Family Law & Divorce
Child Related Issues
What Will the Court Consider When Determining My Child Guardianship Petition?
When considering your petition for the guardianship of a minor child, the court will take a number of factors into account, including whether the child’s parents have voluntarily relinquished physical custody of the child or if they are unable to care for the child. A qualified Illinois guardianship attorney can help with your case.
The guardianship of a minor child in Illinois is handled very carefully because the outcome will have a direct impact on the rights of the child’s parents. Before granting a guardianship, the court must first determine whether the petitioner—the person seeking the guardianship—has “standing” or the ability to ask to be named the child’s guardian. A non-parent petitioner for guardianship has standing if the child’s legal parents have:
- Agreed to the guardianship in writing or in open court;
- Voluntarily relinquished physical custody of the child and are unable or unwilling to make everyday decisions regarding the child’s care; or
- Failed to appear in court with proper notice and are unable or willing to make everyday decisions regarding the child’s care.
Assuming that the parents have not expressly consented to the guardianship, the most common situation in Illinois is one where the parents have left the child with a friend or family member—often with grandparents—for an extended period of time. This can be considered a voluntary relinquishment of physical custody.
From there, the court must also determine whether the parents are able and willing to care for the child on a daily basis. If they are not, granting guardianship is likely to be in the child’s best interests. Finally, the court must also decide whether the person seeking guardianship will provide the care that the child needs, as well as a healthy, safe environment for the child.
To learn more about guardianships in Illinois or for help with your case, contact our office. Call 630-665-7300 to speak with a guardianship attorney at MKFM Law today. We serve clients throughout the DuPage County and Kane County areas.
Can I Petition for Guardianship of a Child That Is Not Mine?
According to Illinois law, any person of sound mind who is at least 18 years old, a resident of the United States, and who has not been convicted of a felony or declared disabled by a judge can petition for guardianship of a child. This means that a non-parent family member or a friend can seek guardianship.
There are many situations in which parents may not be able to properly care for their own child. Some parents may be too young and immature, while others may have financial issues or problems with drugs or alcohol. In cases like these, it is often friends or family members, such as grandparents, aunt, and uncles, who step up and provide the care that the children desperately need.
Unfortunately, the biological parents often take advantage of the situation, coming and going from their child’s life as they please. This can be not only frustrating for the family member or friend but also unhealthy for the child.
Illinois law provides that a non-parent can seek guardianship of a minor child as long the person seeking guardianship:
- Is at least 18 years old;
- Is a resident of United States;
- Is of sound mind;
- Has not been convicted of a felony; and
- Has not been declared disabled by a judge.
In order to obtain guardianship, the non-parent must show that the child’s biological parents have voluntarily relinquished physical custody of the child and are unable or unwilling to care for the child. This burden of proof is waived if the biological parents consent to the guardianship either in writing or verbally in open court. The guardianship can also be granted if the parents fail to appear for the hearings.
An Illinois court will only grant guardianship of a minor child to a non-parent when doing so is in the child’s best interests, and we can help you show that it is. Contact MFKM Law by calling 630-665-7300 for a confidential consultation today. We serve DuPage County, Kane County and surrounding areas throughout northern Illinois.
What Is Article 134 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice?
Article 134 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) is generally considered to be a “catch-all” provision. It allows the military to pursue charges against a service member for offenses that are not listed elsewhere in the UCMJ. If you are facing prosecution under Article 134, it is imperative to work with an experienced military defense lawyer.
The Uniform Code of Military Justice is a federal law that was enacted by Congress. The UCMJ defines and explains the military justice system and provides a listing of criminal offenses under military law. There are articles that cover desertion, dereliction of duty, insubordination, aiding the enemy, and many other military-specific offenses, as well as offenses with civilian equivalents such as drunk driving, assault, and robbery. Article 134, however, is quite different.
