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Aurora Adoption Attorney Helps Family Adopt Bolivian Child

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It was a dream come true for a little girl in Bolivia: a family who wanted to adopt her. But more than three years later, the family from west suburban Aurora is still trying to bring 5-year-old Cecilia home. Attorney Brad Giglio of Mevorah Law Offices LLC says the feds have told him and his clients to be patient. Read more from CBS Chicago. Support Bringing Cecilia Home on Facebook.

Written by Staff Writer

March 22nd, 2014 at 2:55 pm

Health Insurance and Divorce: Protecting Your Coverage

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DuPage County family law attorney, health insurance and divorce, Mevorah Law Offices LLC, post-divorce, private health insurance coverage, health insurance coverage, divorce settlementDivorce causes a significant amount of emotional, mental, and physical stress, especially when a divorce is particularly caustic. With all the items that need to be decided on for a divorce settlement, as well as the uncertainty of the final result of a divorce, it may be difficult to ensure that all of your needs properly addressed. In fact, health insurance coverage is one of the many particulars that ends up getting lost in the middle of a divorce settlement.

Study Sheds Light on Loss of Coverage for Many Women Post-Divorce

A recent study, conducted by the University of Michigan and published in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior, evaluated women between the ages of 26 and 64 and found that overall, women’s insurance coverage dropped and remained low for more than two years after the end of a marriage. Additionally, it was estimated that nationwide, 115,000 women annually lose their private health insurance coverage as a result of a divorce. This is a significant number of women who are living post-divorce life without the protection that they would have had had they remained married.

Why Are Many Women Losing Coverage?

Because a significant number of women receive their health insurance coverage under the plans of their husbands, women who divorce their partners end up no longer qualifying as dependents of the insurance plans or may not be able to pay the premiums for other private health insurance options.

It is estimated that almost one-fourth of women who were covered under the insurance policies of their husbands’ employers were no longer covered six months after a divorce. A divorce even affects coverage for women who are insured by plans from their own employers as they may no longer—due to their financial hardship post-divorce—be able to afford this coverage either.

The study goes further and shows that women who are in the middle/moderate-income bracket suffer the most because they cannot pay the insurance premiums of private insurers, but they do make enough income to not qualify for public coverage. The Affordable Care Act, as currently in place, is attempting to reach this middle-ground population. However, with the Act still in its infancy and at the epicenter of debate, its effectiveness is still in question.

Protect Yourself, Protect Your Coverage

There are several ways that you can protect yourself from ending up in this type of situation post-divorce.

  • At the start of the initial divorce proceedings, begin to think about what your financial circumstances will look like after a divorce. Once you have a range of estimates for what your divorce settlement will look like, start to investigate plans (or look into the coverage offered by your employer if applicable) that may fit with your post-divorce financial situation.

  • If you are aware of pre-existing health concerns, medical costs and expenditures may be projected and could be negotiated into your final divorce settlement. It may be a possibility that your projected medical costs could be provided for as part of your alimony, thus providing a cushion to investigate further your insurance coverage options.

  • Speak with a financial advisor or insurance adviser about the myriad of options that may be available, including the Affordable Care Act provisions, COBRA, your own employer’s plan (or the availability of a plan after a certain number of days at a new job), and other government programs (if you are turning 65, you are eligible for Medicare).

Family Law Attorneys in DuPage County

Health insurance coverage at the time of the divorce proceedings may seem like the last issue on your mind. However, it is important to protect yourself, especially once the post-divorce flames have been extinguished. An experienced DuPage County family law attorney at Mevorah Law Offices LLC will be able to provide you with all the necessary guidance and bring to your attention the several issues  you may face during and after divorce proceedings. Contact Mevorah Law Offices LLC today to schedule a confidential consultation.

The Legal Ins and Outs of Marrying a Foreigner

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marrying a foreigner, DuPage County family law attorney, Mevorah Law Offices LLC, citizen status, marriage abroadLove between an American and a non-U.S. citizen has been written about and enjoyed by many for years. With increased globalization of the world, the are vast opportunities for Americans to meet and fall in love with non-U.S. citizens who are either living in the United States temporarily or who they met while abroad.

