March 11th, 2014 at 12:45 pm
Illinois state Representative Barbara Wheeler recently proposed Illinois House Bill 3744 in an effort to provide greater protection to victims of domestic violence by requiring for a defendant who has been charged with a violent crime to undergo a risk assessment evaluation. The results of this risk assessment evaluation, as evaluated by the Illinois Department of Human Services, will determine whether, as a condition of bail, the defendant might be forced to wear a Global Positioning System (GPS) ankle bracelet. The GPS device will be used to monitor violent offenders 24 hours a day during the pretrial phase, and is meant to keep abusers a safe distance from their victims. The new law may prove critical for local residents in the midst of a tumultuous divorce where domestic violence is at issue.
This new House Bill proposed would be an extension to the already in place Cindy Bischof law, which requires that the offender need to have violated an existing order of protection before a judge may order the defendant to wear any type of electronic tracking device.
The Cindy Bischof law went into effect on January 1, 2009, after the tragic death of Cindy Bischof. Bischof was shot and killed in a parking lot by her ex-boyfriend, who had already been arrested and prosecuted for violating his restraining order on more than one occasion. House Bill 3744 would allow a judge, based on the facts specific to the case, to order the defendant to wear a GPS device, regardless of whether an order of protection had been submitted. Once a defendant was ordered to wear an electronic tracking device, specific “exclusion zones” would be set up around the victim’s home, work, or other areas where the offender is barred from entering. In addition, the victim could also wear a GPS device to ensure that, even if he or she is out of the exclusion zone, the defendant would not be allowed to come close to the victim.
Findings of the U.S. Department of Justice
In a study published by the U.S. Department of Justice in June 2012, the findings showed that the use of GPS-tracking devices had an overall positive impact with regard to protection of the victim, but also protection for the defendant. Overall, the GPS effectively provided teeth to existing restraining orders. In the short term, there was a lower likelihood that the defendant would violate curfew and other program requirements. In the long term, the GPS decreased the likelihood of arrest for domestic violence offenses.
Defendants had a mixed reaction to the use of the GPS technology; some were frustrated by the program confinements, such as curfew and exclusion zones, while others appreciated that they could maintain their employment during the pretrial time period, and the GPS had the possibility of shielding them from false accusations. Though victims were apprehensive about their abusers roaming the streets, many felt more comforted knowing that the abusers were unable to get close or stalk them at their residences or work sites. The one problem that was encountered by the GPS-tracking was, though it could limit the abuser’s physical proximity to the victim, the technology could not halt any other types of communication, such as text message, emails, or phone calls.
Though this House Bill is still on the House floor and has not passed yet, victims of domestic violence have options. One possibility is to request an order of protection, a court order that prohibits the abuser from, among others:
- Entering shared residences or the victim’s residence;
- Getting in the same physical proximity to victims and/or other persons protected by the order, such as family members or members of the victim’s household.
- Going to the victim’s workplace, school, or other areas where the victim frequents.
- Hiding a child from the victim or taking the child out of state.
If you or a loved one is a victim of domestic violence, and would like more information on obtaining an order of protection from a perpetrator of domestic violence, or you would like to receive more information on divorce or separation from an abuser, please contact an experienced Naperville family law attorney today.
February 28th, 2014 at 12:24 pm
People decide to get married for a myriad of reasons. Sometimes that union results in raising children. If the marriage begins to deteriorate, couples may struggle with the decision to split up or stay together for the sake of their children. It is often unclear which option is better for the children; divorce or sticking together.
If you’re considering divorce, consider the issues that are creating problems in the marriage. If the grounds for divorce include verbal or physical abuse, infidelity, or addiction, then leaving your spouse might be the best option for the safety of you and your children. Consider filing for an order of protection before or during your divorce if there is any threat of danger to you or your children. Divorce will allow some control over who has physical and legal custody of your child in cases of abusive or otherwise unfit to parent.
If you are considering divorce because you have grown apart from your spouse, marriage counseling might be an option.
Raising a child in an environment filled with conflict is not easy. While you might be there for your child physically, it might not be easy to show them the love and support they need while arguing with a spouse. It might be better to remove them from a contentious and even potentially hazardous situation. If you’ve already decided on a divorce but are on good terms with your spouse, consider alternative dispute resolutions such as collaborative law or mediation.
Research about how children recover from divorce may ease some of the worry about splitting up with a spouse. Psychologist E. Mavis Hetherington of the University of Virginia and one of her graduate students, Anne Mitchell Elmore completed such a study in 2002. They found that children often experience short-term side effects like anxiety, shock, disbelief and even anger after a split. However, the majority of children rebounded and their symptoms decreased or disappeared by the second year after the divorce. Only a small number of children continued to express those feelings more than two years later.
