Author Archives: Robert Downs

What Does It Mean for a Minor to Be Emancipated?

Most people never hear about a minor becoming emancipated unless it involves someone newsworthy - a teenage actor or actress, for instance - who wants to become legally self-sufficient. The assumption may be that these famous people are trying to protect their earnings from their parents, but there are other reasons why a minor might… Read More »

Visitation and the Reluctant Child

For divorced parents with children, even if you have legitimate grievances with each other, all of that needs to be set aside when it comes to your children. Numerous studies have shown that having quality relationships with both parents is much better for kids in the long run than having strained or nonexistent relationships. However,… Read More »

Do Sperm Donors Have Parental Rights?

For many years, the process of artificial insemination was seen as the exclusive province of married heterosexual couples who were not able to have a child on their own. As societal norms shift and more people are able to explore their options as potential parents, single women and lesbian couples increasingly turn to artificial insemination…. Read More »

Why You Need an Attorney for Your Divorce

Divorce can be time-consuming, expensive, stressful and emotional. Because many people just want to get their divorce over with as quickly as possible, some file using at-home kits or documents downloaded from the internet. While this can be a perfectly fine approach in some cases, it can be very risky in others. If your divorce… Read More »

New Case Clarifies the Definition of Income in Child Support Cases

Child support in Illinois is usually calculated as a fixed percentage of the payor parent’s income. For the vast majority of people, determining income is fairly straightforward - your wages minus taxes and other compulsory deductions. For higher asset individuals such as those with significant investments, however, the issue can become somewhat murky.  Recently, the… Read More »

What a Prenuptial Agreement Can and Cannot Do

While there may still be some stigma attached to prenuptial agreements, the truth is that many people use them, and with good reason. Entering into a marriage involves many complex financial decisions and presents a range of possibilities for the future use of funds and assets. Particularly if one or both spouses have been married… Read More »

Ongoing Efforts at Child Support Reform in Illinois

Federal law requires all states to adopt a uniform system for setting presumptive child support obligations. However, the states are not obligated to adopt any specific scheme. As a result, there are two overarching child support formulas states have gravitated toward. Illinois follows the less common of the two, but reform efforts are under way… Read More »

Parenting Education Programs: The Basics

In cases involving child custody or visitation, including situations in which someone is seeking a modification to an existing arrangement, the state of Illinois requires parents to complete an authorized parenting education program. The purpose is to foster better relationships between the parents, and between the parents and their children, by providing information and guidance…. Read More »

Special Family Law Issues for Veterans

Our servicemen and women sacrifice more than we can imagine to defend our nation, including adopting a mobile lifestyle that includes frequent relocation and long absences from home. This situation can create a number of special issues when an active duty member of the military becomes involved in a divorce or other domestic dispute. Fortunately,… Read More »

What Is Supervised Visitation?

In any divorce settlement involving children, the top priority is the wellbeing and best interests of the kids. Because every family is different and faces unique challenges and circumstances, it’s important that the system have a process in place for handling a variety of family situations, such as when there is a need for supervised… Read More »