Family Law & Divorce
Child Related Issues
Preguntas Legales Frecuentes
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My Teenager Has Been Charged With an Ordinance Violation. Do We Need an Attorney?
If your teenaged child has been issued or charged with an ordinance violation, it is important to enlist the help of a qualified defense attorney, even if your child actually committed the offense. A lawyer can assist you in finding options that avoid a permanent mark on your child’s record and protect your child’s future.
Many cities, towns, and villages in Illinois have adopted parts of the state’s criminal laws into their own municipal codes. Violations of the municipal code may be prosecuted as ordinance violations instead of criminal offenses. Technically, an ordinance violation is not a criminal matter, and most are punishable by fines only. The practical consequences, however, may be more severe. And, while you may want to allow your child to suffer the consequences of their actions, it is important to consider the long-term impact.
Shoplifting is an offense that is often handled as an ordinance violation. If your child, for example, was stopped by store security for stealing merchandise and the police are called, there are three basic options. Your child could face prosecution by the county State’s Attorney for a misdemeanor charge of retail theft, or your child could be arrested, booked, and released with an ordinance violation. As a third option, the police could issue an ordinance violation on the scene—similar to a traffic ticket—with a date to appear in court.
In all three situations, a permanent record is created, and with very few exceptions, the records are accessible to the public. This means they could show up on a background check during the application process for a job, housing, educational programs, or loans.
By retaining an attorney right away, you and your child can avoid making hasty decisions that could follow your child for many years to come. An experienced lawyer can help you explore options that might allow your child to avoid pleading guilty through diversion or deferral programs. Your child may still face certain consequences, but the impact on the future could be reduced.
Contact our office to learn more about our firm and how we can help. Call MKFM Law at 630-665-7300 today. We serve DuPage County, Kane County, and surrounding areas.
Can My Spouse Drop the Domestic Battery Charges Against Me?
Once domestic battery charges have been filed against you, the victim or complaining witness does not have the power or the right to get the charges against you dropped. Criminal charges can only be filed by the State’s Attorney for the county where the incident occurred, and only the State’s Attorney can drop the charges.
Under Illinois law, domestic battery is usually a Class A misdemeanor, and a conviction carries maximum penalties of up to $2,500 in fines and up to 364 days in county jail. Court supervision is not an option in domestic battery cases, which means that finding of guilt will result in a conviction that can never be erased or expunged.
During your first court appearance for charges of domestic battery, the judge will lay out these terms to ensure that you fully understand them. It is not unusual for the person who originally filed the complaint—e.g. your spouse, your ex, or another family member—to hear the severity of the situation for the first time and then want to drop the charges against you. At this point, however, it is already too late.
The victim or any complaining witnesses are only part of a criminal prosecution. The rest of the case depends on evidence gathered by law enforcement and presented by prosecutors. In fact, your case will be entitled “People of the State of Illinois vs. You” rather than “your spouse vs. you” or "your ex-boyfriend vs. you.” This means that your case is being prosecuted on behalf of every resident of Illinois, not just the family member who originally accused you. Victims of domestic battery have rights, but the right to dismiss the charges against you is not one of them.
If you are facing charges related to domestic violence, it is important to get qualified legal help right away. Contact MFKM Law by calling 630-665-7300 today. We serve clients throughout DuPage County, Kane County and surrounding 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 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.
Does My Employer Have to Accommodate My Disability?
If you are disabled but you are still able to perform the essential functions of your job, your employer is required by law to make reasonable accommodations for your disability. It is generally up to you, however, to request an accommodation. Your employer is then responsible for helping to determine what type of accommodation may be necessary.
There are thousands of disabled individuals in Illinois—and many more throughout the country—who are fully capable of performing a wide variety of jobs. Sometimes, the nature of a disability means that an accommodation must be made to allow the disabled person to better carry out his or her duties. For example, a person whose disability prevents him or her from standing for a significant period of time may still be able to fulfill the duties of a cashier if the person is permitted to use a stool.
It is a violation of state and federal law for an employer to discriminate against you on the basis of your disability status, but you are responsible for requesting the necessary accommodation. Once you have made your request, it is up to your employer to work with you in what is known as the “interactive process.” During this process, your employer will inquire about your disability, gather medical documentation, and determine the accommodation that will best allow you to do your job.
If the employer can show that the accommodation would cause the company undue hardship, based on the size of the business, the costs involved, and other factors, the accommodation is no longer considered to be reasonable. An employer is not required to make an accommodation that would cause undue hardship.
If you would like guidance with requesting a reasonable accommodation or your request has been denied by your employer, contact our office. Call 630-665-7300 for a confidential consultation with an experienced workplace discrimination attorney. MKFM Law serves clients in DuPage County, Kane County, and the surrounding areas.