If you are a U.S. citizen interested in marrying a non-U.S. citizen, there are considerations and requirements, especially those regarding family law, that must be considered and satisfied before you can say “I do,” and before your partner may be legally allowed to remain in the United States as your spouse.

Marriage within the United States

Prenuptial Agreements: Before marriage, sponsors who are looking to bring their foreign spouses to the United States should first consider any financial disparities between one another. If possible, a prenuptial agreement should be discussed at the outset of a marriage to protect financial interests, but also to outline specific requirements such as the citizenship of any future children and where they should receive their education. Even if a prenuptial agreement has been signed between a couple, a sponsor may not be completely off the hook for any future liabilities that may result from the dissolution of the marriage.

Green Cards: The foreign spouse of a marriage that is two years old or less may receive conditional permanent residence allowing for him or her to remain in the country with his or her sponsor (the American spouse). The couple, after the marriage has lasted for two years, will be under the microscope to ensure that the marriage is still functioning and that there is no fraudulent activity. Permanent status via a green card is given if the couple satisfies all the requirements and have been evaluated by officials. Those who fail must return to their countries of origin.

It is important to remember that a foreign spouse needs to file to remove the temporary residence status, because once the temporary green card expires, the spouse will be considered illegally in the country. Living with an expired temporary green card for more than six months will put a three-year no-entry bar on the foreigner; living with an expired card for more than one year could lead to a 10-year no-entry bar. Once the temporary status has been applied for removal, the green card becomes permanent.

Sponsor Liability: By marrying a foreigner, a sponsor (the American spouse) must assert to the U.S. government that he or she will be responsible for his or her foreign spouse for at least 10 years. This is to ensure that if there is a dissolution of marriage, the foreign spouse (and his/her children) will not become a ward of the state, and the sponsor is financially responsible for the spouse and children for 10 years.

Validity of Marriage Abroad

If an American spouse and foreign spouse get married abroad, it is up to the applicant to prove with evidence that his or her marriage is valid based on the standards of the place in which the marriage took place. Generally, marriages abroad (with a marriage certificate as prima facie evidence of valid marriage), are valid in the United States, except for the following:

  • Polygamous marriages;

  • Marriages, civil unions, or domestic partnerships that are not recognized in the country in which they took place;

  • Marriages that violate public policy of the state in which the couple resides (such as violating age requirements in the state of Mississippi if the couple is now living in that state);

  • Proxy marriages, where one of the parties is not present, unless the marriage was later consummated; and

  • Marriages or relationships entered into for the purpose of fraud (such as marrying solely for a green card).

Experienced Family Law Attorneys in DuPage County

If you are considering marriage with someone from another country, it is important to know all the requirements and hurdles that you and your future spouse may face. However, you do not have to face them alone. An experienced DuPage County family law attorney from Mevorah Law Offices LLC will be able to guide you through the legal proceedings and help keep your marriage and citizen status on track. Contact Mevorah Law Offices LLC today for a free and confidential consultation.

Wage Garnishment: When an Ex Dodges Child Support Payments

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Illinois family law attorney, income withholding, income withholding notice, Mevorah Law Offices LLC, wage garnishmentChild support is extremely important after the split of a couple. Generally, child support is either outlined within an agreed-upon divorce settlement decree between the couple, or it is ordered by the court based upon certain factors such as income and the extent of custodial responsibility between the parents.

Too often, however, some parents may evade their responsibilities to their children and voluntarily choose to not pay the required child support amount. In this situation, Illinois allows for wage garnishment, a process by which the parent’s wages are reduced by a certain amount until his or her dues are paid.

Income Withholding for Support Act

Illinois has set in place the Income Withholding for Support Act with the purpose of ensuring that child support and the needs of the child outlined by court orders and divorce decrees are honored. While skipping town may be one “sleuthy” way in which a parent may avoid the periodic payments, if the court can find where he or she works, then the court may take out the child support payments from his or her salary or bank account. This is known as wage garnishment.

