Publications

Articles on Family Law

Spousal maintenance guidelines become law in Illinois

By Mark S. Mathewson
September
2014
LawPulse
Page 418
A new law, effective January 1, removes uncertainty from most maintenance decisions by creating a formula for determining the size and duration of awards.

Compliance with section 607(e) of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act renders constitutional challenges moot

August
2014
Illinois Law Update
Page 372
On May 22, 2014, the Illinois Supreme Court found that a constitutional challenge to section 607(e) of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (the "Act") became moot when the affected parent established compliance with the statute. See 750 ILCS 5/607(e).

Same-Sex Marriage Comes to Illinois

By Richard A. Wilson
August
2014
Article
Page 384
Illinois' new same-sex marriage law leaves in place the Civil Union Act and provides for voluntary conversion of civil unions to marriages, among other important changes.

A Family Lawyer’s Guide to Tending Client Relationships

By Janan Hanna
May
2014
Article
Page 224
Choosing the right clients and managing their expectations may be the two most important jobs for any family law practitioner.

Divorce Corp misses the mark, lawyers say

By Janan Hanna
April
2014
LawPulse
Page 162
An angry documentary misrepresents the family court system and the judges, lawyers, and others who work there, ISBA family law practitioners say.

Family law rewrite still brewing in the General Assembly

By Janan Hanna
April
2014
LawPulse
Page 162
A proposed 300-page overhaul of Illinois' decades-old marriage and divorce act remains alive in the legislature and continues to evolve in response to stakeholders' concerns.

Pet Custody

April
2014
Column
Page 197
Here's what to do for divorcing partners who love their pet but not each other.

New rules affecting adoptions

February
2014
Illinois Law Update
Page 68
Section 5 of the Adoption Act has been amended to expand the definition of "intercountry adoption" and of "preadoption requirements."

Child care rights of first refusal awarded to separated parents

January
2014
Illinois Law Update
Page 16
Newly added section 602.3 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act provides that if a court determines joint custody or visitation rights to be the best arrangement for a child under section 602.1 or section 607 respectively, then the court may further consider, as consistent with the child's best interests, awarding one or both of the parents the right of first refusal to provide child care for the minor child during the other parent's allotted parenting time.

Supreme court requires strict compliance for garnishment notices

By Adam W. Lasker
January
2014
LawPulse
Page 10
Serving a withholding notice on a child-support obligor's employer? Make sure to include the required information (think social security number) or the employer won't be forced to comply.

Who Pays for Unallocated College Expenses After Divorce?

By Roman J. Seckel
January
2014
Article
Page 28
What happens when a child of divorce's college tuition bill comes due and the parties didn't specify who pays? The language in the divorce decree can make all the difference.

Advance payment retainers in dissolution of marriage cases are subject to disgorgement

December
2013
Illinois Law Update
Page 612
On October 3, 2013, the Illinois Supreme Court held that advance payment retainers paid in dissolution of marriage cases are subject to disgorgement pursuant to the "leveling of the playing field" rules in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (the "Act").

Same-sex marriage comes to Illinois

By Adam W. Lasker
December
2013
LawPulse
Page 606
At presstime, Governor Quinn was poised to sign the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act into law.

Discretionary bonus accrued during marriage but issued after dissolution of marriage is not marital property

November
2013
Illinois Law Update
Page 560
On August 16, 2013, the First District Appellate Court held that a nonvested discretionary bonus accrued during a marriage, but received after entry of a judgment of dissolution of the marriage, was not marital property.

Divorcing spouses must share the cost of attorney fees - even fees already paid

By Adam W. Lasker
November
2013
LawPulse
Page 554
The Illinois Supreme Court holds that a financially strapped divorcing wife can require her husband's lawyer to turn over already-paid fees to help finance her own legal expenses.

The Myth of the Rebuttable Presumption for Loss of Society in Wrongful Death Cases

By Michael P. Cogan
November
2013
Article
Page 582
A recent case illustrates that in claims for loss of society in wrongful death cases, the rebuttable presumption of a substantial pecuniary loss is sometimes illusory.

Will Rule 138 privacy provisions be changed before taking effect?

By Adam W. Lasker
November
2013
LawPulse
Page 554
The ISBA supports changes to Rule 138's soon-to-be effective limitations on disclosure of personal identity information in response to concerns raised by divorce lawyers and others.

‘Wrongful Birth’ Plaintiffs Can Recover for Emotional Distress

By Christopher T. Hurley and Mark R. McKenna
November
2013
Article
Page 580
A recent Illinois Supreme Court decision holds that parents can recover for emotional distress if they win a claim for negligent genetic counseling, even if they suffered no direct physical injury.

Correspondence from Our Readers

October
2013
Column
Page 494
More on recorders and red-flagging; Bankruptcy and divorce.

Current version of family law overhaul bill gets mixed reviews

By Adam W. Lasker
September
2013
LawPulse
Page 446
A proposed major rewrite of Illinois' 35-year-old Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act has some ISBA matrimonial lawyers feeling encouraged and others concerned.

The Supreme Court DOMA Ruling, Civil Unions, and Same-Sex Marriage in Illinois

By Ray Prather and Padraig McCoid
September
2013
Article
Page 460
The U.S. Supreme Court's DOMA case opens the door to an array of federal benefits for same-sex married couples. But Illinoisans won't enjoy its full advantages, the authors argue.

Three Rules for Drafting Marital Settlement Agreements in Anticipation of Bankruptcy

By Matthew M. Benson
September
2013
Article
Page 474
These three rules can help keep your work for a divorcing client from being undone when one of the parties files for bankruptcy.

Custodial parent entitled to percentage of lump-sum workers’ compensation settlement as child support

August
2013
Illinois Law Update
Page 392
Howard Mayfield ("Mayfield") and Shannon Dykes ("Dykes") divorced in 2003. Dykes received primary custody of their two children, and Mayfield was ordered to pay $158.50 per week in child support.

Supreme court delays Rule 138 personal identity information provisions

By Adam W. Lasker
August
2013
LawPulse
Page 386
The supreme court delayed rule changes on personal identity information that some family law practitioners worry will force them to choose between the rule and conflicting statutes.

Facebook: What Family Lawyers Should Know

By Adam C. Kibort
July
2013
Article
Page 344
A look at Facebook-related issues that arise during divorce and suggestions for advising your clients.

DCFS cannot define “neglect” with language removed by the legislature

June
2013
Illinois Law Update
Page 284
On March 21, 2013, the Illinois Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the appellate court and held that the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services ("DCFS") did not have authority to charge someone with an offense that defined "neglect" using language that had previously been deleted by the legislature in the Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act ("ANCPA").

Divorce Without Discovery: A New Landmine in Marital Litigation

By Reuben A. Bernick
May
2013
Article
Page 238
A recent case holds that if you don't conduct formal discovery in your divorce case, you may lose the right to reopen the judgment after it's entered, even to seek assets that weren't disclosed.

Illinois Supreme Court recognizes doctrine of equitable adoption

By Adam W. Lasker
May
2013
LawPulse
Page 222
If parents treat a child they have not legally adopted as their own, he can pursue an inheritance even in the absence of their express or implied contract to adopt him, the high court rules.

Additional information required in a report on the death or life-threatening injury of a child. PA 097-1068

April
2013
Illinois Law Update
Page 176
The Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act has been amended to require that copies of the materials used by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, in their investigation of the death or life-threatening injury of a child, be provided in their report. 325 ILCS 5/4.2.

Predicting Maintenance Awards

By H. Joseph Gitlin
April
2013
Column
Page 206
A look at all divorce cases affirming maintenance since 1977.

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