Under Article 134, the military has the authority to bring charges against a member of the Armed Forces for crimes that are not specifically addressed in other parts of the UCMJ. Many commanders operate under the assumption that any type of misconduct or undesirable behavior can be prosecuted under Article 134, but such is not the case. To be considered a criminal act, the behavior in question must:
- Bring discredit upon the Armed Forces;
- Be prejudicial to good order and discipline in the Armed Forces; or
- Constitute a non-capital crime under other federal or state laws.
If you are facing charges under Article 134, it understandable that you might feel confused and overwhelmed. That is why it is important to work with an attorney who fully understands the UCMJ and its scope regarding the prosecution of crimes. Contact our office to get the help you need. Call 630-665-7300 for a free consultation with an experienced military defense lawyer. Our firm represents service members in Wheaton, St. Charles, DuPage County, Kane County, and throughout Illinois.
Can I Be Prosecuted for Failing to Follow a Military Regulation?
It is possible for a service member to be prosecuted for failing to follow a military regulation. Article 92 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) provides that prosecution may be sought for:
- Violating a lawful general order or regulation;
- Violating another lawful order; and
- Dereliction in the performance of the service member’s duties.
Most members of the Armed Forces strive to always follow the orders and regulations given to them by their branch of service and their commanding officers. Unfortunately, different officers and entities may issue orders that seem to conflict with one another, as well as with other existing rules and guidelines, creating confusion and uncertainty for service members.
Failure to comply with Article 92 could result in serious penalties, including years of confinement, dishonorable discharge, and the loss of pay and benefits. Not every violation of a military regulation, however, constitutes a failure to comply with Article 92, and an experienced civilian military defense attorney can help you understand your situation.
In order to be found guilty of violating a general order or regulation, a service member must be found to have had the duty to follow an existing lawful general order or regulation and failed to do so. To be found guilty of violating a lawful order issued by a superior, the same criteria must be met, but with the addition that the service member knew of the order.
A service member may be found guilty of dereliction in the performance of duties if it can be proven that:
- The accused was assigned particular duties;
- The accused knew or should have known about those duties; and
- The accused was derelict in the performance of the duties, either due to willful behavior, negligence, or culpable inefficiency.
If you have been accused of violating Article 92, contact our office to get the help you need. Call 630-665-7300 for a free consultation with an Illinois military defense attorney today. We serve clients throughout Illinois including Great Lakes, Palatine, Chicago, Des Plaines and North Chicago.
I Failed a Drug Test. Should I Demand a Court Martial?
If you are a service member who has failed a drug test, demanding a Court Martial will not result in the charges against you being dropped. The penalties for using illicit drugs are severe, including up to five years of confinement and a dishonorable discharge, depending on the circumstances. A skilled lawyer can help you determine your best option.
According to 112a of the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ), those who serve in our nation’s armed forces may face serious consequences for using illegal drugs. The penalties associated with using drugs are the same as those prescribed for drug possession, manufacture, and bringing drugs onto a military installation.
In many cases, military units will handle failed drug tests and suspected drug abuse situations through what is known as a “non-judicial punishment” (NJP), also called an “Article 15” proceeding. Article 15 of the UCMJ gives unit commanders the authority to handle relatively minor offenses that do not require a full Court Martial. An alleged offender has the right, however, to request a full Court Martial if he or she believes that it is worth the risk of increased punishment.
During a Court Martial for alleged drug use, the government only needs to show that the alleged offender tested positive for illegal drugs and the chain of custody of the sample was not broken. With such a burden of proof, it is usually not advisable for a service member to demand a Court Martial when faced with allegations of drug use, but there may be exceptions.
If you are a member of the armed forces and you are facing an Article 15 proceeding for a failed drug test, contact our office. Call 630-665-7300 to schedule a free, confidential consultation with an experienced civilian military defense attorney today. We serve military members in North Chicago, Glenview, Lake County, Wheaton, Warrenville, St. Charles, Elgin, DuPage County, Kane County, and throughout Illinois.