There used to be a time when family courts in Illinois as well as across the country believed in the Tender Years' doctrine. That doctrine supported the idea that a child's best interest can only be served if that child remains with the mother. Laws, however, have evolved since then and nowadays the court conducts a Best Interest analysis before it approves a child custody and visitation plan.
There was a time when family courts considered that the best interests of the child could only be preserved by granting custody to the mother. Known as "the Tenders' Doctrine," this practice led to many child custody and visitation cases being settled in favor of the mother, without paying adequate attention to a father's pleas for child custody, even when that father was mentally, physically, emotionally and financially able to care for his child.
Many U.S. couples, including those of Lake County, Illinois, will agree that a divorce can present a unique set of challenges for spouses. A few of the complicated issues accompanying divorce are spousal support, child custody, child support and property division. In addition, couples may find it difficult to deal with these processes single handedly. Professional support is usually needed in all matters, including child custody.
Lake County, Illinois, spouses who think the threat of incarceration for a year will stop their cheating spouses might need to rethink it. While Illinois is one of 21 states with a law identifying adultery as a Class A misdemeanor, records show the law has not been enforced in nearly 71 years. Since Illinois law enforcement has ignored the law for years, the closest legal experience an adulterous partner may have is facing a righteous partner in a Lake County court room, when seeking a divorce to end the marriage.
A bill has been introduced across the border in Illinois' neighboring state of Wisconsin that would make changes to the rules in family court for child custody and child support. What is interesting is what those changes are opposed by many advocates who work in family court, including the attorneys from the State Bar of Wisconsin's Family Law Section.
With the signing of the bill authorizing same-sex marriage next week, Illinois becomes the 15th state to open up its marriage laws to all couples. When the law goes into effect next June, same-sex couples will be able to marry in Illinois. And, after the passage of some time, some of those couples will conclude their marriage is not working and decide to get a divorce.
Legislation has been introduced in the Illinois House that would make changes to many family law sections of the Illinois statutes. The last major overhaul of the divorce law was completed in 1977, and special committee has spent the last four years working on revisions that would modernize Illinois divorce law with the goal making it more efficient.
Child custody cases can involve all manner of issues. Some parents can decide in a civilized fashion how to determine their parenting time, and are willing to work together for their children's best interest even as their marriage is breaking apart. For other parents, so many factors can intervene that they cannot get past their mutual distrust and ill will, even if it works against their children.
Some divorce cases can be held up as an exemplar of how most people would not want their divorce to play out. The Deion and Pilar Sanders' divorce case in Texas has become a drawn out war of attrition between the two battling spouses. Deion was recently awarded custody of the couple's three children and the prenuptial agreement was ruled valid by an arbitrator deciding the issue.