In Illinois, to enforce a wage garnishment against the delinquent spouse, the obligee (or the spouse receiving child support) must prepare an income withholding notice to be presented to the employer of the obligor (the delinquent spouse).

The Income Withholding Notice to Employers

The income withholding notice must include all of the relevant information, including the dollar amount that the obligor is deficient. The dollar amount, however, may not be a more than a certain percentage of the obligor’s income (which is determined on a state-by-state level). The income withholding notice puts the employer on notice that he or she has a duty to withhold a certain amount of the obligor’s income until the arrearage has been paid off. The employer may be subject to a $100 per day penalty if the employer deliberately fails to comply with the wage garnishment. It is important, however, as seen in a recent Illinois Supreme Court case, that the income withholding notice has all of the required information or else the employer will not be required to comply.

In this recent Illinois Supreme Court case, it was determined that the income withholding notice provided to an employer was statutorily deficient because the obligee failed to include the deficient spouse’s Social Security number. Clearly, it is essential that all relevant material about the obligor has been supplied before the notice may take effect.

Illinois Family Law Attorneys to Force Child Support Payments

The Income Withholding for Support Act is just one of the means by which Illinois may enforce these important child support payments. There are a variety of other means by which a spouse may force the arrearage of his or her delinquent ex. An experienced Illinois family law attorney at the Mevorah Law Offices LLC can access your case and determine whether wage garnishment or another method could be used to gain pending child support. Contact us today for a free and confidential consultation.

Written by Staff Writer

December 2nd, 2014 at 7:00 am

The Double Standard of Visitation Rights in Illinois

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child custody, divorce settlements, DuPage County divorce attorney, Mevorah Law Offices LLC, traditional families, visitation rights in IllinoisWith the status quo of “traditional” families being amended to include the increasingly more common combinations of families that are now present in American society, certain laws in Illinois are still championing the role of the “traditional” family. One of the most recent laws, which affects the rights of married and unmarried fathers and their relationships with their biological children, creates a double standard that espouses the married, but divorced father, over the rights of the unmarried, biological father.

Recent Case Designating the Double Standard

In a recent case, the Illinois Supreme Court reviewed the standard and burden of proof that would be applied to the biological father regarding his visitation rights with his biological child. In this case, a woman, who was married, had a one-night stand with another man. As a result, she became pregnant and gave birth to a child. The law creates a rebuttable presumption that any child that is begot from a marriage is the child of the husband. In this case, the husband, who was not the biological father, was presumed to be the biological father of the child and paternity was designated to him. The man from the affair, after seeing photos of the child posted onto a social media site, noted similarities between him and the child, and paternity was established between him and the child. The husband, who had been presumed to be the father of the child, later divorced the woman.

The biological father petitioned the court for visitation rights to the child. The standard for determining the rights of the biological father in the face of the husband who had been married to the woman has led to split court decisions, and had to be decided.

Illinois’s Visitation Rights Debate

Visitation rights of the biological father in Illinois have been the subject of a much heated debate in Illinois. Courts have been split on the issue of the type of burden of proof the biological father needs to show to establish visitation rights. Prior to this case, the majority of the decisions within the Appellate level pointed to the “serious endangerment” standard outlined in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, which was applied equally to both married and unmarried, noncustodial parents.

The Serious Endangerment Standard

The serious endangerment standard stated that  visitation rights are in the best interest of the child, except if there is evidence to suggest that visitation would seriously endanger the child. This language suggested that the court felt that visitation from a noncustodial parent, whether married or unmarried, was a right, and not a privilege. The new standard outlined in this most recent case finds that visitation is a privilege and not a right.

The recent case creates a double standard whereby the standard is laxer for those noncustodial parents who were married to the custodial parents. Married, noncustodial parents enjoy the rights of visitation in the face of evidence to suggest serious endangerment of the child, whereas unmarried, noncustodial parents must show that visitation rights are in the best interest of the child. This thereby shows the Illinois courts’ preference for the married, nuclear family in the face of less traditional forms of family.

