Showing posts from January, 2018

Avoid wasting money in custody and divorce cases

It may seem that saving on an attorney's fee during a divorce, custody, parenting time or child support case would be an economical way to go. Why not use the other side's attorney to draft documents and agreements and wrap up the process smoothly and quickly? The problem is that the attorney for the other side has an ethical Duty to represent only that party, and to make the best deal possible against the other side. It's called being a zealous advocate, and that is the very nature of being an attorney. To do otherwise would be unethical. So, it's not possible to know whether a particular paragraph or provision in an agreement or proposed order is fair, benefits you, or will actually work in the future, without having an experienced family law attorney review the language, completely independent of the other side's attorney. If you would like to discuss your case, I would be happy to schedule an analysis. Please give me a call, 7 days a week at 312 493-4241. Kevi

Save documents

If you are involved in family law litigation, any kind of other court case, or you anticipate you will be, it's time to start saving and organizing documents in paper form. You might think you have everything saved electronically, but sometimes electronic records can disappear or the access to your pay stubs is blocked when you leave your job. Keep them secure, even if you have to use a locked storage unit. Download and print your bank statements, your pay stubs, make copies of bills, rent receipts, grocery bills, School invoices, you never know what will be important later. Organize documents in reverse chronological order,  with the most recent ones on top. You can punch three holes in the sheets and use binders and even attach tabs for various categories of documents. Organize and add to the documents as you go, so that you always have an up-to-date collection. You would like to discuss this further, please give me a call 312-493-4241. Kevin Johnson

Avoiding dating entanglements during a Child Custody case

When the subject of dating during a custody or divorce case I strongly recommend that clients do what I called invisible dating . That is, go on dates, meet possible partners - but on days when you don't have the children or during the hours where you don't have parenting time. "Invisible dating" means not introducing new romantic partners to your children, for a long time. The idea is to keep your own household stable and quiet, to prevent the emotional whipsawing that goes on when children have to adapt to new adults around them, and the conflicting loyalties that result from that, and also to avoid providing ammunition for the other side to wage further psychological war on my client. Sometimes, clients will get drawn into introducing a new partner to the children because that new partner also has his or her own children, and the thought is that the two sets of children should meet each other! What a disaster waiting to happen. I don't mean to be entirely ne

Controlling other side's use of children as messengers, spies and reporters in Divorce and Custody cases

A common complaint by parties in a divorce case involving children, or any other type of decision-making (custody) or parenting-time dispute, is something like, "She's saying bad things about me to the children."  Sincere, caring parents REALLY want to reduce the stress on their children that is caused when they hear derogatory comments being made about one parent, by the other parent (or other adults on that side of the case.) First of all, I do not focus on changing the behavior of the out-of-control or undisciplined parent on the other side.  That is a hopeless quest, if taken by itself. Let's face it.  The other parent is probably going to interrogate the children after each parenting-time session with the other parent.  Probably going to expect a report or recap of what was said and done when the children were with the other parent, sometimes down to what was served at meals, what TV shows were watched, who was present in the house, how everyone (including mo

Useless 'Aspirational' language and a Custody or Visitation Agreement

Since most family-law disputes end with a settlement, which is essentially a contract between the parties affecting their rights to assets, cash flow, time with children, parenting decisions and moving out of state with children, it's important to know that there are basically two types of paragraphs put into these 'Marital Settlement Agreements' or 'Agreed Parenting Plans' --  (1) aspirational  and (2) enforceable. "Aspirational" paragraphs (my term for them) are couched in lofty-sounding phrases that sound good , that seem to require certain behavior from the parties, or that seem to prohibit improper behavior.  Behavior in the presence of the children, cooperation with the other parent, but are actually just an illusion -- since no one can precisely define what is required or prohibited. Here's an example of this type of bad , 'aspirational' or feel-good language: The parties shall cooperate in the selection, enrollment and schedu