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Posted on in Guardian ad Litem

Geneva family law attorneyFamily law is one of the most sensitive and challenging areas of the law. While the applicable statutes themselves may not be quite as complicated as tax or real estate law, for example, the personal nature of issues such as divorce and the allocation of parental responsibilities make them particularly difficult for who are going through them.

In some cases, child-related disputes can become so contentious that the parties are unable to remain objective and focused on the child’s best interests. When this happens, the court may appoint a specially trained attorney to serve as a guardian ad litem (GAL) for the duration of the proceedings.

The Job of a GAL

Geneva parental responsibilities attorneyPeople move around much more often they once did. As transportation and communication continue to improve over time, it opens up a new host of questions for families, especially divorced families with children. There are rules about how and when you may take your children out of state, especially if your child is a minor. Lest you run afoul of the law, it is absolutely imperative to understand what the rules are in these cases, especially regarding questions of parental responsibilities.

Decision-Making Authority

Many people assume that if they been given sole authority to make all major decisions about their child’s welfare, they do not need to seek the other parent’s approval when planning a move. This, however, is not the case. In almost every situation, your child’s other parent has the right to object to your intended move out of state or beyond a certain distance within Illinois if he or she believes it is not in the best interest of your children. The court has the final say, of course, and can refuse to grant permission to move with your child if it finds that the child’s physical, mental, or emotional health will be compromised by the move.

If both parents share roughly equal time with the child or children, the non-moving parent will have more say in whether or not the relocation should be permitted than if he or she has little time with the child. A common compromise is for the non-moving parent to agree to the move and receive longer blocks of parenting time in return.

Reasons for Strict Regulations on Child Removal

Kane County family law attorneysIn the late 19th century, U.S. states began to see a series of causes of action referred to as “heart balm torts.” These torts, such as seduction and alienation of affection, hinged around the idea that one spouse could hold the other spouse’s lover liable for the breakup of their marriage. Nowadays, such causes of action have been abolished in most states, as they have been in Illinois since the beginning of 2016.

Definitions and History

Heart balm torts originated in the 19th century in the United States. While they began to fall out of favor as states passed their respective Married Women’s Property Acts, heart balm torts came about due to the general belief that a wife was her husband’s property. Thus—as was the belief—he alone enjoyed the exclusive right to her company and to sexual congress within the confines of marriage. Illinois passed its version of a heart balm act into law in 1901, somewhat later than many other states.

Geneva family law attorneysAn order for child support is a binding judgment. If a parent who has been ordered to pay refuses to comply or otherwise claims an inability to do so that is not supported by facts, the recipient parent and the state can take steps to ensure the children are supported in the way they should be according to the law. It is often a laborious process, but once started, it is usually successful.

State Court Enforcement

Illinois has a specific law on the books known as the Non-Support Punishment Act (NSPA), which governs the proceedings that may face a parent who is significantly behind on child support payments without sufficient cause. The offense of failure to support is created by the act, which is either a Class A misdemeanor or a Class 4 felony, depending on the manner in which the noncustodial parent seeks to evade support. For example, a parent who attempts to leave the state to avoid support obligations may be charged with a Class 4 felony, while a parent who fails to pay outstanding support arrears for more than 6 months could face prosecution for a Class A misdemeanor.

kane county family lawyersIn juvenile court, it is sadly not uncommon for parental rights to be terminated if doing so is deemed to be in the best interests of their children. Parents with a history of violence or substance abuse problems, among others, may be deemed unfit. However, the system does not always shut the door irrevocably. If a parent is able to demonstrate that he or she has changed and that it would now be in the best interest of the child to allow the parent to have time with the child, there may be a way to get it.

Each State Has Its Own Laws

Most states do not permit restoration of parental rights in any but the most unusual cases. Illinois is one of nine states that does have a procedure to restore parental rights in certain situations; the other 41 generally do not. The general prevailing view is that certain faults can be corrected if proof of a significant change in circumstances is shown.

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