The most important thing to remember before filing for divorce is to consider the best interest of your children. That is the same principle that judges use to settle child custody issues during a divorce. The divorce court may assign a guardian ad litem whose job it is to represent the child and their best interests during a divorce.
Contact an experienced divorce attorney in DuPage County to begin this process today.
February 20th, 2014 at 12:56 pm
When someone is in an abusive relationship, the idea of leaving can be even scarier than the idea of staying with an abuser. Victims may fear that their abusers will come after them if they leave, or worse, they will come after the victim’s friends and families. When abuse is introduced into a relationship, it is very unlikely that it will go away and victims should seek any help that they can to get away from their abusers as quickly as possible.
If you know someone who is in an abusive relationship, they may or may not realize what is happening, and it may be difficult for them to get away. Do what you can to be supportive, and if the abused person is hiding signs of abuse, it may be in their best interest to contact the authorities.
Sometimes domestic abuse victims do not leave their abusers because they do not know what to do. DomesticViolence.org answers two common questions that domestic abuse victims have when considering leaving:
- Can I take my children with me when I leave?
- If you can get them out safely, then yes, take your children away from the abusive home;
- As soon as possible, seek legal assistance to get custody of your children;
- If you cannot get your children out of the abusive home safely, getting custody may be more challenging. The parent with physical possession often has an upper hand in getting temporary legal custody;
- If you succeed in getting your children out and getting custody, do not put it past your partner to try to steal them back. He or she may do this by kidnapping, threatening, or harming the children so that you will return them;
- If you believe that you are in immediate danger and you cannot get your children out of the abusive home, contact police to arrange temporary protective custody during the process of gaining permanent custody.
- Where do I go?
- Stay at a friend’s or a relative’s home.
- If you are a woman, avoid staying with any men who are not relatives. This could impair your chances of getting custody of your children in court and even getting spousal support. In addition, it may cause more conflict with your abuser by creating jealousy.
- There are many battered women’s shelters that will take you and your children in. Staff at these shelters can help you with legal and financial concerns, along with emotional support and counseling for both you and your children.
- If you feel that you still have nowhere to go, call 911 to start.
If you have been abused and have left or are thinking about leaving an abusive relationship, contact a family law attorney for assistance. Attorneys at Roscich & Martel Law Firm in Illinois can help you with custody and your entire divorce hearing if you contact them today.
February 13th, 2014 at 12:56 pm
The current divorce rate in the United States is about 50 percent, according to DivorceRate.org. With a number that high, it is a fair concern to be worried about what will happen to you financially if you divorce your partner. One way to protect yourself from financial troubles in the event of the end of a marriage is to get a prenuptial agreement.
Should the marriage come to an end, either by divorce or death, a prenup will serve as an outline for how the debts and assets of the couple will be distributed. Prenups are often touchy and emotional subjects with couples, but New York City financial advisor Nancy Dunnan suggests that couples “Think of it as a(n) insurance policy…marriage is not just an emotional and physical union — it’s also a financial union.”
It is a common misconception that prenups are only for the rich. Even if you have very little, financially, you can still protect what you have in a prenup. Consider a prenuptial agreement if you relate to any of the following:
- You have assets like a home, stocks, or retirement funds;
- You are the owner of a business;
- You are expecting to receive an inheritance;
- You expect a large increase in your income;
- You are pursuing a degree or license in a potentially lucrative profession such as medicine or law;
- One partner is much wealthier than the other;
- You have children or grandchildren from a previous marriage;
- You have to care for relatives like elderly parents;
- One partner is supporting the other through college;
- Either partner has large debts or loans.
If you are getting married and you would like to protect your assets in case the marriage ends, do not be afraid to do so. It is important that you can protect what is yours. Contact a family law attorney in Naperville, Ill. to help you create the prenuptial agreement for you and your partner. Attorneys at Roscich & Martel Law Firm can help you smoothly protect what is yours today.
February 7th, 2014 at 5:54 pm
Domestic abuse happens every day and sometimes even after the abusive relationship has ended, the abuse will continue. Anyone can be a victim and any relationship can turn abusive.
Workplace harassment may be shoved off as playful banter, but may turn into a dangerous relationship. If the abuse continues too long, it may also lead to more serious injuries that may physically impair a person from accomplishing what he or she needs to do in and out of the workplace.
Some examples of commonly abused groups, according to Safe Horizon, include:
- Physically or mentally challenged people abused by their caregivers;
- Elderly people by their caregivers;
- Wives by their husbands;
- Husbands by their wives;
- Children by their mothers;
- Children by their fathers;
- Foster children by their foster family;
- Teens by their boyfriends or girlfriends.
