We get a ton of new client calls that begin with some variation of the following…
“Yeah, my girlfriend and I broke-up a couple months ago, she’s refusing to let me see my son, and now she’s left the Chicago area and is living in Houston, Texas with her parents.” Happens all the time, there’s a relationship break-up and then one of the parents takes off with the kid. It’s devastating for the parent who has lost his son or daughter and it’s devastating for the son or daughter who lost his/her mother or father. Yet it’s PREVENTABLE by simply filing your parentage (unmarried parents), child custody case BEFORE someone takes off. It’s one of my main professional resolutions for 2014 because it’s easy; it’s good for parents; it’s great for kids; and, it’s great for our world.
Here’s Why We Need More Uncontested Parentage/Child Custody Cases
- Lock-In Illinois as the Child’s Home State. Until there’s a court case filed it’s unclear whether or not a parent in an unmarried, parental relationship has the right to take the child/children to another state without the approval of the Court or the other parent. Once there’s a child custody case filed if a parent wants to relocate outside of Illinois that parent has a very difficult case to prove to get a judge to allow the move. And if a parent would just leave with the kids once there is a case on file that parent would immediately face criminal kidnapping charges.
- Not Easy, But Simple. This isn’t an easy subject…the issue of legal rights with regards to a child. But I’m not suggesting raising the temperature and getting all catty and contentious. But it’s a mature and important subject that must be addressed BEFORE the break-up while tempers are in check and a child’s best interests are the priority. And we’re not talking about anything over-the-top, but custody/visitation/home state/financial provisions should be clearly set-out and legally enforceable.
- Help Your Kid. Earlier this year I wrote a post entitled, A Tale of Two Fathers. Think about how these kids felt having been stolen by their mother, taken half-way across the country away from their father and friends and their entire life. We got a couple of those kids back because the father hired us as his lawyers but the other father couldn’t afford an attorney and his daughter last I heard was still in Alabama…sad.
As a boutique, family law firm we’re involved with many, many uncontested divorces. It’s probably the most popular sort of representation that we’re involved with. People understand that if they no longer want to be married they need to file for divorce and in many situations it’s not contentious but a pretty simple case that can get concluded in a couple of months.
In 2014 I want to educate people so that we file more uncontested parentage and child custody cases. If you have children outside of marriage you must file this case for the reasons I laid-out above. No big fight, just a mature and rational decision you must make to protect your kids and you too!