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Bill and Mary and Aaron

By Nottage and Ward on March 22, 2019

Throughout the last decade, we’ve marked the milestone 50th anniversary of many significant events of the 1960s that altered our lives: the March on Washington; the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, John Kennedy, and Robert Kennedy; the beginning of the Vietnam War; Medicare signed into law; and the Voting Rights Act established—the list is staggering.

And as we close out this decade, February 13th of 2019 represents the 50th anniversary of a meeting involving three people you likely have never heard of, but whose importance puts them on this list. Their names are Bill Jones, Mary Davidson, and a 2-year-old boy named Aaron.

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Posted in: Family Law

The Surname Situation

By Nottage and Ward on November 30, 2018

The following fictional story illustrates a common situation after a divorce in Chicago. If you need help filing a name change, please don’t hesitate to contact Nottage and Ward, LLP.

Sarah and Tom Mickelson had one daughter, 2-year-old Amy, when they both decided it was in everyone’s best interest that they no longer live together.

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Posted in: Family Law

New Illinois Law Addresses Pet Custody in a Divorce

By Nottage and Ward on March 1, 2018

We all know that issues relating to property division and child custody can be contentious in a separation or divorce, but what about pets? In the past, Illinois law has treated pets as property when dividing up assets. However, a new law that went into effect on January 1, 2018, allows a judge to take a pet’s well-being into consideration when allocating joint or sole custody of Spot or Puff.

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Posted in: Family Law

The New “Modern Family” is Governed by “Un-Modern” Laws

By Jeffrey Knipmeyer on May 6, 2014

Illinois Same Sex Family LawThere is plenty of talk nowadays about what makes a family unit.  Whether based on religious beliefs or personal reasons, there are a variety of ideas as to what constitutes a family; a mom and a dad, two moms, two dads, or grandparents and children, the combinations are seemingly endless.  So, what happens when your idea of a family is challenged by laws that don’t meet up to a more modern take on families?

More and more same sex couples are looking for ways to start their own family and have children.  Biologically, this can prove to be a challenge, and typically, a third party needs to be brought in to make this dream a reality, either through adoption or artificial insemination.  While it may not be uncommon for same sex couples to turn to the modern procedure of artificial insemination to start a family, the practice is still met with resistance by some not so modern laws.

If a lesbian couple wanted to be artificially inseminated and would prefer that the donor have no rights as a father in the child’s life, the couple could opt for an “anonymous donor” and the procedure would have to take place at a physician’s office. This may seem like a logical idea, but many couples would prefer to handle the procedure in the comfort and privacy of their own home.  However, in several states, including Kansas and Illinois, the sperm donor is legally on the hook as the biological father when the insemination procedure is done at home.

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Posted in: Family Law

Being Forced Out of Your Comfort Zone

By Leslie Fineberg on June 5, 2013

As life changes, challenges and difficulties occur. We all dislike being forced out of our comfort zones. Life brings unexpected, unwelcomed events our way. According to clinical psychologist, relationship expert, and author, Dr. Carmen Harra of The Huffington Post, we are all creatures of habit, but we also are equipped with unbelievable resilience, and we all have a built-in capacity to adapt to change.

Whether you are forced out of your comfort zone by a complex, emotional divorce, the loss of a job, or the sudden loss of a loved one, change causes uncertainty — a fear of the unknown. The following advice is offered by Dr. Harra and the Chicago family law attorneys at Nottage and Ward:

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Paid Maternity and Paternity Leave Doubled by Yahoo

By Leslie Fineberg on May 22, 2013

Yahoo is doubling maternity and paternity leave pay to help attract talented employees.  According to The Huffington Post, Yahoo has announced that the company is doing so to help smooth the transition into parenting for new-parent employees.  New fathers can take eight weeks of paid paternity leave, and new mothers now can take as many as 16 weeks of paid maternity leave.  That number of weeks doubles the previous number of weeks permitted.  In addition, NBC Bay Area reports that all new parents will receive a $500.00 bonus.

Illinois Paid Parenting LeaveTo some the announcement might look like Yahoo is attempting to make amends to its employees for the action taken by CEO Marissa Mayer banning employees from doing their work from home.  That decision made many working parent employees angry.  Instead, the move is likely Yahoo’s attempt to offer benefits more in tune with other Silicon Valley employers so as to attract more talented employees.  Mayer is a new mother herself, so perhaps the decision to double maternity and paternity leave is partly empathetic.  Since Mayer became CEO, employees have also been provided free meals and new smart phones.

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Tips for Talking with Children about a Divorce

By Leslie Fineberg on May 8, 2013

Chicago Family LawDuring the difficult, emotional period of going through a divorce, children often become confused and frightened.  They see divorce as a threat to their security.  According to “Facts for Families,” an information sheet prepared and distributed by the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP), divorce is a time when, although parents may be concerned about their own problems and priorities, they are still the most important people in their children’s lives.  It is the responsibility of the parents to explain to their children what is happening, how they may be involved or not involved, and how the divorce will change their future.

Children may erroneously believe that they are the cause of problems between their parents which led up to the divorce.  They may even take on the burden of responsibility for restoring normalcy and reuniting their parents.  It is necessary during a divorce to capitalize on the family’s strength.  Children must be reassured that they are not losing one or both parents through divorce.

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What Are the Secrets for Successful Marriage Therapy?

By Leslie Fineberg on April 25, 2013

The last resort for many married couples who are thinking of divorce may be couples therapy.  According to Susan Heitler, a Harvard graduate with a doctorate in clinical psychology from NYU, in order to decide if couples counseling will help in your situation, you need to know the secrets for helping the therapy succeed.

Secrets marriage therapists know include the following:

    • Effective therapy can only occur if the couples’ therapist has a firm hold on the reins.  If one partner begins to speak in a way that is controlling or critical, an accomplished therapist must intervene to put the dialogue back on track.
    • Therapy teaches couples to learn to speak to one another with tact, to listen, and to resolve differences.

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Chicago Divorce Attorney Jeffrey Knipmeyer Awarded Avvo Rating Badges

By Nottage and Ward on February 5, 2013

Nottage and Ward family law attorney Jeffrey Knipmeyer is proud to announce that he has been awarded the “Client’s Choice for Divorce Attorney” and “Client’s Choice for a Family Attorney” Avvo Rating Badges for his contribution to Avvo Q & A.

Avvo is a consumer-oriented website that offers unparalleled resources to those looking for an attorney to help them through a difficult time in their lives. Its mission is to provide the opportunities necessary to help people make the best decisions for their specific legal needs. One of these opportunities is the Q and A.

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Sick Boy and Father Who Kidnapped Him Found in a Hotel outside Chicago

By Nottage and Ward on January 29, 2013

Divorce can be an emotional, stressful and contentious experience, but this does not just mean that a husband and wife will just be fighting over money, property, child custody and other terms in a courtroom. To get through your divorce in a safe and healthy way, it is important to remember that the turmoil of divorce can make people do dangerous things so you have to be prepared for anything and make decisions accordingly, even if they seem harsh. The following incident is a prime example of what a divorcing spouse may be capable of.

A Desperate Move for Custody

Courtesy of The Chicago Tribune, a California man was quickly traced to a hotel room outside Chicago after he made taunting calls and texted threatening messages to his estranged wife. The man, age 33, was arrested and charged with kidnapping his five-year-old son. The boy, who has congestive heart failure and is a candidate for a heart transplant on the high-priority list, was found unharmed with his father at Baymont Inn & Suites in Alsip.

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