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Belleville and Edwardsville Divorce Law Blog

Buying homes as cohabiting partners

35896996_S.jpgThe trend towards cohabitation has led some Illinois couples to purchase homes together before they are married. This can cause significant problems if the relationship doesn't last and one person wishes to stay in the home that was jointly purchased.

Experts recommend that couples avoid purchasing homes together before they are married. If they decide to do so, they should take steps to protect their individual financial interests by entering into a contract that should spell out all of the terms of the purchase, including the percentages of the mortgage, insurance and taxes each will be responsible for paying.

Decision is reached in Madonna child custody case

37406601_S.jpgIllinois fans who have watched the child custody case involving Madonna and Guy Ritchie can now learn about the conclusion to this months-long case. The case involved two countries, two celebrities and the custody of a 16-year-old child.

The child custody battle started in December 2015 after the couple's teenage child refused to fly back from his father's home in London to live with his mother in New York. Madonna and her director ex-husband Guy Ritchie were married in 2000. They divorced in 2008 at which point they had agreed that their son would live with the "Material Girl." Ritchie later married a British model with whom he has three more children. In March, both a New York judge and a British judge ruled in separate orders that the former couple should work on an amicable solution based on their son's best interests.

How a zealous legal advocate can help you in child custody proceedings

18788507_S.jpgIn the divorce process, having a zealous advocate can be crucial for achieving the best results. This is particularly true of financial matters such as property division, debt division, tax and retirement issues, and spousal support. In these areas, the role of an advocate is to make sure the court has the information it needs to make a decision that reflects the interests of the parent the advocate is representing.

When it comes to child custody and parenting time, an advocate is still important to have, but the aim is a bit different. The central concern in every child custody proceeding is the best interests of the child. It is important to understand that the court does not make child custody determinations based on the rights or interests of the parents, but on what will best promote the health, safety, welfare and development of the child. 

Traumatic brain injuries among domestic violence survivors

45833278_S.jpgAbout one in four women in Illinois and across the U.S. have experienced some kind of physical assault by a partner. According to some studies, many of these victims could be subject to traumatic brain injuries that can lead to long-term issues. Researchers say that as many as 60 percent of domestic violence survivors may have suffered traumatic brain injuries.

Severe head trauma can be caused by a catalog of abuse or even a single heavy blow. Unfortunately, the symptoms of traumatic brain injuries can be very difficult for doctors to identify. One assault victim with memory loss problems said she that she never considered her abuse to be a cause for her condition. The woman's ex-partner would hit her in the back of the head so that bruises would not be visible.

Many laws changing to allow joint physical custody

54781187_S (1).jpgIllinois parents who are getting a divorce might want to consider shared physical custody of their children. A number of states are moving toward passing laws that encourage co-parenting rather than giving primary physical custody to just one parent, usually the mother, and ordering visitation for the other parent.

Custody laws have been rewritten in Arizona, Missouri, Utah, Minnesota and South Dakota, and a number of other states are considering similar legislation. The Arizona law is being looked upon as a model for other states to potentially follow because of its expansiveness. Rather than strictly focusing on custody and visitation, it looks at parenting in a larger context of sharing responsibility and not just dividing time 50/50.

Chris Brown could lose custody of daughter following charges

48207458_S.jpgIllinois residents who have been following singer Chris Brown's custody battle may be interested to learn that, following assault charges that were filed against him in late August, he could potentially lose custody of his daughter. Even if the charges are eventually dropped against the singer, the fact that he was involved in a standoff with authorities could have a negative impact on his child custody situation.

According to a father's rights attorney, a lawyer for the child's mother could argue that the standoff was caused by mental health issues. The attorney may even imply that Brown was attempting suicide by taunting the authorities into shooting him. Since he made a number of Instagram videos while the incident was still occurring, the attorney has plenty of potential evidence to back up these claims.

When divorced parents disagree on free time

20637011_S.jpgAfter a divorce, Illinois parents might face disagreements regarding how they raise their children. For example, they might argue about how much time a child should spend on playing video games. One parent might believe that it is a good bonding activity while the other might say the excessive screen time is damaging for the child.

Parents have several choices. Discussing the issue with the other parent is one. It might be possible to come to an agreement. If this is not successful, the parent might consider dropping the issue. Ideally, parents will have consistent approaches to raising their child when they share custody, but this is not always possible. It is important for parents to pick their battles, and even if they dislike how the child is being raised, they can still enforce their rules in their own home when the child is there.

How friends and family can help domestic violence victims

49175686_S.jpgEvery day, people in Illinois live with domestic abuse. Nationally, a person suffers a physical attack from a partner or spouse every three seconds, and one-quarter of women will experience domestic abuse or violence at some point in their lives. When friends and family want to help a victim, they can take some concrete steps to support the person.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline recommends that the friends and relatives of victims provide a supportive attitude. A concerned person could focus on helping the abuse victim create a safety plan for coping with attacks or eventually leaving the relationship. The plan could include the identification of places in the home to hide or avenues of escape. The location of the nearest shelter should be shared, and children should be told how to get help during an emergency.

Setback for Nia Guzman in Chris Brown child custody dispute

51595049_S (1).jpgIllinois fans of singer Chris Brown may be aware he has been involved in a custody battle with the mother of his daughter Royalty. Nia Guzman, the child's mother, asked that she be granted full custody of their daughter. She also requested that the child be banned from visiting Brown's mother, regular drug tests for Brown, and that Brown only be allowed supervised visits.

However, the judge rejected all of her requests and also ordered that Guzman repay Brown for her legal fees that he had paid. The original agreement still stands, and it allows Brown 12 unsupervised days with the child.

Child support for child athletes

22167896_S.jpgWhile it's not unusual for Illinois parents to think that their kids are pretty special, there are some children who are particularly gifted. These youngsters usually benefit from specialized educational and extracurricular activities that can nurture their talents.

A child who is a gifted athlete requires special equipment and coaching to reach his or her potential. All of this can be expensive and a significant burden on family finances. The question of paying for the child's activities can become even more complicated in situations where the parents are divorced.