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Geneva Illinois Law Blog

Personal records can help during custody cases

When Illinois parents divorce, issues regarding the custody and support of any minor children are often a major concern. The stress of the process can, however, make it difficult for parents to effectively negotiate these matters.

One thing that they can do is top access records that document day-to-day child-related activities, events and expenses. Old calendars and datebooks, for example, can help a parent provide accurate data on a child's lifestyle and the cost of caring for that child.

Harsh penalties for fentanyl analogues could be permanent

Illinois residents might have heard of the Stopping Overdoses of Fentanyl Analogues Act that is being considered by Congress. The Drug Enforcement Agency, the Department of Justice and the National Association of Attorneys General have all championed the SOFA Act, saying that it could be a solution to cut down on the illegal supply of fentanyl-like analogue drugs in the United States.

If passed, the SOFA Act would make permanent an already existing emergency DEA order that is scheduled to expire on Feb. 6. The emergency order has designated fentanyl analogues as Schedule 1 substances, which allows federal agents to more easily investigate alleged traffickers. Sentencing for fentanyl analogue trafficking has also been heightened under the emergency order.

Examining your prenuptial agreement for weaknesses

Couples who create a prenuptial agreement before marriage enjoy benefits that can ease tensions in a marriage and make the divorce process easier if spouses choose to go their separate ways. Unfortunately, having a prenuptial agreement does not guarantee a smooth divorce. If an agreement contains weaknesses, a spouse who does not feel the agreement is fair may challenge it, especially in a high-asset divorce.

If you have a prenuptial agreement and believe that you may face divorce in the near future, now is the time to examine the agreement carefully. As you build your divorce strategy and plan for life on the other side of this difficult season, it is important to use all the legal tools and resources you need to keep your rights secure and protect your priorities until the dust settles.

Racial gap still a problem in criminal sentencing

Racial disparity continues to affect the criminal justice system in Illinois and across the country, despite ongoing work for criminal justice reform. The Council on Criminal Justice, a nonpartisan group bringing together government officials, police representatives and advocates for justice reform, released a report saying that there were signs of significant positive progress in reducing the racial gap in imprisonment and sentencing. However, experts also noted that disparity continues to pose a serious barrier and that more needs to be done to make the system a fairer, less biased space for all.

In 2000, black people were 15 times more likely than white people to be imprisoned based on a drug conviction. While this multiple declined to five times by 2016, it still presents a significant disparity. Drug crimes showed the greatest decrease in racial gaps, although the researchers said that the same reduction was found across all major crime areas in local jails, state prisons and probation and parole systems. Several factors have contributed to changing approaches to drug prosecutions, including the opioid epidemic and the legalization of cannabis in many states. Drug convictions have been the focus of reform efforts in many states, as people have received lengthy sentences for nonviolent offenses or even simple possession.

You can face drug charges for prescription medications

You always used prescription medications for your pain, but when the opioid crisis hit, your doctor stopped prescribing the dosages you needed. You weren't addicted or dependent, you were in chronic pain.

Many people who had long used these medications to care for their pain found themselves struggling with tighter regulations over the years, and now, it can be almost impossible to get opioids. For some kinds of pain, NSAIDs and other forms of pain medications just aren't strong enough.

Helping children of divorce enjoy the holidays

The holiday season can be stressful for anyone living in Illinois. However, it's often even more stressful after a divorce. That's why separated parents should do everything that they can to ensure that their children have a happy experience during this time of year. Ideally, the adults will put their hurt feelings aside and listen to what their sons and daughters want to do.

By arguing with each other, parents may be hurting their children without realizing it. Parents should collaborate to figure out what their kids want from their holiday experience and take steps to meet those desires. Exes are encouraged to have civil conversations between themselves and with their kids when creating their plan. Children should be given an opportunity to spend time with grandparents and other extended family members. Furthermore, they should not feel pressured to choose between either parent.

Do you think your spouse is intentionally wasting marital assets?

Quite a few different issues can impact the way that you split up your possessions and debts when you divorce. The total value of your marital estate will include all of your acquired assets and equity adjusted for the total amount you owe in debt, such as credit card balances and the amount still due on your mortgage.

The courts will use information that you and your ex provide to determine what is fair and reasonable when splitting your assets and debts. Equitable distribution laws allocate much of what you acquire or earn during marriage to the marital estate, which means those assets get shared between spouses, regardless of how much money either individual spouse earns.

Challenges for long-distance parents after divorce

Illinois parents who move away from their children after divorce might be worried about whether they will be able to maintain the relationship from a distance. While they may not be able to spend as much time with their children as they would if they were nearby, they can take steps to ensure that the time they do have together counts.

Some children may prefer that their parents come to visit them, and parents should talk to them about their preferences. Whatever the arrangement, parents should try to ensure that they have plenty of alone time with their children. This is not the time to introduce children to people the parents are dating unless the relationship has become a serious one. Parents may want to try to meet their children's friends and parents of these friends. This helps them become more involved in their children's lives and may increase the likelihood that the friends will be allowed to accompany the child and noncustodial parent on trips.

Questioning the validity of blood pattern analysis

Illinois residents may be interested to learn how analyzing bloodstains after a shooting can help law enforcement identify a perpetrator. Blood splatter evidence is based on the physical way that blood behaves. It has been used in law enforcement since the late 19th century. In the United States, its prominence dates back to 1955. Blood splatter evidence has played a role in many well-known murder trials, including the murder trial of O.J. Simpson.

Law enforcement may use blood spatter to backward-trace the events at a crime scene. They may be able to use blood splatter evidence to reconstruct how suspects acted during the crime, what weapons were used and where the victim and the perpetrator were positioned. Potential evidence includes splatters, drips and smears that are created following the impact of a bullet or a hit with a blunt object.

You can regain custody after rehab

The saddest part of parental addiction is the damage that the child(ren) suffer when their parents are actively using and not pursuing recovery. Fractured families struggle to remain together when one or both parents remains addicted to drugs.

If you are a divorced parent who is abusing drugs, you and your children are at risk of grave repercussions if you continue on this path. You could lose your custody rights and even be denied visitation if you refuse to get and stay sober. In the most extreme cases, you could even lose your parental rights completely.

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