then, in November of 2012, Mr. Miller filed for custody of the baby boy.

 A family court referee made the first call in the Miller-McKenna custody battle, and it was a controversial one. The referee ruled that Ms. McKenna had been irresponsible and that she was reprehensible for moving from California to New York while she was pregnant, and subsequently awarded custody to Mr. Miller. A New York appeals court later overturned the New York Family Court ruling, and a Manhattan Family Court judge will hear arguments from Ms. McKenna and Mr. Miller to determine child custody and visitation issues. Though it is unclear how the judge will ultimately rule, it is very apparent that both sides are pushing hard to obtain legal custody of the young boy.

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child custody 176662431During a divorce, children of the marriage may be used as pawns between the warring factions. If the divorce is amicable, the parties can work together to find a just and harmonious resolution to the issue of child custody. If not, however, the the process of determining child custody can complicate divorce proceedings, and the best interest of the child may be thrown to the wayside. It takes the experienced negotiation skills of attorneys or the intervention of the courts to determine custody.

What to Consider

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, found at 750 ILCS 5, sets forth the conditions for child custody proceedings. There are established rules for when a stepparent can file a petition for custody. There are even rules that set forth the circumstances under which a grandparent can petition for custody.

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