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b2ap3_thumbnail_domestic-violence-new-law.jpgMany cities and towns across the United States have recently taken harsher stances against neighborhood crime and disturbances. Over the past 25 years, American communities have put in place laws that aim to weed out drug dealers and problem households from neighborhoods. These laws often force landlords to evict tenants from their homes if they become a problem household and the police are too often called to them. While these so called “nuisance” or “crime-free” ordinances are enacted with the intention of increasing neighborhood safety and reducing criminal activity in communities, unforeseen problems have arisen. Now, victims of domestic or sexual violence across the country are left with a choice; call the police and risk losing their homes, or face the violence. A new Illinois law, signed at the end of the summer, aims to protect those victims.

Problem Households

In Illinois, more than 100 communities have put in place some type of “nuisance property” ordinance, one that pressures landlords to evict tenants if the household becomes a problem, or when the police have been called multiple times. While the aim is to put responsibility on the landlord to find responsible, crime-free tenants, the ordinances have created a different problem. Many Illinois domestic violence victims report having to choose between calling the police and risking the loss of their homes, or dealing with the issue on their own.


b2ap3_thumbnail_same-sex-marriage-divorce.jpgSame-sex marriage was recently legalized across the entire United States. While some gay couples have still faced discrimination, for the most part, same-sex couples in every state have been able to celebrate their relationships and officially marry. As joyful as marriage is, legalizing marriage for a large group of people in the United States will eventually, unfortunately, and inevitably lead to divorce for some of them. While one would assume that same-sex divorce cases would be handled the same as any other divorce case, a lack of laws and prior precedent means a same-sex divorce could be messy, and the splitting of a couple’s financial assets could be left up to a judge. Planning ahead can help ease a couple’s stress about the unfortunate possibility of divorce down the road.

Unique Challenges

Same-sex couples have lined up in each and every state for weddings this past summer. With that comes a slew of couples also interested in getting a divorce. Same-sex couples faced numerous hurdles when seeking a divorce, prior to the national legalization of gay marriage. Many couples who lived in states that did not recognize gay marriage were forced to wade through countless court processes in order to divide their assets. Those that chose to get married in a state other than their home state, and then moved back home, were forced to consider relocating to the state in which they were married, as many states have residency laws in place that block speedy divorces. With gay marriage legalized across the country, same sex couples now are afforded the same divorce process as any other couple.


b2ap3_thumbnail_child-custody-Illinois.jpgAfter divorce settlements and child custody arrangements have been determined, parents must make decisions on how visitation rights will be structured. In Illinois, unless a parent is viewed as a threat to their child’s well-being, visitation rights for the non-custodial parent are required by the courts. Parents have the option to create visitation schedules on their own, or the court may set a visitation schedule for them.

Reasonable Visitation

Illinois courts require that visitation be “reasonable,” meaning that visitation rights are neither prohibited nor unlimited. The specific application of “reasonable visitation” varies from case to case. In some cases, supervised visitation may be required, either at a visitation center or in the home of a third party. Parents have the ability to drop the child(ren) off at predetermined locations if they do not want to have contact with their former spouses. Visitation rights can also be granted for other relatives such as grandparents.

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