The “Best Interest of the Child” Standard

The “best interest of the child” analysis weighs factors to assess how a judgment, like visitation rights, will affect the child in question. The analysis looks at the wishes of the custodial parent, the wishes of the child, the past and future relationship between the child and the noncustodial parent, the mental and physical health of the individuals involved, and the presence or absence of past abuse, among other considerations.

Experienced Family Law Attorneys in DuPage County

The new double standard is not as easy to apply as one would think. If you or a loved one is going through a visitation rights dispute, it is important to request guidance from an experienced DuPage County family law attorney at Mevorah Law Offices LLC. The attorneys at Mevorah Law Offices LLC are experienced in matters relating to divorce settlements, child custody, and maintenance, and additional family law matters. Contact us today to schedule your confidential consultation.

Custody Arrangements: The Right of First Refusal

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child custody rights, child visitation, divorce decrees, DuPage County family law attorney, joint custody arrangements, Mevorah Law Offices LLC, right of first refusalA recent bill signed into law in Illinois will have a tremendous impact on custody and visitation rights. The law amends the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act by determining that when one of the parties who has custody or visitation rights with the child(ren) must leave the child for a significant period of time with a third party (for example, nanny, family member, or current spouse), then he or she must offer a right of first refusal to the other custodial parent to take care of the child.

Purpose of the “Right of First Refusal” law

The presumption put forward by the court is that it is advantageous and in the best interests of the child to let the child have significant time with both parents. Most divorce decrees keep this presumption in mind and the courts tend to lean on the favor of joint custody arrangements so that the child may spend significant time with both parents.

This “right of first refusal” requires that parents who leave their child with a third party, for a significant period of time, must offer the opportunity first to the other custodial parent before a third party may come in to care for the minor child. However, “right of first refusal” is terminated upon termination of custody or visitation rights.

Issues to Consider for “Right of First Refusal”

The “right of first refusal” is an excellent way to permit increased quality time with a minor child between the parents, but it also leads to complex legal issues with regards to the enforcement of the “right of first refusal.” The vagueness of the law requires that the court, before enforcing the “right of first refusal,” must take into consideration the following:

  • What constitutes a significant period of time? Hours? Days?

  • What type of notification must be used? Phone, email, etc.?

  • How long does the other parent have to respond before a third party may step in to care for the child?

  • What constitutes an emergency where “right of first refusal” is not required?

  • What are the transportation requirements?

  • How close do the parents have to live to each other for “right of first refusal” to be invoked?

How to Make “Right of First Refusal” Work for You

These types of issues have yet to be contemplated and will lead to substantial confusion between parental parties. However, to limit the amount of confusion, if parents are interested in a “right of first refusal,” it may be necessary to amend current custodial or visitation rights to incorporate answers to the above mentioned considerations.

For example, a divorced couple may want to amend and include into their custody agreement that a “right of first refusal” should be invoked when the parent has to go on a work trip that lasts longer than 24 hours. If the couple lives close by and has flexible hours, the “right of first refusal” may be invoked more often as it would be easy to drop the children off with the other parent. It becomes more difficult when parents have rigid schedules and live far away; “right of first refusal” would be hard to enforce if parents live two hours away and a child only needs to be watched for four hours.

Experienced Family Law Attorneys

If you and your divorced spouse are interested in invoking the “right of first refusal,” it is important that both parties seek counsel from their attorneys regarding the ramifications and consequences of “right of first refusal.” Seeking guidance from experienced DuPage County family law attorneys at Mevorah Law Offices LLC will help to identify possible issues that may result from “right of first refusal” and may also help divorced couples navigate these complex issues. Contact Mevorah Law Offices LLC today to schedule a confidential consultation.

Illinois Establishes New Guidelines for Spousal Maintenance

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Chicago family law attorney, Mevorah Law Offices LLC, new guidelines for spousal maintenance, alimony, spousal maintenance, divorcing couple, Illinois spousal maintenanceSpousal maintenance is often one of the most contentious issues during divorce. Often referred to as “alimony,” this payment of support from one spouse to another has come under criticism in recent years. As a result, some legislatures across the country have revised the legal aspects of maintenance in an effort to provide more structure to when and how it is awarded.

