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If you have a lawsuit pending in a courtroom before a judge and want to change judges, do you have any recourse? Must the judge have acted improperly to be removed from the case?  In Illinois, the answer to these questions is: yes, and not necessarily, in that order.

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To begin, once a case is filed, it is automatically assigned to a courtroom (or “calendar,” to use Cook County parlance) in the particular courthouse. Cases are assigned to courtrooms, not judges. Judges are frequently re-assigned to new courtrooms for various reasons, including due to retirement, recent elections, and appointments to fill vacancies.  Therefore, often a change of judges will occur for no reason other than an administrative change in judicial assignments.

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When a married couple divorces, often the wife will opt to return to the use of a former or maiden name.  The reasons and rationale are as diverse as the individuals who make this choice.  Illinois law provides this opportunity but not requirement when a divorce judgment is entered and a divorce is finalized.  In fact, the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, provides: “Upon request by a wife whose marriage is dissolved or declared invalid, the court shall order her maiden name or a former name restored.”

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This is a right and an option, but not an obligation.  Therefore, it is important to preserve that right in the judgment of dissolution of marriage (often referred to as the “divorce decree). If the name change is not covered by the judgment, an entirely new legal case must be filed to obtain a name change.

 

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A man named Abel, his wife, Betty, and their son, Charlie, have lived in Illinois for the past five years. One winter morning, as Abel is walking out of the house to go to work, he notices that Betty is wearing an exceptionally garish Hawaiian shirt and looks like she’s ready for a tropical vacation. When Abel asks her about it, she tells him it is a Hawaiian-themed day at work. Puzzled because she works at Target, he says goodbye anyway and heads off to work. When Abel arrives at home later that night, he finds a note posted to the door that reads: “By the time you read this, your son and I will be halfway to Fiji. We’re not coming home and I never want to see you again.” Frantic, Abel contacts the local police to see what he can do to get his son back home. The police take a report for kidnapping, and tell him he should hire an attorney.

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The Hague Convention of 25 October 1980 on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is a treaty which seeks to protect children from abduction and retention across international boundaries by providing a procedure to bring about their prompt return. The central purpose of the Hague Convention is to “discourage parents from crossing international borders in search of a more sympathetic forum” in which to litigate custody issues. Marriage of Krol and Kubala.

While many countries throughout the world have signed the Hague Convention treaty, some have not. Click here for a list of countries that have signed the Hague Convention. Referring to the scenario above, Fiji has not signed the treaty. The process to obtain the return of a child differs depending on whether the country has or has not signed the treaty.

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