5/17/2024 Parenting

Proving someone is a "bad parent" in court is a serious matter and requires substantial evidence to support such claims. The definition of a "bad parent" can vary depending on the context and legal standards in your jurisdiction. Generally, courts consider factors such as the child's well-being, safety, and best interests when determining parental fitness. Here are steps you might take:

1. Documented Evidence: Collect any documented evidence that demonstrates the parent's behavior or actions that may be detrimental to the child's well-being. This could include records of neglect, abuse, substance abuse, criminal activity, or failure to provide for the child's basic needs.

2. Witness Testimony: Gather witness testimony from individuals who have observed the parent's behavior firsthand and can provide insight into their parenting abilities. This might include teachers, neighbors, family members, or social workers.

3. Expert Opinions: Consider seeking opinions from relevant experts, such as psychologists, child welfare professionals, or counselors, who can assess the parent's behavior and its impact on the child.

4. Child's Testimony (if appropriate): In some cases, depending on the child's age and maturity level, their testimony or statement about their experiences with the parent may be considered as evidence.

5. Police Reports and Legal Documents: Obtain any police reports, restraining orders, or legal documents related to incidents involving the parent that may indicate a pattern of behavior that is harmful to the child.

6. Documentation of Parenting Issues: Keep a record of any issues or concerns related to the parent's ability to care for the child, such as missed visitations, failure to communicate, or refusal to follow court orders.

7. Physical Evidence: If applicable, gather any physical evidence, such as photographs of injuries or unsafe living conditions, that may support your case.

8. Character Witnesses: Present witnesses who can testify to the parent's character, behavior, and parenting abilities, providing both positive and negative observations.

9. Child Custody Evaluations: In some cases, the court may order a child custody evaluation conducted by a neutral third party to assess each parent's fitness and make recommendations regarding custody and visitation.

4/30/2024 Illinois - Divorce Proceeding - Exchanging Financial Information

Exchanging financial information as part of a divorce proceeding, it's crucial to ensure you're prepared with accurate and comprehensive documentation. Here's a checklist of what you may need:

1. Income Documentation:

2. Asset Documentation:

3. Liability Documentation:

4. Expense Documentation:

5. Tax Returns and Filings:

Any relevant tax filings related to joint ventures or businesses.

6. Financial Affidavits:

7. Business Interests:

8. Retirement Plans:

9. Insurance Policies:

10. Estate Planning Documents:

11. Other Financial Documents:

Any other financial documents that may be relevant to your specific situation, such as inheritance documentation, prenuptial agreements, or business contracts. It's important to gather as much documentation as possible to ensure transparency and facilitate a fair division of assets and liabilities during the divorce proceedings. 

4/23/2024 Illinois - Marital Property

In Illinois, marital property is divided according to the principle of equitable distribution, which means that marital assets and debts are divided fairly, but not necessarily equally, between the spouses upon divorce. Here's an overview of how the division of marital property works in Illinois:

Identifying Marital Property: Marital property generally includes all assets and debts acquired by either spouse during the marriage, regardless of whose name is on the title or account. This can include real estate, vehicles, bank accounts, retirement accounts, investments, household items, and debts incurred during the marriage.

Valuation of Marital Property: The next step is to determine the value of each marital asset and debt. This may require appraisals for certain assets, such as real estate or businesses, and gathering documentation of the value of financial accounts and other assets.

Classifying Non-Marital Property: Certain assets may be considered non-marital or separate property and are not subject to division in the divorce. Non-marital property generally includes assets owned by either spouse before the marriage, gifts and inheritances received by one spouse during the marriage, and certain other types of property as defined by law.

Factors Considered in Division: Illinois law outlines several factors that the court considers when determining how to divide marital property, including:

Court Decision or Settlement: If the spouses are unable to reach a mutually agreeable settlement regarding the division of marital property, the court will make a decision based on the evidence presented and the factors outlined in state law. If the spouses are able to agree on a division of property, they can submit a proposed settlement agreement to the court for approval.

Finalizing the Division: Once the court has issued a judgment of dissolution of marriage (divorce decree), it will include provisions for the division of marital property. This judgment legally divides the marital assets and debts between the spouses, and each party is then responsible for their allocated share of the property and debts.

It's important to note that while equitable distribution aims for fairness, it does not always result in an equal 50/50 split of marital property. The division will depend on the specific circumstances of each case and what the court determines to be fair and equitable under the law.

Criminal Law Attorney Near Me. Davenport. Bettendorf. Iowa. Moline. RockIsland. Illinois

4/16/2024 Illinois - Driving Under the Influence (DUI)

In Illinois, driving under the influence (DUI) laws are quite stringent. 

