Showing posts from January, 2010

Past Due Child Support: Bone-headed legislation proposed - so nothing new in Springfield

House bill 5078 would require a parent owing back child support in an amount exceeding $10,000 to file a bond (as security) in the amount owed before that parent can seek to change visitation or custody. If this passes it will be confirmation that the Illinois General Assembly has collectively lost its mind. An issue which requires precision handling (parents using custody to prevent collection of child support) is met with a hack-saw (throwing a child's best interest out the window to prevent a change of custody when otherwise needed). Why not just make the payment of support (or non-payment) a factor in custody determinations? Where a change of custody is brought with a backdrop of unpaid child support obligations, many times it is because the parent without custody wants to avoid future support, not do what's best for the children. Simply put, courts are best placed to make that call on a case-by-case determination, not the legislature on an all-or-nothing basis.

Shoplifting mom loses custody through an Order of Protection

Orders of protection are very powerful tools in custody disputes but they must be used wisely - if at all. In a recently reported case, a mother lost custody of her children because of repeated arrests for shoplifting. In re Marriage of Holtrof (Kane County, 2010 - see link below) At least one of the arrests happened when one the children was with her at time of arrest and once when she left some of the children in the car with the engine running while she was in the store. The appellate court stated that such activities equaled "abuse" because the arrests occurred with the children present (it was not "neglect" because neglect only applies to adults with disabilities.) This case is a good illustration of the general principle that custody cases can get into much of the detail of one’s life even if not directly related to the children. Essentially, if it is done in front of the children, it might be relevant to the court in a custody dispute. I have seen this wher