Traditionally, in most jurisdictions around the country, it has been left to the judge’s discretion about whether spousal maintenance should be applied in any given case. After various factors are considered, the judge may decide upon a maintenance award that he or she believes would best support the designated spouse.

Some argue, however, that this process of leaving significant discretion to the judge leads to confusion and uncertainty, with parties unable to predict with much confidence how much maintenance (if any) will be awarded. Critics of the older model suggest that leaving spousal maintenance to the discretion and judgment of one person is a risky affair in need of refinement.

The Amendment to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act

Coming into effect on January 1, 2015, Illinois will follow the trend of a handful of states by finally applying a new formula and stricter guidelines to spousal maintenance. The law, which was one of the many amendments to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, will help family law attorneys better predict how much spousal maintenance will be applied if the judge decides that spousal maintenance is necessary due to the circumstances of the marriage. The law still provides that it will be up to the judge’s discretion whether, based on a balancing of a series of factors, spousal maintenance applies. However, the amount will be more or less predictable.

The New Formula and How it Applies

According to the law, the new formula provides that the maintenance award will be equal to 30 percent of the payor’s gross income, subtracting out 20 percent of the payee’s gross income, and shall not surpass 40 percent of the payor’s and payee’s combined gross income once added to the payee’s gross. If the judge chooses not to apply the formula or deviates from the formula, he or she is required to provide reasoning behind the ruling.

For example, consider a divorcing couple where the wife’s annual gross income is $100,000 and the husband’s is $30,000. If the judge decides that the husband is entitled to spousal maintenance, the process of determining an amount would proceed as follows:

  1. Calculate 20 percent of the husband’s gross income – $6,000.

  2. Calculate 30 percent of the wife’s gross income – $30,000.

  3. Subtract the second figure from the first – $24,000.  This would generally be the annual maintenance award to the husband.

  4. However, that figure can be lowered if, when added to the husband’s annual gross income, the total exceeds 40 percent of the couples combined gross. In this case, 40 percent of the couples combined gross income ($130,000) is $52,000. Adding a projected $24,000 maintenance award to the husband’s annual income results in a total of $54,000. That means that the award would likely be lowered by $2,000 (to $22,000) so that the husband’s gross income plus maintenance does not exceed the 40 percent as outlined in the law.

As the above example demonstrates, the specifics of the new law are somewhat complex. A divorce attorney can explain more clearly how the rules might apply in your case.

The Formula for the Duration of Spousal Maintenance

The spousal maintenance duration will be factored by a percentage of the number of years of the marriage. For example:

  • For marriages lasting zero to five years, the duration of spousal maintenance will last for only 20 percent of the time together. If the couple was together for five years, then spousal maintenance will apply for one year;

  • For marriages lasting five to 10 years, alimony will last for 40 percent of that time;

  • For marriages lasting 10 to 15 years, alimony will last for 60 percent of that time;

  • For marriages lasting 15 to 20 years, alimony will last for 80 percent of that time; and

  • For marriages lasting 20 years and more, the judge may decide that permanent maintenance or maintenance should last as long as the marriage had.

Divorce Attorneys to Help Assert Your Spousal Maintenance Rights

After many years of marriage, there are rights that spouses acquire. Spousal maintenance is a right that should be owed to those who sacrificed their earning potential to put their spouses and family first. If you are considering a divorce, it is important to know what your future could look like after the marriage has been dissolved. Contact an experienced Chicago family law attorney at Mevorah Law Offices LLC who can guide you through the new spousal maintenance guidelines and provide a big picture of life post-divorce.