Blood-Alcohol Concentration (BAC): It is illegal to drive with a BAC of 0.08% or higher. However, you can be convicted of DUI if your BAC is less than 0.08% and your driving ability is impaired1.

Cannabis Influence: Driving under the influence of cannabis prescribed for medicinal purposes is also prohibited. Drivers must not operate a vehicle if impaired by cannabis and must transport it in a tamper-evident container that is inaccessible while driving.

Other Drugs: Driving under the influence of any drug, including prescription and nonprescription drugs that impair safe driving, is illegal.

License Suspension: Refusing to submit to a BAC test can result in a one-year driver’s license suspension, or three years for a second refusal

Penalties: A DUI is a class A misdemeanor, which can be punished by up to one year in jail. It may become a felony if there are past traffic convictions or if driving without a valid driver’s license.

Criminal Law Attorney Near Me. Davenport. Bettendorf. Iowa. Moline. RockIsland. Illinois

4/9/2024 Iowa - Operating While Intoxicated (OWI)

According to Iowa Law, “operate” means to have direct and immediate control over a vehicle that is moving or has an active engine. It’s possible to be found guilty of OWI even if one is not actively driving, as long as they are in command of the vehicle. The severity of the penalties may differ depending on the unique details of each incident. 

Criminal Law Attorney Near Me. Davenport. Bettendorf. Iowa. Moline. RockIsland. Illinois

4/1/2024 Inheritance rights of adoptive child

Adoption legally establishes a parent-child relationship between adoptive parents and the legally adopted children. Inheritance laws recognize adopted children as having the same rights as biological children. When a person dies without a valid will (intestate), assets are distributed according to state law. Adopted children inherit from their adoptive parents just like biological children. Creating a valid will explicitly outlining wishes is crucial to secure these rights.

Legal Parent-Child Relationship

Intestate Succession Laws

Family Law Attorney Near Me. Davenport. Bettendorf. Iowa. Moline. RockIsland. Illinois

4/1/2024 Guardianship in Iowa

Powers and Duties of a Guardian

A guardian’s powers and responsibilities are outlined in the court order appointing them.

Key duties include:

Carrying out court-assigned responsibilities: Guardians must fulfill their duties as specified by the court.

Staying within legal limits: Guardians operate within the boundaries set by the law or the court.

Understanding the protected person’s needs: Guardians should be aware of what the individual they’re protecting requires.

Filing annual reports: Guardians are responsible for preparing and submitting annual reports.

Planning for services: Guardians collaborate with service providers, case managers, and funding personnel to ensure the protected person’s needs are met.

Balancing risks and benefits: Guardians make informed decisions by considering risks and benefits while respecting the protected person’s wishes (if known).

Maintaining regular contact: Guardians stay in touch with the protected person.

Facilitating supportive relationships: Guardians encourage positive connections with family members and significant others.

Limits of a Guardian’s Power:

Guardians only possess the authority granted by the court. The court can impose restrictions on a guardian’s power. Some decisions may remain with the protected person. Other interested parties and the court can review and challenge guardians’ decisions. 

Providing for the Protected Person:

Guardians ensure the protected person’s basic needs are met (food, shelter, healthcare, social interaction, and activities).

They promote training and education to enhance the individual’s independence.

Guardians don’t have to personally fund these needs; eligible governmental benefits or services can cover them.

Residence Decisions:

Guardians often decide where the protected person lives.

Family Law Attorney Near Me. Davenport. Bettendorf. Iowa.

11/24/2023 Divorce in Iowa

Unless the responder is personally served in Iowa, one or both spouses must have resided in the state for at least a year in order to file for divorce. The marriage is irretrievably broken, and neither party is held responsible, according to the no-fault grounds for divorce. A petition for dissolution of marriage must be filed and served to the respondent, who has 20 days to respond. The divorce decree cannot be obtained until after a ninety-day waiting period, unless the court waives it for a valid reason. Unless the parties agree on a formal settlement, the court will make decisions about matters like property division, custody, support, and alimony. 

For more information on family law in Iowa, you can visit the Iowa Judicial Branch website.

Family Law Attorney Near Me. Davenport. Iowa.

10/16/2023 How is child custody determined in Iowa ?

In Iowa, child custody is classified into two types: legal custody and physical care. Legal custody grants parents the authority to make decisions on behalf of the child, such as medical care, education, and religion. Physical care refers to the right to maintain a home and living routine for the child. The court must consider the best interest of the child and order a custody arrangement that allows the child to have maximum contact with both parents, unless physical or significant emotional harm is likely to occur. The court must also consider granting joint legal custody if either party requests it, unless there is clear and convincing evidence that it is unreasonable and not in the best interest of the child. Joint legal custody means that both parents have equal legal custody rights and responsibilities. Iowa courts tend to award both parents legal custody, but tend to disfavor shared physical care 

For more information on family law in Iowa, you can visit the Iowa Judicial Branch website.

