Illinois Divorce and Family Law Weblog

Helping You and Your Family get through DivorceSM.
Weblog of DuPage County Attorney Raiford D. Palmer, focusing on divorce and family law.
(Copyright© 2005-2008 by Raiford D. Palmer. All rights reserved.) This blog is for advertising only and the contents are not legal advice.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Illinois Collaborative Divorce Gains Traction

I recently trained in Collaborative Divorce. I recommend it as an approach to resolving divorce cases without expensive heavy litigation. Essentially, collaborative law is a new approach to resolving divorce cases with a team or family approach, where the attorneys work with clients to negotiate a settlement up front, rather than at the conclusion of a case after thousands of dollars are spent on litigation. Obviously, this may not be suitable for all cases, but it can be a useful method for resolving a divorce efficiently. For more information, the Collaborative Law Institute of Illinois webpage is a great source. If you are interested in collaborative divorce, mediation, or alternative dispute resolution, please call 630.434.0400 Ext. 165, or email.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Employer's Failure to Pay Illinois Child Support a $1.2 Million Mistake!

In Lenora Ann Miller v. Harold Miller, the Illinois Supreme Court recently reinstated a judgment against Harold Miller, Sr. in the amount of $1,172,000 for failure to pay child support of $12,382! Mr. Miller, Sr. was both the father and employer of Harold Miller. Harold Miller owed child support to Lenora under a divorce judgment to be withheld from his paychecks by his employer, Harold Miller, Sr. Lenora Miller's attorney served Mr. Miller, Sr. with an Order of Withholding, which requires an employer to withhold child support from an employee's paycheck and forward the funds to the Illinois State Disbursement Unit. The statute behind this, 750 ILCS 28/35, provides that for each day an employer fails to make support payments pursuant to such an order, a $100 independent penalty applies. In the underlying case the trial court determined that the total failure to pay resulted in 11,721 seperate penalties against the employer for the total sum of almost $1.2 million.

Bottom line: If you are an employer served with an Order of Withholding, you must obey that order. Otherwise the potential penalties are extremely severe. The Supreme Court held that the penalty was not unconstitutional despite the amount. Also, if you are a support recipient and your ex' employer is not paying although served with an Order of Withholding, you may be entitled to substantial penalties from the employer, not just your ex spouse.

Please contact us with any Illinois family law issues or email. We work in Cook, DuPage, and Will Counties primarily. We concentrate in complex family law and divorce cases.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Illinois Divorce Appeals

We handle appeals of divorce judgments in Illinois. We gladly accept referrals from other family and divorce lawyers, and accept cases directly from clients. Our firm has substantial appellate experience and we can handle your appeal efficiently. Please note - temporary orders are not appealable in Illinois divorce cases. You must have a final order to appeal. These can be orders related to custody, maintenance (alimony), child support, division of property and debt, and more. Please contact us via email or at our website today.

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Monday, December 10, 2007

Illinois Grandparent Visitation Article and Court Decision

Recently I published an article regarding grandparent visitation in the Illinois State Bar Association's Family Law Section Council Newsletter, "Family Law." In that article I discussed the importance of proving that denial of grandparent visitation would physically or emotionally harm the child. I also emphasized that a generalized concept of harm was not sufficient to overcome the presumption in favor of the parents that their decisions are in the best interest of the child. Specifically, the idea that denial of grandparent visitation alone is "harmful" in and of itself sufficient to obtain visitation is incorrect in my opinion.

The Illinois Supreme Court agrees with me. Recently, the Court decided Flynn v. Henkel, Docket No. 103946, entered November 29, 2007. The Court held "Neither denial of an opportunity for grandparent visitation, as the trial court found, nor a child “never knowing a grandparent who loved him and who did not undermine the child’s relationship with his mother,” as the appellate court held, is “harm” that will rebut the presumption stated in section 607(a–5)(3) that a fit parent’s denial of a grandparent’s visitation is not harmful to the child’s mental, physical, or emotional health."

This means that grandparents seeking visitation of children (in a divorce or death of a parent situation) will need to prove that either 1) the parent is "unfit" or 2) denial of visitation actually harms the children physically or mentally. This will likely require expert testimony in most cases, as most cases will not involve any evidence of physical harm. This makes a grandparent visitation claim more difficult to bring and more expensive.

If you would like to have a copy of my article, or have questions about grandparent visitation or other divorce and family law matters, please email or call.

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