Females between the ages of 16-24 are at the highest risk for domestic abuse, experiencing abuse at a rate of three times more often than any other group according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Often times when abuse starts in a teenage relationship, it begins by the boyfriend or girlfriend doing one of the following:
- Becoming jealous and spying;
- Verbally abusing;
- Forcing sex and refusing to take no as an answer;
- Abusing alcohol and/or drugs, pressuring you into it as well;
- Bragging about hurting others, then becoming violent in the relationship;
- Not allowing the relationship to end;
- Blaming bad relationship history on others.
These teens that meet each other at school and at after-school jobs, but they are more likely to turn these high school relationships into marriages, according to CBS news, than they were 20 years ago. Teenagers are also the least likely of any age group to recognize sexual harassment for what it is because it will be played off as teenage boys “just being teenage boys,” but it can often lead to something much more serious than that.
If you are being abused, whether you are an adult or a teenager and you have been seriously injured, contact a family law attorney. It is important to get yourself away from your abuser and have him or her punished for what he or she has done to you. Roscich & Martel Law Firm can help you with your domestic abuse case in Naperville, Ill. today.
January 31st, 2014 at 3:36 pm
In a divorce, a couple’s assets and responsibilities are divided up, especially when there are children involved. Custody and visitation are both important topics to discuss when a couple has children. When the time comes, a new battle may arise between parents about who will pay for their children’s higher education.
Sometimes parents begin saving for college when their children are very young and the money has already been set aside by both parents for their children when they are ready for college. Often, though, parents and students must take out loans and money from their savings to pay for the education. It is a tough battle and is best to have been dealt with in the divorce settlement.
Child support payments usually stop when the child is between 18 and 21 years old, according to Jeffrey Landers, Divorce Financial Strategist. At that point, there is no legal obligation for the noncustodial parent to pay college tuition. The best way to guarantee money for college “is to include the obligation in your divorce settlement agreement.”
The following are two ways to do so:
- Have the funds put into a trust account and ensure that they are available when needed.
- Get an up-front payment and manage the funds so they are available when needed.
You may be able to get a court order to force the other parent to pay for the education if you are past the point of adding these terms to your divorce settlement. It is always best to consider every possible need of your children during the divorce, however, and ensure that even college payments are included in the divorce settlement.
If you are going through a divorce and you are concerned about how you will pay for your children’s higher education, contact a family law attorney for assistance. Attorneys at the Roscich & Martel Law Firm in Naperville, Ill. can help you get those expenses covered today.
January 21st, 2014 at 2:23 pm
There are many ways to seek resolution to a divorce case. The traditional way is through litigation, which is when both sides present their cases to an impartial judge. Given the circumstances of each party, the judge determines things such as division of property, child support and child custody. Another way to finalize a divorce is through mediation. This method allows the separating spouses to determine their own future by working together towards a mutually beneficial solution. A neutral mediator is in place to move the conversation along and follow the legal standards of divorce. While the mediator will seek an amicable solution to common issues of divorce, it is also important to follow some ground rules.
Each party must come to the table with the proper mindset. Negotiation is necessary to keep the mediation moving forward, and both parties will have to put aside some personal demands for the greater good. Keep the benefits of mediation at the forefront of each conversation so that you remember that you can’t get everything you want. Mediation can be a better option for those couples who can handle it because it is less expensive, takes less time, and allows the couple to control the outcome of their own divorce settlement more than litigation would.
The start of mediation is critical to address the issues and concerns of each spouse. Finding the areas that are easy to agree on will make the process feel painless and productive. Using that method will also build trust between both parties for when issues are more difficult to resolve. Dividing property can be difficult if both parties are asking for the same things or if they are demanding assets out of anger or spite. Aspects like child custody might be more difficult to resolve because it is more emotional. Try to avoid anger when talking about difficult issues because it will not help resolve anything.
If you can come to a negotiated solution, then your lawyer can submit an agreement to the divorce court. This can save you the time, money and stress of a drawn out court battle. Contact an experienced divorce attorney in Naperville who can help mediate your divorce.
January 14th, 2014 at 12:59 pm
Often times, one of the hardest steps of the divorce process as a parent is breaking the news to your children. The five-minute speech will change the rest of their lives, so you want to be sure to prepare well and do it right. On the bright side, there are a lot of tips out there for parents to give “the talk” successfully.
First and foremost, do not wait until the last minute to break the news of your divorce to the kids until the last minute. While you may not feel quite ready to deal with it yet, it will be best for everyone in the long run to just get it over with. When you go to sit down and talk with your children, be sure to have your speech carefully planned out. This will ensure that both you and your soon-to-be-ex spouse will not accidentally send mixed messages or confuse anybody. You also want to try your best to give the talk together. If your divorce is not an amicable one and you cannot sit down together as a family, at least agree on what you will tell the kids.