Family Law Attorney Near Me. Davenport. Iowa.

9/20/2023 How is property division handled in an Iowa divorce ?

In Iowa, property division during a divorce is governed by the principle of equitable distribution. This means that the court aims to divide the shared property fairly and equitably between the spouses. All property acquired before or after the marriage, except for gifts and inheritances received before or during the marriage, is subject to division. The court may also set aside a portion of the property for the support, maintenance, and education of any minor children.

To determine the division of property, Iowa judges consider various factors, including the length of the marriage, each spouse’s age, physical and emotional health, prenuptial agreements, agreements between the spouses concerning property division, and more. The court also takes into account each spouse’s earning capacity, contributions to the marriage, economic circumstances, and the desirability of awarding the family home to the party with physical custody of the children.

It’s important to note that equitable distribution does not necessarily mean an equal 50/50 split of assets. Instead, the court aims to achieve a fair distribution based on each individual’s contributions to the marriage and their earning ability and needs following separation.

For more information on divorce laws in Iowa, you can visit the Iowa Judicial Branch website.

Family Law Attorney. Davenport. Iowa.

9/13/2023 Can you give me an example of a warrantless search ?

Yes, there are some exceptions to the search warrant requirement. For example, if you give consent to a search or if there is probable cause to believe that evidence of a crime is present in your vehicle or residence, then a warrantless search may be conducted .

Another example of a warrantless search is when the police search your trash left for collection outside your home. However, the Iowa Supreme Court has recently banned police from searching people’s uncollected trash without a warrant .

It is important to note that these exceptions are limited and that the police must have a valid reason for conducting a warrantless search. If you believe that your rights have been violated during a search or seizure, it is advisable to contact an attorney who specializes in criminal defense.

Criminal Law Attorney. Davenport. Iowa.

9/13/2023 Can the police search my phone without a warrant ?

Police officers typically need a search warrant to search a person’s cell phone. They must show probable cause for a judge to issue a warrant. A search warrant is a court order indicating the parameters of a search. Unreasonable searches and seizures violate your constitutional rights .

In 2014, the Supreme Court unanimously ruled in Riley v. California that the police need search warrants to search cell phones of people they have arrested. This Supreme Court decision was made to clarify the extent of 4th Amendment protections.

However, there are some exceptions to this rule. For example, if the police have probable cause to believe that your vehicle contains contraband or evidence of a crime, they may search all parts of the vehicle as well as closed containers in the vehicle .

Criminal Law Attorney. Davenport. Iowa.

9/13/2023 Can the police search my car without a warrant if they smell marijuana ?

The legality of warrantless searches based on the smell of marijuana varies depending on the state. In some states, such as Massachusetts and Vermont, the smell of marijuana alone is not sufficient to justify a warrantless search.

In Florida, police can search your car if they smell burnt marijuana. The Second District Court of Appeals held that the recent legalization of hemp was not enough to overcome the precedent of permitting warrantless searches based on the odor of marijuana.

In Iowa, if the police have probable cause to believe that your vehicle contains contraband or evidence of a crime, they may search all parts of the vehicle as well as closed containers in the vehicle without a warrant.

Criminal Law Attorney. Davenport. Iowa.

9/12/2023 Do I have to pay alimony in Iowa, if so how much ?

During a divorce or legal separation, a spouse can file for a maintenance order, also known as alimony. The court may grant temporary or permanent maintenance award for a dependent spouse, and the amount and length of time the maintenance continues is based on the court’s decision. The court will not consider marital misconduct, and the payments may be paid from the income or property of the other spouse depending on the decision of the court. The court takes into consideration several factors, such as the standard of living established during the marriage, the length of the marriage, and the income and property of each party. The needs of both parties are also considered, including any impairment of present or future earning ability due to domestic duties or delay in education, training, employment, or career opportunities due to the marriage. When deciding the length of time that payments will be required, the court will often consider the time needed to acquire training, education, or employment. The earning ability of both parties is considered along with their age and physical and mental health, which may affect their earning capabilities. Other things taken into consideration are tax consequences that property division has had on the monetary estate of both parties and the capability of the spouse from whom support is sought to afford payments while maintaining their current standard of living.

The amount and duration of awarded spousal support is at the discretion of the judge. After determining a need and ability to pay, there are several factors that courts use to ensure a fair and just award. Iowa divorce law does not use a pre-determined formula.

There is no mathematical formula for guidelines in Iowa as in other states. However, Legal Calculators provides an estimate of a potential alimony award in Iowa using a formula suggested by In re Marriage of Gust.

You can use this calculator by providing your yearly gross income and your spouse’s yearly gross income along with your marriage length in years.

Family Law Attorney. Davenport. Iowa.