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Firearms Restraining Order Takes Guns Away from Domestic ThreatsLast month’s deadly shooting at Mercy Hospital in Chicago shocked many in the community, but there were warning signs of the danger that the shooter posed. His former wife, one of the victims, had received an order of protection against him before divorcing him. Court records show that she told authorities that she feared her husband could threaten her with a gun because he had slept with a gun under his pillow and once pulled the gun on a realtor. Despite that and other reported incidents in which he threatened gun violence, the man had a concealed carry license and had legally purchased four guns in the last five years. Some wonder whether a firearms restraining order could have prevented the eventual shooting.

Protection from Gun Violence

Illinois passed a law earlier this year that created a firearms restraining order. As with an order of protection, a person can petition for a firearms restraining order without the subject having been arrested or charged for a violent offense. If the court grants the order, the subject must:

  • Turn over his or her firearms, Firearm Owner’s Identification Card, and concealed carry license; and
  • Not possess any firearms for the duration of the order, which usually is six months.

A legal firearms owner living with the subject is allowed to keep his or her firearms as long as they are secured so that the subject cannot access them.


Illinois Fathers Near Bottom Nationally in Parenting TimeFathers’ rights advocates and some Illinois lawmakers are pushing for 50-50 parenting time to become the default when parents divorce or separate. Illinois law currently presumes that it is in a child’s best interest to spend a majority of the time with one parent unless proven otherwise. Fathers claim that this puts them at a disadvantage in receiving parenting time because mothers are more likely to have a majority of parenting time. A recent study by the child custody scheduling service Custody X Change seems to support the argument. The results ranked Illinois fathers as having one of the lowest percentages of parenting time amongst all of the U.S. states.

Study Findings

Custody X Change surveyed family law attorneys in the most populous county in each state to determine what the most common parenting plan is for that state. Researchers used cases with no extenuating circumstances, such as a long distance between the parents or legal limitations on parental rights. The study concluded that:


Four Ways to Deal With a Difficult Co-ParentA difficult co-parent is a headache that never quite goes away after your divorce or separation. People who do not get along when together can still have a civil relationship with each other when it comes to taking care of their children. The less-frequent contact helps to keep conflict to a minimum. However, some co-parents seek conflict or have personality flaws that you find infuriating. You have no choice but to try to tolerate your difficult co-parent unless his or her actions are a danger to your children or obstruct your rights as a parent. Here are four ways that a co-parent can aggravate you and how you should respond:

  1. Your Conversations Always End in Arguments: Your co-parent may be naturally irritable and prone towards conflict. Even if you do not intend to have an argument, he or she always finds something to disagree with you about or take offense to. Ideally, you would avoid talking to a person like this, but you need to communicate with each other as co-parents. You should keep your conversations business-like and refuse to respond to provocations. You can suggest that non-urgent communication should be done through email, which will give you time to calm down before you respond to each other.
  2. Your Children Are Being Poisoned Against You: A vindictive former spouse may disparage you in front of your children in hopes of gaining their favor. As tempting as it is, you should not respond in kind by speaking badly about their other parent. Encourage your children to talk with you about their feelings and your relationship. If they mention what their other parent says about you, remind them that you love them without speculating why their other parent is behaving that way.
  3. Your Co-Parent Is Buying Your Children’s Love: The easiest way to grab children’s attention is by spoiling them. Your co-parent may act like there is a constant gift-giving competition. It is not enough for him or her to give nice gifts. His or her gifts need to be bigger and better than yours as a way of saying “I love you more.” Do not let yourself be sucked into this competition. You would be teaching your children that love is defined by material possessions. Instead, teach them the importance of thoughtfulness and caring behind gifts.
  4. Your Co-Parent Does Not Respect Your Parenting Schedule: An irresponsible co-parent may be consistently late in either dropping off or picking up your children. This may be just an annoyance, but it can potentially disrupt your carefully crafted schedule. If it becomes a major problem, you can discuss the issue and offer solutions, such as changing the schedule or transportation responsibilities. If the problem is taking away from your parenting time, you may need to petition a court to enforce your parenting agreement.

Co-Parenting Stress

You must carefully plan your parenting agreement if you know your co-parent will be difficult to get along with. A McHenry County family law attorney at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, can help you create an arrangement that will limit conflict. Schedule a free consultation by calling 815-338-3838.


Problems with Smothering Children as Single ParentChildren of divorced or separated parents need their parents to be a supportive presence in their lives, However, single parents can actually harm their children by overparenting. With the absence of a marriage or romantic relationship, a single parent’s children may become the sole focus of his or her life. The parent may also feel guilty about putting the children through the divorce, causing him or her to overcompensate. There are several forms of overparenting that can negatively affect both the children’s and the parent’s personal development:

  1. Overprotection: Single parents can take an overly cautious approach towards their children’s safety. They are adverse to even small risks, preferring to shelter their children and tackle the problems themselves. Parents must allow their children to face some challenges on their own. It allows the children to develop problem-solving skills and emotional resiliency.
  2. Spoiling: Single parents are often driven by a need for their children’s love and admiration. Giving children everything they want is a quick and easy way to win their affection, but it creates a sense of entitlement. The parent is training his or her children to expect others to acquiesce to their wishes. The children will experience a rude awakening if they bring this attitude to their own romantic relationships or jobs.
  3. Overbearing: Single parents can put excessive pressure on their children by becoming too involved in their lives. Parents may want to control every decision their children make because the parents have expectations for the type of people they will become. When the children do not meet those expectations, the parents can react by being overly critical. As a result, the children feel pressure to please their parents and lack confidence in their own decisions.
  4. Attachment: Children eventually become adults who must leave their parent’s home. Overparenting can create a co-dependency that makes that separation more difficult. The child feels unprepared to live alone without his or her parent’s protection and guidance. The parent is also uncertain about what to do without his or her daily parental responsibilities. Both parent and child need the freedom to create their own identities in preparation for their separation.

Single Parenting Style

Being a good single parent means being involved in your children’s lives while also preparing them to become healthy adults. Parents must selectively allow their children to make their own decisions and take risks. Unfortunately, some family law courts mistake overparenting with quality parenting when determining the allocation of parental responsibilities. A McHenry County family law attorney at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, can help you explain how a balanced parenting style is in the best interest of your children. Schedule a free consultation by calling 815-338-3838.


Children Are Priority in Child Support Modification ArgumentsWhen you request to have your monthly child support payments reduced, your co-parent may portray your decision as being selfish. However, caring about the well-being of your children is separate from making sure you are paying an appropriate amount of child support. Courts allow you to modify your child support agreement because circumstances can change for both parents. You may believe that your co-parent is the one being selfish because he or she only cares about getting the maximum amount of money from you. However, your co-parent may be genuinely concerned about being able to provide for your children. During a child support modification dispute, parents should understand that they both likely have their children’s best interests in mind.

Two Sides

It is possible for both parents to have legitimate financial concerns when it comes to modifying child support payments:

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