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Domestic And International Family Law Blog

Don't face international child custody issues alone

Parental child abduction is the worst nightmare for many separated and divorced parents. No one wants their children taken far away without permission. And if they are taken to a foreign country, there may be issues of different laws and languages as well.

Not too long ago, we described how lawyers can help parents whose children have been abducted to a foreign country. Many countries are signatories to the Hague Convention on International Child Abduction. There are processes in place to assist parents whose children have been abducted to a signatory country. Regardless of whether a country is signatory to the Hague Convention or not, it may be possible to secure the return of children through legal or political processes.

How do states' child custody laws handle parental relocations?

Parents in Illinois may be concerned that, in a custody dispute, the other parent may relocate with the child to another state and then get a favorable child custody order from that state. This was recognized as a problem years ago, so 48 of the 50 states have enacted the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act to discourage these kinds of bad-faith parental relocations. This blog post will describe the UCCJA in a little more detail.

The UCCJA has rules that govern whether a state's courts have jurisdiction to issue a child custody order. For example, a state court system will have jurisdiction if the state is the child's home state. For a state to be the child's home state, the child must have resided with a parent in the state for at least six months prior to the case being brought. Alternatively, the child can also have been residing in the state before a parent removed the child from the state.

The legal standards governing loss of parental rights

If an Illinois child is determined to be in a bad situation with their parents, the child often will go to live with relatives or be placed in foster care. In certain extreme situations, however, this may not be thought to be enough. Authorities may choose to terminate a parent's parental rights to their child. This blog post will discuss this in a little more detail.

Parents have a large number of rights and responsibilities with respect to their children. They can make decisions about the child's education, health care, religion and other basic concerns. There are situations where a court can take away these rights from a parent, however. These include abandonment, abuse or neglect of the child or of other children in the household, sexual abuse, long-term mental illness of the parent, long-term incapacity of the parent due to addiction, failure to support or maintain contact, and involuntary termination of the rights of the parent to another child.

3 Things you always wanted to know about gay marriage*

On June 26, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states. According to a 2017 Gallup poll, over 10 percent of LGBT adults are married to their same-sex partner. The result has been a marked increase in same sex marriages. Today, over 60 percent of same-sex couples who live together are married. 

With the dramatic rise in same-sex weddings, many of us are attending and even participating in these ceremonies. And some of us have questions. 

How can a lawyer help with international child custody issues?

Child custody is probably the most contentious area of family law simply because of the strong emotions that come into play. People feel very strongly about having custody of their children and raising them in a familiar environment. Now imagine that another country is involved, with its own laws and legal system. This can turn a delicate situation into an explosive one.

Illinois and other states have uniform laws that address child custody. They have the goal of discouraging parents from shopping around to find a state with custody laws and customs sympathetic to them. Unfortunately, no such system exists at the international level. Child custody decisions are usually made according to the law of the country the child is in. If a parent takes a child from Illinois to another country, the issue of child custody will probably be made according to that country's laws.

New Illinois law looks out for pets' interests in divorce cases

Illinois pet owners often do not consider their pets to be mere items of personal property. Many consider their furry friends to be like family - almost like children. Yet traditionally, pets such as dogs and cats have been regarded as items of personal property. This means in a divorce situation, judges were not encouraged to consider the best interests of the pet in making the decision as to which spouse gets to keep it. In a few cases, judges ordered the sale of a pet as if it were a house or a car.

A few states have passed laws to change this, however, and Illinois is one of these states. Last year, the state legislature passed a law that empowers judges to consider the best interest of the pet in making the decision as to who gets it.

We help couples with their prenuptial agreements

Prenuptial agreements don't really have the reputation of being the most romantic arrangement for marrying couples. Yet many couples find that prenuptial agreements are ideal for their needs. Many couples consist of people who are already financially established and who want to protect their assets for their own children and other interests. This is one of the situations where people may find a prenuptial agreement to be useful.

A few weeks ago, we discussed one of the key features of a prenuptial agreement: whether it can be changed or revoked. It can be if the parties have a written and signed agreement that does so. This means that there is a way to change or revoke a prenuptial agreement if the spouses find that conditions have changed since the prenup was signed.

2019 starts with changes in taxes and alimony

January is unofficially labeled as “divorce month” by attorneys and researchers due to spikes in divorce filings during the winter month. It is only living up to the name after Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos recently announced his divorce from his wife, Mackenzie Bezos, of 25 years.

Along will high profile separations, divorce month is experiencing changes in how former spouses address alimony payments in future tax filings under the GOP tax law.

David Schaffer selected for Super Lawyers list for the 13th year

We are pleased to announce that lead attorney, David N. Schaffer, is named to the Super Lawyers list for 2019. This list recognizes outstanding attorneys in their practice areas through anonymous peer nominations and a stringent research process. Additionally, each nominee is assessed by a rigorous panel of attorneys.

This honor is given to no more than five percent of attorneys in Illinois per year. David first was selected for the Illinois Super Lawyers list in 2007 - and has been named to the list every year since.

What can be in prenuptial agreements and can it be amended?

For some married couples in Illinois, there was a decision before the marriage to have prenuptial agreements as a protective device if the marriage failed. Even couples who did not have a prenuptial agreement prior to getting married will decide that post-nuptial agreements are necessary. This can be a confusing issue for some. With any agreement - prenuptial or postnuptial - it is important to have a basic understanding of the law and what can be in the agreement. It is also important to understand if the agreement can be amended. Having a basic grasp of these facts is wise and it is always a good idea to have legal assistance.

The prenuptial agreement can address what rights and obligations the parties have with property that they had as individuals or as a couple regardless of when it had been acquired or where it was located. It can dictate the right to purchase, sell, utilize, transfer, abandon, manage, or do anything else with the property.

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When you are ready to discuss your family law matter with an experienced lawyer, we are here for you. Call us today at 630-848-9955 or contact us online to arrange your initial consultation.

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Schaffer Family Law, Ltd.
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Naperville, IL 60563

Phone: 630-848-9955
Phone: 630-848-9955
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