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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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Illinois Child Visitation - Divorce - Denial of Visitation Can't be Blamed on the Kids

In Illinois, a custodial parent cannot deny visitation to the other parent claiming that the kids don't want to visit the non custodial parent. The Second District Appellate Court stated in Marriage of David Charous and Jodi Charous, 368 Ill.App.3d 99, 110 (2006):

Illinois courts have held that a custodial parent may not disregard the visitation requirements of a dissolution judgment merely because his or her children do not desire to visit the noncustodial parent. See In re Marriage of Marshall, 278 Ill. App. 3d 1071, 1082-83 (1996); Doggett v. Doggett, 51 Ill. App. 3d 868, 871-72 (1977). Where a dissolution judgment places the ultimate responsibility for compliance with the visitation provisions upon the custodial parent, the custodial parent cannot escape his or her duty to comply with the visitation provisions by "attempting to shift this burden to the discretion of [his or] her children." Doggett, 51 Ill. App. 3d at 872 (affirming trial court's contempt finding against parent who failed to comply with visitation provisions because the children did not want to visit noncustodial parent). A parent must comply with court-ordered visitation even where the child has expressed hostility toward the other parent. In re Marriage of Reed, 100 Ill. App. 3d 873, 877 (1981) (noting that visitation affords members of a family the opportunity to communicate with each other, and thus diminish hostilities and foster an atmosphere in which a renewal of affection may take place).

The bottom line: "The kids don't want to see you tonight" is no excuse. The custodial parent must see to it that visitation takes place. Children oftentimes don't want to do anything other than what they are doing, and it is the parents' responsibility to make them visit the other parent for the good of the kids. The custodial parent also must take into account the effect scheduling activities will have on the other parent's visitation, and depending on the parenting agreement, might need to obtain permission in advance from the non custodial (or non-residential) parent.

The Charous case is also a good example of what can go wrong with visitation after entry of a divorce decree, and what the non-custodial parent was forced to do to get compliance. The case also discussed other violations of the parenting agreement: mother communicating financial disputes with father through the kids; mother planning events for the kids during father's visitation time without his consent; and mother unilaterally removing the father from the school contact list. All were disapproved by the Appellate Court.

If you have an Illinois visitation or custody matter, trial, or appeal, please contact us. We concentrate in DuPage, Cook, and Will Counties and would be happy to meet with you. Call 630.434.0400 Ext. 165, or email.

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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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