January 2015 

The Child & Family Law Center of the North Shore

In This Issue
Adult Services in Illinos
Special Education: Transition Services
New Cyberbullying Law
Divorce: New Maintenance Statue

Free Webinar!

Preparing for your Annual IEP Review 

Learn how to use a checklist to get what your child needs at an annual IEP review

February  17, 2015 
6:30-7:00 p.m.

Presented by Micki Moran, J.D.


Upcoming Events and Speaking Engagements 
February 8, 2015 

"Special Needs in the Jewish Community:  
Helping Each Other Grow and Learn"

Panel Discussion and Resource Fair

Sunday, February 8 
1:00-4:00 p.m. 
Torah Learning Center
Northbrook, IL

Click for Information 
February 19, 2015

Autism Speaks
Adult Services Town Hall on Housing, Residential Services, and Community Living

February 19, 2015  
6:30-9:00 p.m. 

Cortelyou Commons 
DePaul University 
Chicago, IL 

Click for Information  

March 5, 2014

Special Education Presentation:
Top 60 Things Parents Should Know About their Special Education Rights

Presented by Micki Moran, J.D. and Joe Scally, J.D.

Thursday, March 5
7:00 p.m.  
Saint Raymond's Church 
301 S. I-Oka 
Mount Prospect, IL 

Call our office for information 

March 18, 2014

  Micki Moran will participate in a panel discussion for the program:

"Creatively Resolving Disputes for Special Education Hearings under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act"

Illinois State Bar Association-Alternative Dispute Resolution
Chicago, IL   

Is your group or organization having and event?
Email  or call our office at 847-926-0101 with the information and
The Child & Family Law Center will be happy to publish it in our newsletter.
Lisle Office

The Child and Family Law Center is pleased to announce the opening of a branch office in Lisle, Illinois. Attorneys Micki Moran and Joe Scally will meet with clients by appointment at 5950-E Lincoln, Lisle, IL.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call 847-926-0101.
Quick Links
Join Our Mailing List
Hello and Welcome.  Each month The Child and Family Law Center of the North Shore, Ltd. will provide articles of interest and updates on areas that our office deals with on a regular basis.  We appreciate and welcome feedback, so please feel free to send us an email at [email protected] with questions or suggestions.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
January 19, 2015

The hope of a secure and livable world lies with disciplined nonconformists who are dedicated to justice, peace and brotherhood. 
~Martin Luther King, Jr.      

A right delayed is a right denied.  
~Martin Luther King, Jr.

What's Next? The Bus Will Stop Coming

I have been in this legal practice of advocating for children and adults with disabilities for nearly twenty years. My practice started with the wave which was still considered a small one that grew to a stunning number of children diagnosed with autism. I have represented a number of my clients for nearly the entire time I have been in practice. That means that for many of these once small children, they and their families are looking at life after school and life as an adult without a guarantee of services or funding.  WBEZ's Camille Smith ran a piece on January 2, 2015, titled "What happens to people with autism when they age out of school?" While there were some hopeful stories that were parent created and driven, the concern is that not everyone has the resources, both financially and otherwise, to engineer solutions for their children. If we look to those solutions as being the answer, we risk leaving out most of the young adults with disabilities who are not going to be able to access those opportunities and will have to depend on the meager and erratic services the State of Illinois provides.

The analysis of disability services in all 50 states and the District of Columbia done by the United Cerebral Palsy foundation found that top performers were scattered geographically. Arizona claimed the top spot in the ranking for the third year in a row. Also in the top ten lists are Michigan, Hawaii, Georgia, New York, South Carolina, Maine, Massachusetts, Ohio and Missouri.

The analysis factors each state's approach to promoting independence and productivity, ensuring quality and safety, keeping families together and reaching people in need.
The report flags Arkansas, Illinois, Texas and Mississippi which ranked last for the eight year in a row for repeatedly coming in at or near the bottom of the list.

I have a son with a disability and have been on both sides of the table. I have wondered what can be done to push for funding and a paradigm shift in this area. I have taken some lessons learned from the early and ongoing litigation that was effective in securing autism services.

