Publications

Articles on Family Law

Court affirms award of attorney’s fees in dissolution of marriage case

October
2011
Illinois Law Update
Page 496
The court found that, despite Petitioner Kristina Baniak's claims, the lower court had subject matter jurisdiction to hear the case regarding attorney's fees and that Baniak had waived all other issues raised in her appeal.

A Judge’s Obligation to Learn the Law

By H. Joseph Gitlin
October
2011
Column
Page 537
Judicial discretion gives judges tremendous power - and a heavy responsibility.

Adoption law pointers

By Helen W. Gunnarsson
September
2011
LawPulse
Page 434
The August Child Law Section newsletter includes an adoption law legislation roundup and helps lawyers help clients find birth parents and readopt after surrendering parental rights.

A Divorce Lawyer’s Guide to the Illinois Fraudulent Transfer Act

By Andrew R. Schwartz, Thomas J. Kanyock, & Karen Jeffreys
September
2011
Article
Page 462
Sometimes a dissipation-of-assets claim under the IMDMA isn't enough when a recalcitrant spouse hides assets. Never fear - the Illinois Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act is here.

Adoption in the Sunshine: Illinois’ Disclosure Law for Adult Adoptees

By Paul A. Rodrigues
August
2011
Article
Page 414
A look at the Illinois law that reverses years of presumptive confidentiality and gives adult adoptees access to their original birth certificates.

Marital Property: Making the Pie Larger

By Professor H. Joseph Gitlin
July
2011
Column
Page 367
Employer-based health insurance should be treated as marital property.

“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

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 & 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

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 & 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.

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