Snooping on Your Spouse Could be Costly to Your Divorce

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being a snoop, DuPage County family law attorney, Mevorah Law Offices LLC, snooping on your spouse, reasons for divorce, divorce trends, expectation of privacy, marriage and privacyA survey published by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) shows a significant increase in the use of evidence taken from smartphones and social networking websites in matrimonial litigation. Men and women have become more attached to their social media websites and smartphones, and matrimonial litigation has reflected this attachment with the increased use of this information being put under the microscope.

Not only has this information been exploited more often, but new spying gadgets and technology have made it easier for spouses to collect evidence prior to obtaining a divorce. The use of this type of spying and surveillance is generally invoked when there is a fear of infidelity or a concern of marital assets slowly disappearing into hidden accounts.

However, before you hire a private investigator, hide a recording device, or snoop through a smartphone or email, it is important to know that this type of spying may be illegal depending on your surveillance methods and the state in which you live.

Courts’ Take on Surveillance of a Spouse

Recently, the courts have started to analyze and evaluate current wiretapping and surveillance laws. Intrafamily surveillance has become the center of the debate as circuit courts have found themselves split on the issue. The first factor that courts analyze is what exactly a spouse’s expectation of privacy is in a marriage.

Expectation of Privacy: Government vs. Non-Government Spying

The lines are easily delineated when understanding the expectation of privacy that one has from government intrusion and from the outside world. The reasonable expectation of privacy found in 4th Amendment case law involving the government is a balancing test of both objective and subjective tests: first, whether a reasonable person in society would have an objective expectation of privacy in the situation; and second, whether a person at the center of the violation believed he or she had an expectation of privacy in the situation.

Illinois Passes “Intrusion upon Seclusion” Tort Claim

For non-government snoopers, Illinois provides a tort for intrusion upon seclusion if:

  • There has been prying or snooping without permission;

  • The intrusion is the type that a reasonable person would find objectionable or offensive;

  • The intrusion was on a matter that was private; and

  • The intrusion caused some sort of suffering or damage.

Difficulties of Expectation of Privacy between Spouses

With regards to a married couple, marriage is one type of relationship where the expectation of privacy between a couple is low as the couple shares many intimate spaces, especially in the home. However, courts have begun to apply that wiretapping, any type of video or recording device that is hidden without the spouse’s knowledge or permission, and/or the installation of any type of software on a spouse’s computer or telephone is illegal. A person who has done the above mentioned actions could be civilly and/or criminally liable.

An Experienced Family Law Attorneys Can Help

Evidence collection, especially when trying to divorce based on one of the identified grounds, is essential to divorce litigation. However, it is important that evidence collection be done legally and without breaking any wiretapping or surveillance laws. Contact an experienced DuPage County family law attorney at Mevorah Law Offices LLC today to schedule a confidential consultation about the needs of your case.

Secular Law & Religious Law: Divorce in the Jewish Communities

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Lombard family law attorney, Mevorah Law Offices LLC, religious law, secular law, Jewish marriages, religion and divorceIn the United States, there is a firm commitment to keeping religion out of its legislative affairs. All religious issues are generally tempered by standards that the Supreme Court has set to help balance religious ideas against secular interests. However, in situations of the family, where religion is closely tied to the concept of the family, the lines become more blurry. Divorce and religion, for example, are generally two concepts that are mutually exclusive, especially in the Judeo-Christian ideology. But where does religion and the law meet? How can the law be utilized in family issues arising in a religious home?

Jewish Divorce: The Getting of the Get

Recently, family law practitioners have been attempting to intervene in Jewish divorces. Though not necessarily encouraged in Judaism, the religion anticipates the possibility that divorce may be a necessity. Jewish marriages are commenced by a marriage contract, known as a ketubah, which defines the responsibilities of the husband to the wife. In the Jewish religion, a wife cannot independently divorce her husband; her husband must provide her with a get, which voids the marriage contract and releases the wife from the marriage. Though this has a similar foundation as the divorce procedures currently in place in the secular world, the difference is that there is no process in the Jewish world by which a wife may force her husband into providing her with a get, thus leaving her at the mercy of a potentially spiteful husband. Married women who are trapped within the marriage are known as agunot.

