Archive for the ‘Chicago family law lawyer’ tag

Seeking Visitation Rights as a Grandparent, Great-Grandparent, or Sibling

February 15th, 2015 at 4:58 pm

grandparent visitation rights, Illinois family law attorneyIllinois law allows all parents to petition the court for visitation with their children. Grandparents, great-grandparents and siblings may also petition for visitation rights under certain specific circumstances when the child’s parents unfairly deny them such rights.

The law presumes that parents make decisions regarding contact with other family members with their child’s best interests in mind. But this is not always the case.  A grandparent, great-grandparent, or sibling may rebut that presumption if he or she proves that the parent’s decision harmed the child’s physical, emotional or mental health. Some factors that the court will consider regarding this decision include:

  • The child’s wishes regarding visitation, depending upon the child’s maturity level;
  • The child’s mental and physical health;
  • The petitioner’s mental and physical health;
  • The length and quality of the relationship between the petitioner and the child;
  • The petitioner’s reasons for seeking visitation rights;
  • The amount of visitation time requested by the petitioner and how it may affect the child’s normal activities;
  • Whether the petitioner resided with the child or was the child’s primary caretaker for at least six consecutive months;
  • Whether the petitioner had regular contact with the child for at least 12 consecutive months; and
  • Whether denying visitation would harm the child’s mental, physical or emotional health..

Petitioning for Visitation Rights

When a parent unreasonably denies visitation to a grandparent, great-grandparent or sibling, these individuals may petition for visitation rights if at least one of the following circumstances exists:

  • The child’s other parent is dead or has been reported missing for at least three months;
  • A parent has been deemed legally incompetent;
  • A parent was incarcerated during the three-month period before the family member filed the petition;
  • The parents are divorced, legally separated, or in the midst of a court proceeding involving custody and at least one parent does not object to visitation;
  • The child’s parents were not married when the child was born, the parents do not live together and the petitioner is related to the mother; or
  • The child’s parents were not married when the child was born, the parents do not live together, and the petitioner is related to the father who has established paternity through the court.

Note that visitation rights granted to a grandparent, great-grandparent or sibling cannot diminish the visitation rights of the unrelated parent.

If you are a grandparent, great-grandparent or sibling seeking visitation rights denied to you by the child’s parents, contact one of our family law lawyers in Chicago today. Anderson & Associates, P.C. can help you file a successful petition seeking visitation rights. Contact us for a free initial consultation. We can assist those from our offices in Schaumburg, Wheaton, Northbrook, Orland Park and downtown Chicago.

Divorce Filings Found to Increase at the Beginning of the Year

January 22nd, 2015 at 10:33 am

divorce filings at New Years, Chicago divorce lawyerThe decision to end a marriage is rarely an easy one. The process can be complicated for many couples and the effects are usually far-reaching. While the difficulty of divorce is typically not a surprise, many couples choose to wait until the winter holiday season has ended to initiate the proceedings. Following a relatively quiet December, many court systems see a spike in divorce filings each January, beginning a new season for divorce which usually lasts through March.

“It doesn’t look very good to sue your spouse for divorce on Christmas Eve,” said James McLaren, South Carolina attorney and president of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML). Although it may be evident that divorce is on the horizon, many couples give their children one last holiday season as an intact family before filing.

To some couples, the holidays may represent a last-chance effort at saving the marriage before deciding to file for divorce. Others approach the life change as a type of New Year’s resolution. In many cases, choosing to file early in the New Year will result in the proceedings being concluded by the end of the year. Not only will this allow couples to transition more quickly into the next stage of their lives, it also allows for some tax benefits.

Following a relatively booming January, divorce filings typically remain at a high rate for the next several months, usually peaking in March. Throughout the spring, many family law offices report a fairly consistent pace before tailing off again during the summer “vacation” months.

If you have been considering divorce and are ready to begin the process in 2015, you deserve qualified representation. Contact an experienced family law attorney in Chicago today. At Anderson & Associates, P.C., we can review your situation and provide you the help you need. Call 312-345-9999 to schedule a free consultation at our Chicago office or to make an appointment at one of our four other offices located in Northbrook, Wheaton, Schaumburg, or Orland Park.

Illinois Supreme Court Considering “Rules of the Road” in Child Custody Dispute

January 21st, 2015 at 5:46 pm

child custody dispute, Illinois divorce attorneysLast November, the Illinois Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a child custody dispute. While it might seem unusual for the state’s highest court to wade into such proceedings, this case was different. Here are the facts:

The husband filed for divorce in 2013 and sought joint custody of the couple’s three daughters. (Remember that when parents have joint custody they share the legal authority to make decisions regarding their child’s upbringing.) The wife filed her own divorce petition. She also sought joint custody but asked for sole custody if they failed to agree on a joint arrangement.

Court Restricts Parents’ Behavior

The court appointed an attorney to represent the children’s interests. Note that Illinois adheres to the best interests standards, meaning that custody, visitation and similar decisions must be made according to the best interests of the child. To that end, the children’s attorney submitted what is known as a “rules of the road” order. The order laid out guidelines restricting the parents’ behavior while in their children’s presence. It included, for example, a non-disparagement clause to prevent the parents from making negative comments about one another.

The husband asked for minor changes to the order, but the wife objected to the order in its entirety and appealed it claiming it was an injunction (a judicial order that restricts a person’s behavior). The appellate court dismissed her appeal, holding that the order was not an injunction, and therefore the appellate court did not have jurisdiction to hear the case. Specifically, the court reasoned that:

  • The order only controlled the parties’ behavior during the custody proceeding and would not apply once the court entered a final judgment;
  • Contrary to the wife’s assertions, the court order was not an injunction but rather a legitimate exercise of the court’s broad authority to protect the best interest of the children; and
  • The order did not have to be supported by an affidavit, which would have been required if the order was an injunction.

The Wife’s Appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court

The wife has appealed the ruling to the Illinois Supreme Court. She is arguing that the appellate court’s decision should be reversed because it would allow trial courts to restrict parental rights without subjecting such restrictions to appellate review. However, the fact that the divorce has been finalized presents an interesting procedural hurdle to the wife’s appeal. It is possible the court will rule that the case is moot. In other words, the court might not decide the substantive question (whether the “rules of the road” order was procedurally deficient) because the underlying case has already been resolved.

Our family law attorneys in Chicago stay up-to-date on the latest developments in Illinois family law. Contact Anderson & Associates, P.C. today if you have any questions regarding the current lay of the land in divorce or child custody. At Anderson & Associates, P.C., we have decades of experience helping clients from our five regional offices in Schaumburg, Wheaton, Northbrook, Orland Park, and downtown Chicago. Call 312-345-9999 to schedule a free consultation today.