Illinois Bar Journal

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Articles on Family Law

“This is why we become lawyers”: the Watkins counsel speak By Helen W. Gunnarsson June 2011 LawPulse, Page 280 Lawyers talk about the challenges and rewards of representing parties to the highly charged, nationally publicized Watkins visitation case.
A Guide to the New Illinois Civil Union Law By Richard A. Wilson May 2011 Article, Page 232 Beginning June 1, Illinois' civil union law confers most of the rights of marriage on parties to a civil union. But federal prohibitions impose important limits. Find out how the new law works.
Court-ordered mental health reports not confidential under IMDMA By Helen W. Gunnarsson April 2011 LawPulse, Page 174 Unlike those issued by treating caregivers, mental-health reports ordered by the court under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act are not confidential, the supreme court rules.
Don’ts for Divorcing Parents By H. Joseph Gitlin April 2011 Column, Page 210 Lawyers should help clients keep children beyond the fray.
Vailas: An Ill-Conceived Limit on Modifying Child Support Orders By Professor Jeffrey A. Parness March 2011 Column, Page 160 While Vailas' goal of protecting nonresidents is laudable, the approach it took commands too high a price.
Changing Custody: The Cards are Stacked Against the Movant By H. Joseph Gitlin January 2011 Column, Page 50 Once made, a custody determination is hard to reverse.
Maintenance, Support, and Underemployed Payors By Burton S. Hochberg and Kimberly A. Cook January 2011 Article, Page 24 Is your client's ex unwilling to get work or deliberately taking a lesser-paying job to avoid paying support or maintenance? Here are resources and remedies you need to know about.
ABCs for GALs By Helen W. Gunnarsson November 2010 Article, Page 572 You'd like to serve as a GAL, child rep, or attorney for the child - how do you play this important but challenging role? Seasoned lawyers offer dos, don'ts, and tips.
Is a Not-Yet-Paid Contingent Fee Marital Property? By H. Joseph Gitlin October 2010 Column, Page 542 A divorcing lawyer has earned a big fee but hasn't been paid. Is the fee award marital property?
Family law software: not exempt from the rules of evidence By Helen W. Gunnarsson August 2010 LawPulse, Page 394 Make sure you understand how support calculators work before relying on their results, and don't forget to lay a foundation for the report if you seek to enter it into evidence.
Taking Charge in Matrimonial Cases By H. Joseph Gitlin April 2010 Column, Page 216 The winning lawyer is usually the one who takes the initiative.
Collateral estoppel does not apply to release of mental health records if prior action related to relevance of records, but not possible violations stemming from release of those records. January 2010 Illinois Law Update, Page 16 On October 23, 2009, the Illinois Appellate Court, Fifth District, affirmed in part and reversed in part the decision of the Circuit Court of St. Clair County to grant defendant's motion to dismiss a complaint relating to the release of mental health records in a divorce proceeding. 
Real Ethics and Courtesy for Divorce Lawyers By H. Joseph Gitlin January 2010 Column, Page 52 Not all ethical rules appear in the Rules of Professional Conduct.
New statute clarifies family law attorney-fee provisions By Helen W. Gunnarsson October 2009 LawPulse, Page 490 A new law drafted by ISBA’s Family Law Section Council should bring some order to Illinois’s confusing, inconsistent scheme for awarding attorney fees in family law cases.
Urban Legends About Family Law By H. Joseph Gitlin October 2009 Column, Page 528 Think men don't get custody or maintenance? Think again.
Changing Pension Beneficiaries After Divorce: It’s More Important After Kennedy By Leon I. Finkel and Hailee R. Bloom September 2009 Article, Page 462 Now ex-spouses must change the beneficiary designation after divorce or risk inadvertently enriching their former partners.
Marital and Nonmarital Property: Calculating Reimbursements Under the IMDMA By Roman J. Seckel August 2009 Article, Page 412 A spouse's nonmarital estate can be reimbursed for contributions to the marital estate - and vice versa - but determining the value of those contributions can be tricky.
An Illinois Lawyer’s Guide to Community Property By Inna Pullin July 2009 Article, Page 360 In our mobile society, lawyers in common-law jurisdictions like Illinois can’t afford to be ignorant of community property basics.
Maintenance and the Marital Standard of Living By H. Joseph Gitlin July 2009 Column, Page 370 Here’s a formula for determining maintenance that reflects the standard of living during marriage.
Faster resolution urged for custody, SLAPP suits By Helen W. Gunnarsson June 2009 LawPulse, Page 278 At a recent hearing, the supreme court rules committee was asked to speed disposition of child custody proceedings and SLAPP suits.
Declaratory Judgments and Premarital Agreements: In re Marriage of Best By Celia Guzaldo Gamrath April 2009 Article, Page 188 With Best, the Illinois Supreme Court allows before-trial declaratory judgments to determine the validity of a premarital agreement.
Rules committee hears criminal law, family law, civil practice proposals By Helen W. Gunnarsson April 2009 LawPulse, Page 168 The supreme court rules committee heard proposals to require consular notification for foreign nationals, to change child custody rules, and to require additional notice to opposing counsel.
“Standard Visitation” and the Best Interest of the Child By Scott A. Lerner March 2009 Article, Page 138 Courts too often grant every-other-weekend visitation without considering the advantages of more generous alternatives, the author argues.
Live-in Partners and the “No Impact” Rule By H. Joseph Gitlin January 2009 Column, Page 50 Courts no longer per se prohibit live-in partners for unmarried custodians.
Asked and Answered November 2008 Column, Page 592 Can an adopted child inherit from a biological parent?
Do We Still Need Grounds for Divorce? By H. Joseph Gitlin October 2008 Column, Page 534 They don't mean much in the age of no-fault divorce.
Is There Marital Property Before Divorce? So Sayeth Takata By Reuben A. Bernick October 2008 Article, Page 512 Can an ex-wife recover post-decree arrearages of child support from the separately owned assets of the obligor father's new wife? The appellate court says "yes." Plus, read Christine Takata's take on this much talked-about ruling.
Profitable Family Law Practice By H. Joseph Gitlin July 2008 Column, Page 368 Build your family law practice by knowing your stuff and getting your name out.
A Family Law Toolbox By H. Joseph Gitlin April 2008 Column, Page 214 A list of resources worth keeping at your fingertips.
Grandparent visitation cannot infringe on non-related parent’s visitation time April 2008 Illinois Law Update, Page 180 On February 4, 2008, the Illinois Appellate Court, Fifth District, affirmed the judgment of the circuit court allowing grandparent visitation but ordering that the visitation shall not diminish the time during which the mother currently has the child.