American Women Trapped in Marriage with Little Recourse

U.S. courts have chosen to generally stay out of resolving the issues posed to Jewish women trapped in a marriage; the First Amendment prohibits the courts from involving themselves in purely religious affairs and secular court rulings have little bearing in the religious communities. Some less religious Jewish communities may have the discretion to follow civil decisions provided by the court, but more religious Jewish communities still require some type of religious court decision. This leaves a vacuum for women who cannot utilize civil courts and have no access to religious courts as they would in other societies that do not believe in the separation of church and state.

U.S. Court Involvement Limited but Successful

There has been some success in freeing these women from this type of marriage in New York. In 2001, the New York Supreme Court judge administered civil damages against the husband, citing the tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress. Though this was a success, the intentional infliction of emotional distress ground may only be used in limited circumstances, and has only had traction in New York.

Secular Legal Solutions to Mend the Rift between Secular Law and Religious Law

There are secular solutions, however, to empower Jewish women caught between religious laws and secular ones. Though more possible than not, these methods are by no means fool-proof.

  • In conservative Jewish communities, an annulment from a Rabbi may be permitted. The Rabbi, through the annulment, withdraws his consent of the marriage if the husband refuses to provide a get. This, however, is not adopted by the orthodox community.

  • In reformed and reconstructionist communities, a civil divorce may be permitted.

  • As for orthodox communities, prenuptial agreements have become a common practice whereby the secular or a designated religious authority may step in on behalf of the wife.

Experienced Family Law Attorneys in Illinois

Marital issues may arise in both religious and secular families, and may be difficult to resolve. If you and your spouse are considering whether a divorce may be in the best interest of your family, it is important to speak with an experienced Lombard family law attorney at the Mevorah Law Offices LLC who can provide you with the necessary legal counsel to help you decide. Contact us today for a free and confidential consultation.

Social Media & Divorce Rates: The Divorce Contagion on Facebook

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divorce rates, DuPage County family law attorney, Mevorah Law Offices LLC, social media and divorce, social media and marriage, Facebook and divorceSocial media has entered our lives and has revolutionized the way we communicate and interact with each other. Though we tend to glorify the extent that social media has changed our lives, we sometimes forget to recognize the pitfalls of social media and its negative effect on the choices we make.

As consistent users of Facebook and other social media websites, we review our news feed and evaluate our lives in comparison to what others are doing. This effect has been analyzed and published in a recent study that discusses the effect of social media on marriage and divorce rates.

The study explores whether and how divorce may be spread through social media; the study ultimately finds that there is a correlation (not to be mistaken with causation) between social media and the divorce rates. The current rates of divorce show that 43 percent of marriages will be dissolved and the dissolution will occur within the first 15 years of the marriage.

The Reasoning Behind the Correlation between Social Media and Divorce

There are many reasons why social media may have the impact of “spreading” divorce to others. One factor discussed in the study is the publication of one’s divorce to others on social media, which provides onlookers the opportunity to view the ramifications. If the person is successful post-divorce and is financially and socially stronger than they were when originally wedded, it promises to those observing the divorce via social media that life after marriage may not be as terrible as they might have imagined. It breaks down the “scary monster in the closet” and provides them an insight into what the reality of a divorce may look like. Promotion of divorce may be one effect of social media.

However, social media may have the opposite effect by hindering the desire to divorce if posts are being published that show the negative side of divorce, such as the tension, the stress, and the emotional and financial carnage that may arise. Witnessing the personal agony of divorce on social media may have the effect of convincing observers that their unhappiness in the marriage is not as bad as the potentially more caustic lifestyle of a divorcee.

Association with Divorcees May Promote Divorce

The study results show that promotion of divorce may be stronger than its inhibiting effects. Participants of the study were 75 percent more likely to be divorced if a person that they are connected to via social media is also divorced. The association only goes to two degrees of separation: their immediate direct friends and the friends’ of their friends. This points to why social media leads to a “clustering” of divorce where divorce spreads through the social media friend groups.