There is no need to go into a huge, stretched out explanation of what happened. Keep it brief. Especially if your children are young, it is best to keep things simple-and straightforward. There is no need to confuse them and cause more distress by including every little detail of the situation.
Once you have broken the news, sit back and let your kids express how they feel. Listen to what they have to say and encourage them to share what they are thinking. By supporting your child, you can help them grieve and adjust to the changes soon to occur. Acknowledge your child’s feelings and allow them to be honest. Be sure to let them know that whatever they really feel or need to say is okay, and that you will love them no matter what.
Divorce is scary in itself. Talking to your kids about divorce can be even scarier, but you don’t have to go through it alone. Contact a dedicated Illinois divorce attorney today to assist you.
January 6th, 2014 at 11:53 am
Making the decision to divorce ban be difficult. It requires the filer to think about their relationship and whether they still want to be in it. It is also important for the person to consider what is motivating their decision. Is it a response that is purely emotional or rather a realization that the marriage is not working anymore? If a spouse has moved on from the marriage even before the divorce is finalized, then they might be tempted to begin dating new people.
Before the divorce is finalized, it might be a bad idea to go public with a new significant other. The new flame might cause a soon to be ex-spouse to fight against the divorce process. If the exes can’t agree to a divorce settlement, the divorce may take months or years to finalize. A jealous or vindictive spouse may cause issues in parts of the divorce like child custody and the division of property.
There are also legal reasons to avoid showing off a new spouse. Illinois is a state that recognizes fault grounds for divorce. Dating during divorce could be construed as an example of marital misconduct and possibly even adultery. While the difference between fault and no-fault grounds does not change division of property or alimony in most cases, it can change child custody and visitation agreements. It is essential to avoid the opportunity for morals to be questioned.
Dating during divorce can also negatively affect children who are dealing with their parents splitting. The decision to date while seeking a divorce should be scrutinized as much as the decision to divorce was in the first place. The consul of a legal professional can ensure that you make the correct decision for you and your family. Contact an experienced family law attorney in Naperville today to begin discussing your best course of action.
December 30th, 2013 at 5:39 pm
Divorce is a process that is fraught with emotion and consequences, both intangible and tangible. Amongst the stress of property distribution, questions about child custody, and spousal maintenance lingers feelings of abandonment, scorn, or betrayal. An educated and knowledgeable DuPage County divorce attorney can help navigate the civil divorce process and assuage some of these uncertainties and fears. But what of the religious aspects of divorce? For people of faith, divorce can be more damaging, depending on what religion is practiced. The three major world religions each treat divorce differently. While a civil divorce, aided by an attorney, will end your marriage in the eyes of the law, you may need to take additional steps in the eyes of your religion.
The Catholic Church does not recognize divorce as an option to end a marriage, and civil divorce will simply not end a marriage in the eyes of the Church. This is based on Jesus’ words, as quoted in the Gospel of Mark: “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery against her; and the woman who divorces her husband and marries another commits adultery.” The Catholic Church takes these words literally; if a divorcee marries, he or she is in a state of adultery for their entire lives, as their first marriage never ended.
The only way to end a marriage is to receive an annulment from the Church. While there are many grounds for annulment under civil law, the Church’s grounds are more nebulous. They include the traditional civil grounds, such as minority of the parties and close blood relation. They also include a defect in consent. This could be anything from coercion of one party by the other, to drug or alcohol impairment at the time of the marriage, to an overbearing parent pressuring the party to marry.
Islam: Divorce Exists, and It Is Far Easier for the Husband
In Sunni Islam, a man must merely intone the words of divorce (talaq) three times to his wife. While this is viewed as sinful, it is recognized as a valid dissolution of the marriage. Shi’a Islam requires that the words be spoken with two witnesses present, and there must be a period of attempted reconciliation between the parties before the divorce is valid. If a woman wishes to divorce her husband, she must petition a qadi (a judge under Islamic law) for permission. There is also a mandatory waiting period before the divorce is recognized.
Judaism: Divorce Can Only Be Initiated By the Husband
Divorce has always been a part of Judaism. While it is frowned upon, it is a fact of life that rabbis have always recognized. The husband is the only party that can initiate the divorce, and then for nearly any reason. All that is needed is a written decree of divorce in the husband’s hand. The decree, commonly called a “get,” ends the divorce from that day. If a wife wants a divorce, the get is still required. In one case, one Orthodox Jewish rabbi resorted to physical violence and intimidation to get women a get from their husbands.
Civil Divorce and You
If you are seeking divorce, your relationship with your religious officials may be difficult. However, an experienced divorce attorney can handle your case and reduce your stress on the civil side. If you are contemplating divorce, contact a Naperville family law attorney today.