Lessons Learned:
  1. Be vocal. Write to your Congressman and State Representatives.
  2. Organize. You aren't alone.
  3. Be the squeaky wheel. The parents who prevail are relentless. They bring experts to the table who advocate with research base information on the importance of intervention and programming.
  4. Emphasis on above. Experts.
  5. Use the internet to broadcast your message. Broadcast in numbers.
  6. Show up at meetings where legislative concerns will be addressed. Prepare a written statement.
  7. Put a face to the issue. Your child or young adult should be made real to the people you are trying to reach.
  8. Be clear and put in writing exactly what you want an need for  your child.
  9. Change takes time. You cannot do this alone.
  10. Let Governor Rauner know that you oppose the roll back in the income tax.
  11. Do everything in writing.
Special Education: Transition Services 


The need to individualize an IEP extends to a transition plan. The transition plan should be the core of the IEP for students at age 14.5. The whole point of an IEP is transition and preparing students for life after high school. A recent due process decision found that a school's failure to provide a student with an intellectual disability a specialized driving class deprived the student of a FAPE (Free Appropriate Public Education). The hearing officer's decision was based on the fact that the student hoped to be employed and attend community college - both activities required him to drive in order to realize his transition goals.

Schools and parents should keep in mind that even if a school district doesn't offer a particular service, (e.g. travel training) they may be required to contract with an outside provider if the student needs this to meet their transition goals. Forest Grove School District 15, 64 IDELR 26 (SEA OR 2014) 

Cyberbullying: Law Helps Protect Students from Bullying Outside the Classroom

Illinois House Bill 4207 prohibits bullying of students through technology outside of the classroom or school. The law applies to devices not owned or used by a school and requires a school's anti-bullying policy to include an investigation for any act of bullying that causes a disruption to a school's operations or educational process. This expands on previous legislation that banned cyberbullying within schools. The law took effect on January 1, 2015.
Divorce: New Maintenance Statute

Prior to the new maintenance legislation, it was typical for lawyers to discuss formulas which varied from county to county, often produced unpredictable results, and made difficult to counsel clients on what to expect from a particular judge. In January, 2015, the new formula for calculating maintenance is in effect.  


The following formula is the new standard for determining maintenance:

  1. The court must first determine that the case is appropriate for maintenance. The factors that the court must look at to determine if a spouse is entitled to or in need of maintenance have not changed. This is one area in which some discretion is still exercised by the judge.
  2. Once a determination is made that maintenance is appropriate, the guidelines will be applied if the couple has a combined gross income of less that $250,000 per year.
  3. The maintenance formula begins with thirty percent (30%) of the income of the spouse with the greater income and subtracting twenty percent (20%) of the income of the spouse with lesser income. For example, if Spouse #1 makes $150,000 a year and Spouse #2 makes $50,000 a year, thirty percent (30%0 of Spouse #1's income is $45,000 and twenty percent (20%) of Spouse #2's income would be $10,000; and subtracting the lesser amount from the greater amount would result in $35,000 for maintenance.
  4. After the initial calculation, a cap is applied: the income of the recipient spouse plus maintenance cannot be more than forty percent (40%) of the combined income of both spouses. For example, in the scenario set forth above, the combined income is $200,00, and forty percent (40%) of the combined income is $80,000 (.04 x $200,00 = $80,000). Subtracting the Spouse # 2's income ($50,000) from $80,000 (the cap) equals $30,000. Thus, the maintenance amount for Spouse #2 in this scenario would be $30,000.

The new maintenance guideline will impact results differently than what we have seen in the past. For instance, the new maintenance statue has an impact on child support, which has been subject to a formulaic standard for some time. The provisions on child support indicate that maintenance is deductible in determining net income for the purposes of child support. Under the new maintenance statute, maintenance is established first; then, income tax withholding must be calculated in light of the maintenance amount (as well as deductions for union dues, mandatory retirement, health insurance, etc. as provided under the child support provisions). The child support formula is applied net of maintenance and all the other deductions. 

The Child and Family Law Center of the North Shore is a unique legal practice that specializes in providing legal services to families and children in the areas of special education, IEP consultations, divorce and custody, parenting agreements, mediation, guardianship and juvenile law, including criminal law, DCFS and mental health. Where possible, we have initiated flat fee billing for appropriate matters.


The Child and Family Law Center of the North Shore 

1950 Sheridan Rd. - Suite 201

Highland Park, IL 60035 


We provide representation in the following Northern Illinois counties:  Cook, Lake, DuPage, Kane, McHenry, and Will. Consultations by appointment in our Lisle, IL office.


For more information about The Child and Family Law Center of the North Shore, please call 847-926-0101 or visit our website at www.lawforchild.com.  


Representation and Consultation
in the following areas:
  • Special Education and School Law
  • Family Law
  • Juvenile and Criminal Law
  • Mental Health and Disability Law
  • Divorce Mediation

Micki Moran
The Child and Family Law Center of the North Shore