State Rep. Ford declares gay marriage support

It didn’t come quickly, the decision to support the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act, but on Memorial Day when State Rep. LaShawn Ford said he would vote this week in favor of gay marriage in Illinois, the choice seemed clear to him.

“This is a well-thought-out decision,” he said in an exclusive interview with the Journal.

Ford, a one-time seminarian, said he had prayed over it. He said he has been swamped with strong opinions from constituents on both sides of the controversy. He acknowledged he has felt heavy lobbying from a politically active segment of the black clergy.

In the end, though, he said “it is like the time has come” for gay marriage to be legal.

“When you think about the moral issue, this is about advancing opportunity,” he said, “the opportunity for all people to pursue life, liberty and happiness. As Democrats we are about opportunity, about including people, not excluding.”

Written by Dan Haley. To read the full article, click here. For more information on family law attorneys, visit our website


Both Sides on Same-Sex Marriage Issue Focus on the Next State Battlegrounds

With the expected addition of Californians after Wednesday’s Supreme Court ruling, some 30 percent of Americans will live in states offering same-sex marriage.

Now the two sides of the marriage wars are gearing up to resume the costly state-by-state battles that could, in the hopes of each, spread marriage equality to several more states in the next few years, or reveal a brick wall of values that cannot be breached. There is wide agreement from both sides on where the next battlefields will be.

Proponents of same-sex marriage were already energized by victories in six states over the last year, bringing the total number authorizing such unions to 12 states, before California, and the District of Columbia. They are hoping for legislative victories this fall or next spring in Illinois and possibly New Jersey and Hawaii.

Written by Erik Eckholm. To read the full article, click here. For more information on family law attorneys, visit our website

Same Sex Marriage: 7 States Most Likely to Legalize Gay Marriage in 2013

As I mentioned in my previous article on gay marriage, states are moving toward legalizing gay marriage one step at a time. Maine recently reversed its previous ballot measure to legalize gay marriage in 2012, and several other states are moving in this direction. In fact, the pace of acceptance and legalization seems to be accelerating.

The LA Times has a very useful graphic with a slider, which shows how the country has evolved in its support for gay marriage. However, in 2013 there are seven states queued up to fully recognize gay marriage through legislation, ballot proposals, or court actions, including Illinois, Rhode Island, Delaware, New Jersey, California, Hawaii, and Minnesota.

Written by Chris Weiss. To read the full article, click here. For more information on family law attorneys, visit our website

Impacts of Remarriage on Child and Spousal Support

Child Support

The traditional view of child support is that parents share in support of children. Child support guidelines take into account monthly obligations of custodial parents and payments made by non-custodial parents to custodial parents’ households. Upon remarriage, this traditional view maintains that the new spouse’s income is not included in child support calculations, though there are some exceptions.

Some states, such as California, take into account a new spouse’s income when making child support payment determinations only in extraordinary cases. Extraordinary cases are defined as unemployment, underemployment, income reduction, and/or other reliance upon a new spouse’s income. In extraordinary instances, it must be proved that children would suffer extreme hardship without imputing income of the new spouse.

The reason for this exclusion is that the new spouse has no legal obligation for the financial support of stepchildren. It is true that the new spouse’s income assists the household and may help meet needs of children on a voluntary basis. But there is no legal duty for this income to be imputed into support calculations.

Some states have evolved from this traditional view. The result is a complication of child support calculations upon remarriage of either parent.

In Illinois, courts may now consider income of a parent’s new spouse on an equitable basis when determining child support. In Illinois and similarly-minded states, courts are no longer required to ignore financial resources contributed by a new spouse. Instead, Illinois courts are free to give consideration to whether new children are brought into the household through remarriage, the ability of one to support himself, and contributions for health insurance, health expenses, daycare, and other discretionary factors.

Another factor potentially affecting child support payments as a result of remarriage by the non-custodial parent is the addition of children to the non-custodial parent’s household. The requirement to make child support payments does not disappear, but monthly payments may decrease with more children to support.

Written by To read the full article, click here.