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Posted on in Family Law

marriage license, Illinois, same sex marriage, same-sex marriage, gay marriage, new law, Illinois lawThe issue of same-sex marriage has been a frequent topic in the news in recent years. Both federal courts and state courts have made decisions regarding its legality over the last few years, with several states, including Illinois, deciding to make gay marriage legal and issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Now, it is suggested that Illinois may start issuing marriage licenses sooner than expected.

Counties in Illinois Issuing Same-sex Marriage Licenses

This week, Champaign County in Illinois started to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The decision to do so came after a federal judge in Cook County ruled that same-sex couples in that county did not have to wait until this summer to obtain a marriage license, when the new gay marriage law will take effect in the state of Illinois. Cook County was the first county to issue such licenses, and now McLean County is set to follow suit next week, making it the third county in the state to make the same decision.

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International Adoption bill IMAGEThe current lawmakers in Washington DC have been historically slow in creating new laws.  There has been too much conflict between the liberals and conservatives on the hill.  But a new law that has been proposed looks to unite both sides of the aisle with an issue that is beyond politics.  That bill is called the Children in Families First or CHIFF Act. The bill was introduced by State Representatives Kay Granger(R-TX) and Karen Bass (D-CA).  Granger said that “every child deserves a family. Parents looking to adopt internationally are already at the mercy of complicated adoption bureaucracies abroad.  They shouldn’t have to deal with similar costs and delays here at home.  Without increasing spending, the Children in Families First Act helps loving families navigate the adoption process and welcome new additions to their homes.” Overall, foreign adoptions have declined over the years. Almost 23,000 children were adopted internationally in 2004.  That decreased steadily to below 9,000 in 2012.  There are certain reasons for the decrease as some countries do not allow children to be adopted by Americans. In other countries, the rate of domestic adoptions has increased which also means that fewer children are able to be adopted by Americans. One of the proposed results of this bill is the creation of a new bureau in the State Department whose would work with other countries to place children with families.  This would be accomplished with adoption, or family reunification or kinship care. Instead of allowing children to languish without the love of a family, CHIFF hopes to support an increase in international adoptions.  There are plenty of children that need loving families.  If you have decided that your family is prepared to love a child in need, then you should contact a family law professional who has experience in this process.  Contact a knowledgeable family law attorney in DuPage County who can help you add more love to your family.

The Washington Post reported that, on November 5, the Illinois House of Representatives passed House Bill 5170 which, if signed by Governor Pat Quinn, will create the Illinois Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act. Under this Act, all Illinois state laws that apply to marriage will apply equally to marriages between two people of the same sex as to marriages between two people of different sexes. According to the Post, an aide to Governor Quinn stated that he would sign the bill within the month.

Gay marriage may soon be legal in Illinois. Illinois gay marriage image.Illinois Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act

Before June 2011, same-sex couples were not entitled to the same marital rights as different-sex married couples. Under the law, married couples in Illinois received all protections that come to mind when imagining marriage: visitation rights in hospitals, survivor benefits in jointly-held property, and parental rights in children. Same-sex couples, on the other hand, were not merely prevented from obtaining these rights through marriage, they were expressly forbidden. The current Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act prohibits “a marriage between [two] individuals of the same sex.” The current Act even goes so far as to outright declare that “[a] marriage between [two] individuals of the same sex is contrary to the public policy of” Illinois.

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Statistics show that an excess of one hundred thousand residents of Illinois are directly impacted by domestic violence every year. Illinois is taking big steps to change the way that both the offenders and victims are handled. TheresaGovernor Pat Quinn signed four separate bills that will become effective January 1, 2014. These new laws are designed to not only hand down stiffer punishments to the offender, but to prevent the violence from happening at all. The first bill addresses the issue of repeat offenders of domestic violence. Today, crimes in this category are considered misdemeanors and so there is not much punishment given. When this law becomes effective, repeat offenders will be charged with a felony. The second law deals with the privacy of the victim. In cases where the victim is covered by medical insurance that is carried by the abuser, there will be new procedures put into place so that the abuser will not be able to obtain information such as the address or other contact information given by the victim. This law recognizes the manipulative nature of many abusers when it comes to finding their victim. The third law extends the deadline for reporting for a task force that is currently developing a program for prevention that is aimed at adolescent and teen violence. The final law is aimed toward schools and the trend of teen dating violence. It requires that the schools educate children about the dangers and signs of dating violence and it also puts new procedures in place that dictate the school staff response. These are big changes for Illinois. If you have been the victim of domestic violence in your relationship, an empathetic and experienced Illinois family law attorney can advise you of the divorce law as it applies to your situation.

Posted on in Divorce
With a backlog of over three million dollars owed in back child support, Illinois officials are making every effort to get this money collected, even if it means going after a person’s casino winnings. If passed, House Bill 2843 will allow garnishments of monies won gambling. The winnings of parents who have not paid back child support would be turned over to the Department of Healthcare and Family Services, who would then distribute the funds to the custodial parents. PamIn addition to garnishing wages,Illinois has the authority to withhold certain services in the attempt to make parents who avoid their responsibility to pay up. For example, he or she may not be allowed to renew a driver’s license or other professional or sportsman licensing until back child support is paid. It is estimated that if House Bill 2843 is passed, $1 million will be distributed to custodial parents. Some say this amount is small in comparison to the $3 million owed, but it is a start, according to child support advocates. In a perfect world, both parents work together in the best interest of the child or children. Unfortunately, measures have to be in place to ensure custodial parents get help from the ex-spouse. Far too often, there is one parent raising the children. When ex spouses do not pay court ordered child support, the custodial parent may have to compensate by working longer hours, which ultimately affects the child. If you are considering divorce or are a custodial parent who is owed back child support, get your questions answered by calling a qualified Illinois Child Support attorney. He or she will work hard to ensure your interests and your children’s interests are protected. The meet and greet consultation is free.

Image courtesy of Boians Cho Joo Young at Freedigitalphotos.net

A bill (HB 1452) being proposed in the Illinois legislature would make significant changes to Illinois’ divorce laws. To be clear, reformation of Illinois family law is long overdue. Fortunately, the proposed changes are the result of four years of bipartisan research, debate and input, and they reflect pragmatic approaches from professionals, including national and local family law experts, family law advocates, judges and family law attorneys, as well as the public. The proposed changes will ensure that the new law will reflect cultural shifts that have occurred during the past decades in Illinois and the United States. The purpose of the changes is both to eliminate abuses and to simplify what has become a burdensome and expensive process. RigersAmong other things, the proposed changes would abolish the requirement that divorcing parties have grounds before they can file for divorce. This arcane notion is a remnant of a time long gone. Numerous states have done away with it completely, and Illinois may soon follow suit. The proposed changes would also shorten the time that it takes to obtain a divorce judgment, which is good news for couples and children whose life is in limbo until the divorce is final. The proposed changes would also amend the child support guidelines to take into account both parents’ income, as well as the amount of time each parent spends with the child when calculating child support obligation. Lastly, the proposed change would eliminate so-called “home-wrecking” lawsuits, which are lawsuits used to punish a spouse’s lover for causing the divorce. The proposed bill was the result of hard work from the Illinois Family Law Study Committee, a bipartisan group of industry professionals that spent the last four years drafting it. These impending changes make it even more important to consult an experienced Illinois family law attorney.  

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic / freedigitalphotos.net

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