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.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Illinois Divorce Law - Final And Appealable Orders - Post Decree

In Marriage of Knoerr, 2-06-1060 (December 21, 2007) the Illinois Appellate Court, Second District (covering DuPage, Kane, and Kendall Counties, among others) held that an appeal could not be taken from a post-divorce court decision requiring a father to contribute to post-high school educational expenses for a child because another matter was still pending in the case, and the Court had not issued a "final and appealable" order (using Illinois Supreme Court Rule 304(a) language.) The Court stated that only contempt orders requiring fines or penalties may be appealed while other matters are pending in the same case. The Court dismissed the appeal.

The bottom line - you may only appeal from final and appealable orders in Illinois. Temporary orders or interim orders in divorce cases are not appealable. Orders entered (other than contempt orders as stated above) are not appealable while other matters are pending. Appeals are expensive. Make sure your Illinois lawyer understands appellate law and family law if pursuing an appeal.

We can handle your Illinois divorce appeal. Please call 630.434.0400 Ext. 165 or email.

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Thursday, January 17, 2008

Britney Spears' Custody Problems - and Illinois Child Custody

This story provides an update on the pathetic story of Britney Spears. Ex-husband Kevin Federline now has sole custody of the former couple's two children--and Ms. Spears still is denied any visitation. The Court denied Ms. Spears visitation (parenting time) with the children due to her recent, much publicized obnoxious behavior and reported drug use. On January 4, 2008, the Court terminated her visitation rights and awarded custody of the children to Mr. Federline. Her counsel attempted to restore visitation with the young children, but the Court denied the petition after a hearing--a hearing Ms. Spears failed to attend.

Many clients ask about Illinois sole custody and limits to visitation in Illinois. They would like to know what kind of rules exist regarding an award of sole custody in Illinois, or regarding limitations on visitation (parenting time). The Courts in Illinois (and across the country) always uses the "best interest of the child" standard when deciding these difficult issues.

This case provides a classic example of "don'ts" for a custodial parent - drug use, wild behavior, alcohol abuse, et cetera all all the types of behavior a court will consider very strongly in awarding sole custody to a parent, even following a settlement or judgment entered following trial of a case. The Court is always looking out for the best interests of the children, and will take this kind of misbehavior into account in considering changing the custody of children and in limiting or cutting off visitation. Finally - don't miss a court hearing when your lawyers ask you to appear - typically your appearance is required so you can testify on your own behalf and speak up for yourself. Or, you may need to be available to negotiate a resolution of a problem. Without a witness present in court to testify, a petition is worthless.

In most cases the petition may not even be argued and heard in a full hearing, but the threat of the hearing (with the client and/or other witnesses present) is enough to motivate the parties to attempt to settle the issue and avoid a hearing entirely.

If you have an Illinois child custody or visitation case, in DuPage, Cook, or Will County, please call us at 630.434.0400 Ext. 165, or email.

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