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Rockford IL Family Law Blog

What is parental alienation and what can be done about it?, P.2

In our last post, we began looking at the topic of parental alienation and how parents can address it. Parental alienation can, of course, be very harmful to children, and it is therefore a concern of the court when a parent displays behaviors which suggest he or she is attempting to turn a child against the other parent or negatively impact the child’s relationship with the other parent.

When a parent is engaging in parental alienation, an important remedy that can be taken is to seek modification of the custody or visitation order. Courts are allowed under state law to restrict parental responsibilities when it is proven more likely than not that a parent is engaging in behaviors which “seriously endangers a child’s mental, moral, or physical health or hat significantly impair[s] the child’s emotional development. 

Paper offers guidance to fertility clinics on contracts involving frozen embryo rights

Creating a human life is a profound act, and one that can create a lot of legal complications when done in the lab. The use of artificial reproductive technologies, while allowing couples to exercise increased control over their ability to procreate, can result in difficult legal issues when disagreements later arise.

A recently published paper which looked at the issue highlighted how case law dealing with ownership rights over frozen embryos leave a lot to be desired in terms of clarity. That paper also recommended a variety of measures that can be taken both by couples and clinics to reduce legal problems when fertilized embryos are frozen. 

What is parental alienation and what can be done about it?

In our last post, we began looking at the importance of cooperation between parents in making a proposed child custody arrangement work. As we noted, the ability to cooperate is an important factor in determining whether a proposed custody arrangement is in the best interests of the child, and it can also seriously impact how involved a court may become in custody matters after an initial custody decision is made.

One unfortunate way lack of cooperation can sometimes play out between couples is in parental alienation. In particularly contentious separations, one or both parents may engage in behavior and speech which serves to turn the affections of a child away from the other parent. When this happens, it isn’t only the other parent who suffers, but also the child. 

What is parental alienation and what can be done about it?

One of the biggest concerns couples with children bring to divorce is how to address custody and parenting time issues so that the children’s needs are addressed and the divorce has as little negative impact as possible. Cooperation between both parents is essential for this, regardless of what parenting time arrangement is ultimately approved.

Cooperation is, of course, not something every divorcing couple has in spades, and custody cases may be handled differently when parents are unable to cooperate. Under Illinois law, one of the factors judges take into consideration when determining whether to approve a parenting time arrangement is the ability of the parents to cooperate in making shared decisions regarding their children. 

Pre-Father’s Day rally calls attention to potential bias in family court

Bias against fathers was one of the themes of a gathering of divorce parents in Lake County on Friday in Waukegan. The event, organized by a group called Illinois for Parental Equality, was aimed at raising awareness of parental rights and promoting reform in the family court system so that divorced fathers have more access to their children.

It is well established nowadays that having a continued relationship with both parents after divorced is ordinarily best for children. This is why it is unfortunate that over the past five years the rate of children who live without their father has been at 27.5 percent, a number which is significantly higher than it was 50 years ago.

Why work with an experienced attorney in divorce? P.2

Last time, we began looking at a smartphone app marketed as helping those considering divorce to cut out the involvement of attorneys in the early stages of divorce, which is sometimes called divorce planning. Without actually taking a look at the app and seeing the features of the program and the kind of advice and direction it is giving, it is hard to make judgments about it.

We will caution readers, though, against the mentality that an attorney may be helpful in divorce, but not necessary. The purpose of working with an attorney is not to add another layer of cost and complexity to the divorce process, but to ensure your rights are represented in divorce and that you have guidance navigating the process. 

Surviving summer while co-parenting

Now that summer is upon us and most children are out of school for the year (or will be very soon), many families are preparing for some dramatic schedule changes. This is tough enough even if you are still married, as parents must make arrangements to have childcare for their younger children during the workday, enroll the children in activities or camps, or plan summer outings for enrichment and to keep the kids occupied over the long days ahead.

If you are divorced, summer break sometimes reaches a whole new level of challenge, however. Summer can bring custody or residence changes, a huge break in routine for vacations and trips and other schedule fluctuation that adults handle with ease but can be very stressful for children.

Why work with an experienced attorney in divorce? P.1

A do-it-yourself approach can work for some people for some things. Maybe you want to add a deck to your home, or do some landscaping, or remodel your bathroom. Maybe you want to build a homemade outrigger for your kayak or make your own organic toothpaste. Taking the DIY route for such matters can work out well for some, particularly when the risk of loss, injury or failure isn’t that significant and the individual contemplating the project is reasonably competent or capable.

In matters where the risk of loss or failure is great and the individual his little competence, a DIY approach may not be the best way to go. In legal matters such as divorce, going it without an attorney may be tempting to some because of the potential cost savings. This is part of the driving force behind an app developed by two women from the U.K. known as Amicable. 

Looking at the rules governing premarital agreements, P.2

In our previous post, we began looking at some of legal rules governing prenuptial agreements here in Illinois. As we noted, prenuptial agreements must be set forth in writing and signed by both parties. We also pointed out that premarital agreements may not deal with certain matters, but that there are a lot of possibilities in terms of what couples are allowed to address.

In addition to the disposition of property at divorce or upon the occurrence of some other event, premarital agreements may also deal with the management and control of property, during the marriage, as well as the rights and obligations of each party with regard to any of the property acquired by either or both parties during the marriage. This can be particularly important for a party who enters a marriage with a business or other property he or she wants to control him- or herself. 

Looking at the rules governing premarital agreements, P.1

Last time, we looked briefly at some of the factors Illinois courts consider in the division of property. As we noted, courts do take into account the terms of any marital or premarital agreements dealing with property matters. Such agreements, of course, are quite common among celebrities and the wealthy, but they can also be useful for those of more modest wealth.

State law defines prenuptial agreements as “agreements between prospective spouses made in contemplation of marriage and to be effective upon marriage.” Because the agreement is made in contemplation of marriage, the ordinary contractual requirement of “consideration”, which is the quid pro qui aspect of contracts, is not required. There are certain formalities and rules that must be followed with premarital agreements, though, for them to be valid. 

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