The result: though more divorce spreads through groups of friends, those who are divorcing actually become less popular on the social media websites due largely to the loss of friends they knew through their spouses. It is also thought that newly separated divorcees are less popular because of the threat that they pose to married couples. This is known as “marital poaching.”

Gender and Children Do Not Affect the Divorce Rate

Finally, it is important to note that both gender and children had little to no effect on the divorce rate of the couple. Having children (and the number of children) did not greatly affect the numbers of divorced couples. Furthermore, social media had an equivalent effect on both men and women; both were prone to divorce after witnessing their divorced online friends.

Experienced Divorce Attorneys

If you feel that you have been bitten by the Facebook contagion, and are considering divorce, it is important that you realize that social media does not accurately depict what divorced life will be like for you. Consulting with an experienced DuPage County family law attorney at the Mevorah Law Offices LLC will you give you a more accurate picture of whether divorce is the right choice for your and your spouse. Please contact us today for a free consultation.

Victory for Survivors of Domestic Violence: A Stay of Deportation

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domestic violence, DuPage County family law attorneys, Mevorah Law Offices LLC, stay of deportation, intimate partner violence, domestic violence survivors, grounds for asylum, illegal immigrant, risk of abuseThe recent news coverage and controversy regarding Ray Rice has thrust domestic violence and intimate partner violence into the spotlight. The dialogue about domestic abuse and violence has been incited, and the media has watched as a riveting debate has been put into play about the way our society deals with domestic violence. In fact, the initial sentencing of Ray Rice is seen by many as a reflection of society’s attitude toward domestic violence: if you do not see it, it is not there or it is not as bad as you think.

Who is Affected by Domestic Violence? 

The increased dialogue, however, has motivated lawmakers to begin to crack down on abusers and provide support to survivors of intimate partner violence. First and foremost, it is important to understand the picture of survivors of domestic violence. In a study done by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, 85 percent of survivors were women; this is approximately 1.3 million women nationwide annually. This number, however, is a conservative estimate as many survivors of domestic violence do not come forward and report their spouse.

In an article published in Time, the studies pointed to a showing that African-American women were more likely to be survivors of domestic violence than their white counterparts. Black women, as reported, were three times more likely to be killed during a domestic violent incident than white women, and domestic violence was found to be the leading cause of death in black women between the ages of 15 and 35. The reasoning behind these disparate statistics is due in large part to racism, which affects African Americans’ access to jobs and financially stability.

Board of Immigration Appeals Permits “Domestic Violence” as Grounds for Asylum

In the last week, as reported by the The New York Times, immigrant survivors of domestic violence helped change the conversation with an important new ruling: the Board of Immigration Appeals, the highest immigration court in the United States, made “domestic violence” an eligible ground for asylum in the U.S. This ruling permits a woman who is an illegal immigrant living in the U.S. to remain if she can show that there is a serious risk of abuse, serious injury, or death by her domestic partner if she is forced to return to her country of origin. Finally the dialogue of domestic violence is being discussed, especially by the courts, in terms of a type of persecution rather than a personal issue that must be hidden behind the walls of the home.

Types of Protection in Illinois

In Illinois, there are different ways in which a spouse may protect herself from her abuser.

For short term relief:

  • Emergency Order: A protective order that can be approved by a judge based solely on your testimony. It can be granted without giving notice to your abuser, and will last between 14 and 21 days until a full hearing is ordered; and

  • Interim Order: Lasts up to 30 days and does not require a court hearing; however, the abuser is required to have made an appearance in court and receive notification of the court hearing for the interim order.

For long-term relief:

  • Plenary Order of Protection: May last for up to two years (and can be renewed continually and limitlessly) but the order is only issued after there has been a full court hearing and all evidence brought by you and your abuser has been reviewed.

Advocates on Behalf of Survivors of Domestic Violence

Survivors of domestic violence have a voice and an advocate with Mevorah Law Offices LLC. If you or a loved one is living in a domestic abusive relationship and are looking for help to leave the violent partnership, please contact one of our DuPage County family law attorneys who will provide you with the support and guidance in peacefully terminating a violent relationship.

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