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b2ap3_thumbnail_court-gavel-judge-jurisdiction.jpgThe application and enforcement of the law can be very complex in many situations. This can be especially true in cases related to allocated parental responsibilities—formerly child custody—and parenting time, or visitation. One of the fundamental principles of law is the concept of jurisdiction, which refers to the authority that a particular county, state, or federal court system maintains over the parties and the subject matter of the case in question. Only a court with appropriate jurisdiction can make decisions and enter orders in accordance with applicable statutes.

In some situations, jurisdiction may be fairly straightforward. For example, if you live in DuPage County, and were injured in an accident near your home caused by another resident of DuPage County, you probably realize that the DuPage County circuit court has jurisdiction over your case, and your claim should be made there. In other cases, however, jurisdiction may not seem quite so clear, at least to the average citizen. One such example can be found in the area of family law. If your parenting plan and parental responsibilities orders were entered in Illinois, and you decide to move out of state, which state has continuing jurisdiction over your family’s case?  Fortunately, there are laws in place to address this exact scenario.

Relocation and Substantial Change in Circumstances


new law, Senate Bill 57, Kane County Family LawyersLawmakers in Illinois recently sent Governor Bruce Rauner a bill that would make a number of sweeping changes to a number of family law provisions in the State. The legislation takes aim at several different family-related concerns including parental relocation regulations, child custody agreements and spousal maintenance issues. It will also significantly impact divorce proceedings around the State in two primary ways.

Irreconcilable Differences

Known currently as Senate Bill 57, the new law, if enacted, would eliminate the at-fault grounds for divorce from the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. As a result, every divorce would be handled as a no-fault divorce on the grounds of irreconcilable differences. A large number of Illinois divorces already cite irreconcilable differences under the existing law, and, by law, fault cannot be considered in property division or spousal maintenance proceedings anyway. The proposed law would simply remove fault grounds such as infidelity, impotence, and physical cruelty as an option in divorce.


visitation, child custody, Illinois Family LawyerThere is no question that it is very difficult for a single parent to raise a child. If you have been granted sole custody of your child, you understand exactly how hard it can be. You also probably realize the challenge of working with your child’s other parent over his or her rights to visitation. Despite the difficulties, however, it is in the best interest of most children to have an active, healthy relationship with both parents, regardless of the custody situation.

Visitation Rights in Illinois

Illinois law states that any non-custodial parent is entitled to the right of reasonable visitation with his or her child, without regard to the relationship between the parents. There is no set standard for what the law considers reasonable visitation, so each situation must be addressed on an individual basis, in light of the child’s best interest. A parent’s visitation rights may be limited and, in rare cases, terminated, but only if evidence exists that the child’s physical, mental, emotional, or moral well-being is seriously endangered.


People often consider pets to be family members.  That deep affection means that cats and dogs can be sore subjects during divorce cases.  Who should have custody of the family pet when they family has split?  The fact is that legally, pets are often looked at as property when dividing assets during a divorce.  There are certain facts that can be influence the decision of where Fido ends up.

The owner of the pet is often given precedence in any pet custody case.  It is similar to the determination of separate property or marital property.   If the pet was purchased before the marriage, then it may be considered a separate asset not subject to division.  But the initial purchase won’t be the only way to pay for a pet; there are also considerations about who pays for the pet&s food and medical expenses.

The other way that custody is decided is based on who provides care for the animal, much like when determining child custody.  That could mean that the person who takes the animal to the vet or the person who takes the animal for walks can have an easier time claiming pet custody.  Another way to show who the primary caregiver of a pet is who cares for the animal during the split.


Posted on in Child Custody

In recent years, people are marrying later in life.  Or they have health issues that make it harder to conceive a child.  In order not to miss out on creating a family, they review different options for expanding their families if they cannot do so naturally.  Some options include adoption and surrogacy.

Surrogacy requires a third party to carry a fertilized egg to term for a couple who can&t have a child of their own.  Traditional surrogacy requires the surrogate to provide their genetic material to create the baby.  The sperm can be provided by the intended parent or by a third party donor.  Gestational surrogacy does not require the surrogate to supply an egg so there is no relation between the surrogate and the baby.  Both kinds of surrogacy require a legal contract to ensure transference of custody after the birth.

Surrogacy has gained popularity lately, partially due to the number of celebrities who have used the process to become parents like Jimmy Fallon, Elton John and Nicole Kidman.  But it has also gained esteem in Illinois because of the Gestational Surrogacy Act of 2005.  So much so that couples come from around the United States and Europe to have their surrogate births in Illinois to benefit from the pro-surrogacy climate.  The major benefit of the Gestational Surrogacy Act is that it transfers parentage immediately after birth which eliminates the need to visit adoption court and eliminates a possible custody battle with the surrogate.


USA Today recently reported on a Virginia custody battle involving a 29 year-old woman with Down syndrome. Margaret "Jenny" Hatch has been involved in the custody battle with her parents for a year, but a Newport News judge rejected the guardianship petition that Hatch’s parents had filed, which would have allowed them to keep her in a group home against her wishes.

KerryHatch had been working for five years at a thrift shop owned by Kelly Morris and Jim Talbert. In March 2012, Hatch was injured in a bicycle accident and the couple took her into their home to recover. Two and half months later, the couple say they allowed a caseworker with the Hampton-Newport News Community Services Board to take Hatch to a group home because they believed it was the only way she’d qualify for a Medicaid waiver. The waiver would entitle her to many in-home and community-based services. On Aug. 6, after the Medicaid waiver was approved, Hatch returned to live with Morris and Talbert.

Two days later, Hatch’s mother and step-father filed for guardianship. Hatch’s mother and stepfather requested guardianship, as well as the right to make decisions about her life, such as where she lives, what medical treatment she receives and who she can see. They were happy with her in a group home setting, which they believed offered the safest environment.


Posted on in Divorce

Jonathan Sporn, a 54 year-old pharmaceuticals executive, and his partner Leann Leutner, a lawyer, were living together in New York City when they decided to start a family. They sought the assistance of an anonymous sperm donor, and last July, Leutner gave birth to a healthy boy.

In December, Leutner took the baby and moved to New Jersey. Tragically, on New Year’s Day, Leutner, who had struggled with postpartum depression, committed suicide. The New York Times has reported that there had been previous attempts to take her own life and a long history of psychological difficulty made worse by the postpartum depression.

3.27.13.Kerry. Taub .DivBut because of the couple’s unmarried status, Child Protective Services didn’t recognize Sporn as the baby’s father and placed the baby in foster care. Sporn has filed a petition for custody of the baby, as has Leutner’s sister, who lives in Illinois. The court has deemed that both homes are appropriate for the baby, and yet he is still in a New York City foster home until the court decides who should have custody.

Illinois State Bar Association DuPage County Bar Association Northwest Suburban Bar Association American Inns of Court DuPage Association of Woman Lawyers National Association of Woman Business Owners Illinois Association Criminal Defense Lawyers DuPage County Criminal Defense Lawyers Association
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