Monday, February 23, 2009


Reading all the information on the internet, it seems odd to me the fascination with "Octomom". Not that I don't understand the bitterness. Taxpayers have a right to feel like suckers. Here we are struggling to feed our small families while the government skims from our meager earnings to support an irresponsible parent. I understand further why people believe that it is harmful to children to be raised by a single mother with twelve children eight of which are infants. There is not enough parental time to help them learn the skills to become productive adults.

My confusion is why now and why with such a small time case? Maybe, because of the recession, people feel the government is broken. Maybe, people see the recession as proof that as a nation our moral compass is broken.

The reason I call "Octomom" small time is I have seen how the juvenile abuse and neglect system in Illinois works. I have seen women having far more then eight children, all born exposed to cocaine. This is worse then a one-time mistake, or error in judgement, this is the same mistake over and over again. Of course the children are taken by the authorities. In Illinois, proof of abuse or neglect of one child can be used against you in cases involving other children. Of course all of these children are special needs children permanently in need of costly special care. Not only are they born exposed to drugs but the mother was unlikely to have received good pre-natal care. Of course these children will grow up to have their own children who will also be taken by the government and raised by taxpayer dollars. This cycle of abuse has gone on for a very long time and yet no one seems to care. This is a daily occurrence and all people talk about is "Octomom". What of the mothers with AIDS or HIV who have more then one child exposed to this deadly virus. I certainly consider the victims of the horrible diseases to be just that, victims. I also hope that some day soon we find a cure to this nightmarish virus. That does not excuse a person from getting pregnant when they know they have the disease. No one should be subjected to that type of life. That is especially true of innocent babies. (If you find out you have HIV or AIDS after your pregnant, go to a doctor. It is possible to at least increase the odds your child will not be born with the virus.)

What makes it worse is that the Department of Children and Family Services tries to place children with relatives when at all possible. So the mother of the drug addicted parent are often provided the grand children as a foster parent. A grandmother who we know has failed to raise her own child successfully. Yet she is given tax payer payments to raise her grandchildren as a foster parent. She will likely go on to adopt these children as a subsidized adoption so that tax payers can pay to raise these children as well. The Department even pays for a collage education in the rare case one of these children go on to higher education.

This blog is not large enough to go into solutions to this national problem. It is large enough to ask people why "Octomom" when we have much larger cases in our own backyard. Maybe, this national financial crisis will make us reconsider what the government can and can't pay for.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Learning to Cope with Divorce

Learning to cope with the prospect of divorce is something that takes time. In life there are few if any changes that are more permanent and more stressful. That being said you will be able to get on with your own life and make it fun and worth living. One common question people beat themselves up about is if they had done enough to try to save the marriage. I can't answer that question but I can say most people who come to me do so only after they have realized the marriage was in trouble for some time. Most people have worked to make their relationship work and tried hard to save it.
I do not attribute the high divorce rate to couples not trying hard enough to save their marriage. I suspect that in earlier times many people did not get a divorce that should have. That different societal and religious pressures kept couples together that should not have been married to begin with. Yes, there are people who get married without fully considering that marriage takes hard work and the willingness to sacrifice for the family. That being said it is no argument to save the marriage only an argument not to have gotten married in the first place.
I would suggest the greatest cause for divorce is that people get married who are not prepared for marriage. Often people get married to young and they grow apart as their goals change. People often grow apart based on things they could not predict at the time the got married such as how their spouse will care for the children. Day to day issues relating to money and time are probably the number one cause for divorce.
Why people get divorced however is not my intended focus. By the time people get to a lawyer their marriage is usually long since dead. I want to discuss how to cope with the loss associated with divorce.
It is alright to talk about your feelings to friends and family. That is at least to a point. It can alienate people to constantly burden them with your problems. I always suggest a counselor or therapist.
Always be cautious when speaking to your children. Adult problems should never be forced on children. Children should be protected as much as possible. Never make negative comments about their parent in front of children. You may be loosing a spouse but that person will always be the parent of your children.
Remember it is not the end of the word. It is important to put things in perspective. You will get over this. Your life is not over.
Give yourself time. The longer you were married the more time it will take to recover. Don't expect to be completely over a ten year marriage in a year.
Except that financial it wont be easy. Lets face it costs more money to run two separate homes. You have more responsibility and less help. On top of all that you have the cost of courts and lawyers. As such a divorce takes time to get over, emotionally, financially and socially. Expect it to take time and don't beat yourself up about not feeling back to normal.
A new lover is not the answer. When it comes to new relationships if you have children you should be especially cautious of any new relations. Even if you do not have children this is a time for introspection and hard work. Adding further complications until you are strong and confident is a mistake.
Don't be afraid to go to a movie by yourself. It's ok to be alone. In fact after seeing enough movies with my children I love going to movies by myself. A good horror movie always makes me appreciate life.
Finally remember you are loved. Your family loves you and needs you. Your friends love you and need you. Life is not so bad. As Cher once said, "I believe in life after love."

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

When Is It Time to Get Divorced?

If there is a process server at your door, handing you a petition for dissolution, then it's time for a divorce, whether you are ready or not.

The next question is when should you file for divorce. Ultimately, the decision is yours. There are a number of factors that indicate to me the marriage is over.

The first and most obvious factor is you are no longer in love. No amount of counseling, heart to heart talks, or good intentions are going to change this fact.

But even if you still love your spouse, it may be time to call it quits. One factor to consider is how your relationship is impacting your children. Although many people argue they should not get a divorce for "the sake of the children", they must remember the children are effected by your relationship, good or bad. Children exposed to an unloving environment may suffer more if you remain in the relationship than if you get a divorce and ultimately expose them to loving environments. Constant fighting and bickering is not an appropriate environment for children. A Champaign County judge used to say "children exposed to violence grow up to be victims or bullies". Thus the best reason to get a divorce is if it benefits your children. Even if there is no physical abuse in your home, parents who are disrespectful to each other do not set a good example to their children, and may prohibit them from growing up to have healthy relationships of their own.

Another reason for a divorce is your happiness. Sometimes it makes sense to put your own happiness on the back burner for the sake of your spouse and children. That being said, ultimately, life is short and you must work towards your full potential.

I certainly encourage talking to your priest, minister and best friend. Marriage counseling can certainly be of an enormous benefit. However, the answer to the question "should I get a divorce?" is one that can be answered only with your heart.

Contact me about how to get a divorce, or what to expect when filing for a divorce.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


Welcome to my blog. I plan to analyze topics of law, with the occasional antiques essay thrown in, as well as movie reviews. Please bookmark me and check back often.

Scott Lerner
The Law Office of Scott Lerner
201 W. Springfield, Suite 205
Champaign, IL 61820