Monthly Archives: September 2014
Parental alienation syndrome is a growing concern paralleling the rise of divorce and children born out of wedlock over the past few decades. This relatively new phenomenon has spiked major disputes from both the legal and psychological communities as to how to identify and manage the condition.
Parental alienation syndrome (PAS) is considered “brainwashing” because one parent will routinely talk about the other parent to the child in a derogatory manner to the point that the child begins to harbor the same beliefs. This manipulative behavior can be highly destructive and can cause long-term detriment to parent/child relationships. It can also have a negative impact on the child’s psychological development.
Sole custody in Illinois is generally defined as one parent being the primary decision maker for the minor child or children on the areas of: medical, education and religion. If you have sole custody, you most likely have the authority to make important decisions pertaining to your child’s life without having to consult with or obtain permission from the other parent. Joint custody in Illinois, on the other hand, provides both parents with decision making authority. As such, joint custody requires communication, collaboration, and compromise.
One of the biggest topics in family law is the issue of child custody. It’s fair to say that almost all parents unequivocally want the best for their children. Regardless of this fact, parents continue to have difficulties or inabilities to agree on important matters involving the well being of their children. When such instances arise that negatively affect the child, usually one parent will file for sole custody. There are very specific guidelines governing the issue of sole custody in Illinois. This blog post outlines the main parameters a judge takes into consideration when awarding custody. Child custody cases center around how well each parent can work alongside the other to achieve beneficial results for the child[ren]. Some things that are taken into account are: medical decisions, religion, education, extracurricular activities, the extended family and the child’s emotional and financial well being. If the parent’s viewpoints’ collide on the three major areas: medical, education and religion, sole custody is generally sought and awarded.
There are typically two instances in which people attend mediation: voluntarily to settle a dispute outside of court or as a result of court ordered mediation. In family law, mediation is most often utilized as an alternative to litigating issues before a judge. If the parties are unsuccessful in finding a resolution during mediation, returning to court is most often the next step.
If you have been notified of court ordered mediation you must attend. Any child custody or child visitation case filed in the Circuit Court of Cook County, whether through a divorce or parentage action, courts mandate parties to attend mediation unless the parties are able to reach an agreement on their own. Nevertheless, in certain instances, such as cases involving domestic violence, substance abuse, mental illness or child abuse, a judge has the authority to keep the parties out of mediation. Furthermore, if circumstances are presented that the parties should not be in close proximity, such as one having an order of protection against the other, mediation would not be considered a viable option.
Establishing paternity in Illinois is generally very straightforward and easily outlined. Under Illinois law, if the parents were married at the time of the birth of the child, then the wife’s husband is legally presumed to be the father of the child. If the parents were not married when the child was born, paternity must be established.
If the parents were not married, then the biological father is NOT considered to be the parent until paternity is legally established. Whether the father plans to marry the mother of the child the next day, or never speaks to her again, paternity still must be established in order to create a legally-binding father-child relationship.
Regardless of whether you will be participating in mediation on a voluntary basis or through a court order, it is important to maximize your time to achieve the most desirable outcome. Even though mediation is a collaborative effort intended to bestow mutual accord, this does not mean it will be smooth sailing, or even that any agreements will be made. Successful mediation requires a lot more than two opposing sides sitting in a room, here’s how to get the most out of it:
Come to mediation with a plan…
A mediator can facilitate an agreement between two parties. A mediator also provides a bipartisan outlook and professional recommendations that you may have not been able to recognize through your own clouded judgments and predispositions. But most importantly a mediator can save you money! Mediators are arguably the most cost effective legal alternative to civil litigation.
Have you ever heard the saying, “the power of the people?” The same intrinsically applies to the concept of mediation. In mediation, the mediator assists in setting the tone, gathers both sides of the equation and tries to find a middle ground to satisfy both parties. Skilled mediators have the ability to understand the root cause of hate/hurt/helplessness and turn it into happiness.
Recent changes to Illinois legislation regarding spousal support will be making a huge impact on the finances of divorcing couples. Previously, the laws were relatively vague offering major discretion to judges on the “if’s and when’s” and how much spousal support should be paid and for how long.
Effective January 2015, more formal guidelines will allocate spousal support. The two main changes are as follows:
1. The amount of spousal support (1) shall be calculated by taking 30% of the payor’s gross income minus 20% of the payee’s gross income. The amount calculated as maintenance, however, when added to the gross income of the payee, may not result in the payee receiving an amount that is in excess of 40% of the combined gross income of the parties.