September 2014

The Child and Family Law Center of the North Shore


In This Issue
Can School Officials Search my Child's Cell Phone?
Maintenance Guidelines Become Law
Illinois Law to help families


Mediation Training 
The Child and Family Law Center Attorney Joe Scally recently completed a 40 hour course in mediation skills and techniques at the Center for Conflict Resolution in Chicago. He is now a certified mediator.  
The course built on Joe's previous experiences as a mediator as well as skills he has developed as a psychotherapist and attorney. Joe is interested in doing all types of mediation and particularly those involving adult guardianship issues.

The course meets the training requirements to be a court appointed mediator in Cook County. Joe is applying for that accreditation as well.

Please call our office at 847-926-0101 if you have any questions about mediation or interest in hiring a mediator.

September 2014 is
National Recovery Month
Recovery Month promotes the societal benefits of prevention, treatment, and recovery for mental and substance abuse disorders

September 11, 2014

Children with Special Needs and Divorce: Family Dynamic and Co-Parenting Issues

Presented by Carlton Marcyan, J.D., and Micki Moran, J.D.

Lake County Bar Assoc. 2014 Child's  
Representative Seminar
Grayslake, IL

Child Representative Training

September 18, 2014 

Sweating the Small Stuff: Key to Minimizing Programming and IEP Problems
Presented by Micki Moran, J.D. and Scott Uhler, J.D.

ECHO Staff Workshop 

September 25, 2014
Autism Spectrum Disorder and Co-occurring Mental Health Conditions: Implications for Special Education

Presented by Rachel Loftin, Ph.D., Micki Moran, J.D., Tom Owley, M.D.

IAASE 2014 
Fall Conference 
Tinley Park, IL 

November 14, 2014

Micki Moran will present an In-Service for Special Education Teachers on 

Sponsored by: 
Charleston, 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.
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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 with questions or suggestions.
New Bullying Statute

Effective June 26, 2014, Public Act 98-0669 requires school districts to make significant additions/revisions to their policies on bullying. School districts will be required to make revisions to their policies every two years.

The statute lists the following items that must be included in each school district's bullying policies.

*    Must contain a definition of bullying as provided in the statute. [Bullying is defined as any severe or pervasive physical or verbal act or conduct, including communications made in writing or electronically, directed toward a student or students that has or can be reasonably predicted to have the effect of one or more of the following: (1) placing the student in reasonable fear of harm to the student's person or property; (2) Causing a substantially detrimental effect on the student's physical or mental health; (3) substantially interfering with the student's academic performance ; or substantially interfering with student's ability to participate or benefit from the services, activities or privileges provided by the school. Bullying may take various forms, including, without limitation, one or more of the following; harassment, threats, intimidation, stalking, physical violence, sexual harassment, sexual violence, theft, public humiliation, destruction of property, or retaliation for asserting or alleging an act of bullying.] This list is meant to be illustrative and non-exhaustive.

*    Must include a statement that bullying is contrary to State law and the policy of the school district.

*    Identify procedures for promptly reporting bullying, including but not limited to, identifying and providing the school e-mail address (if applicable) and school telephone numbers for the staff person or persons responsible for receiving such reports and a procedure for anonymous reporting; however, this shall not be construed to permit formal disciplinary action solely on the basis of an anonymous report.

*    Consistent with federal and State laws and rules governing student privacy rights, includes procedures for promptly informing parents or guardians of all students involved in the alleged bullying and discussing, as appropriate, the availability of social work services, counseling school psychological services, other interventions and restorative measures.

*    Contains procedures for promptly investigating and addressing reports of bullying, including the following: (A) Making all reasonable efforts to complete the investigation within 10 school days after the date the report of the incident of bullying was received and taking into consideration additional relevant information received during the course of the investigation about the reported incident of bullying; (B) Involving appropriate school support personnel and other staff persons with knowledge, experience, and training on bullying prevention , as deemed appropriate, in the investigation process; (C) Notifying the principal or school administrator or his or her designee of the report of the incident of bullying as soon as possible after the report is received; and (D) Consistent with federal and State laws and rules governing student privacy rights, providing parents and guardians of the students who are parties to the investigation information about the investigation and an opportunity to meet with the principal or school administrator or his or her designee to discuss the investigation, the findings of the investigation, and the actions taken to address the reported incident of bullying.

Can School Officials Search My Child's Cell Phone?

Of course, the legal answer is that it depends. This is an evolving area of law and one that requires an analysis of the facts in each case. However, two recent Supreme Court cases may make it harder for school districts to search a student's phone without probable cause. The Fourth Amendment of the United States Constitution protects against unlawful search and seizures by law enforcement.

On June 25, 2014, the United States Supreme Court issued decisions in two cases, Riley v. California and United States v. Brima Wurie, that analyzed how the Fourth Amendment has evolved with technology. The cases addressed the issue of police warrantless searches of cell phones and not searches by school personnel. However, there are potential implications for students and school district officials in these cases.

Many times a year, parents and students sit in my office seemingly stunned by the ability of school district administrators to search their locker, question them and elicit statements without some of the legal protections they believe apply. School officials are not the police. This area becomes blurred when school resource officers (the police who are assigned to a school) get involved. In a 1985 case, New Jersey v. T.L.O., the Court ruled that though students have a reasonable expectation of privacy in their person and belongings, school personnel, unlike police officers, do not have to have probably cause, but only a reasonable suspicion of and/or instrumentalities of criminal activity, and/or contraband to conduct a warrantless search of a student. Searches by school officials are subject to the two part, "reasonableness test."

School officials must be able to demonstrate to factual circumstances which justified their decision to seize a student's phone, and second to limit the scope of their search of the phone to the contents which led them to take the phone initially. If school resource officers/police are involved, they may be held to the standard outlined in the recent cases. Parents should caution their children/adolescents that their phones are likely subject to a search by school officials. Additionally, they should be made aware that the information that is obtained may be used to charge them with criminal conduct or for the purposes of school disciplinary action.
Maintenance Guidelines Become Law  


It has always been difficult to predict with certainty what a court might do in awarding maintenance (alimony) in a divorce. Lawyers talked about "formulas" that certain judges relied upon but there were no guidelines similar to the way that child support is determined. That will change in Illinois as of June, 2015.

Courts must first determine that maintenance is appropriate. The new law will allow the Court to go to a second step and determine the amount and duration of that award. These guidelines will use a mathematical formula that takes into account percentages of income for both parties and the length of the marriage.

A Few Facts about the New Law:

The parties combined income is less than $250,000 and the law excludes situation where the party has children from a prior marriage or relationship.

Court will determine maintenance award by calculating 30% of the payor's gross income minus 20% of the payee's gross income.*

*Not to exceed 40% of the parties' combined gross incomes when added to the payees gross income.

To determine the duration of the maintenance awarded, multiply the length of the marriage by whichever of the following factors applies based upon the length of the marriage:

0-5 years = .20

5-10 years = .40

10-15 years = .60

15-20 = .80

For marriages of 20 years or more, the Court can either order permanent maintenance or, alternatively, maintenance for a period equal to the length of the marriage. 

New Illinois Law to Help Mentally Ill Children

A new law in Illinois will help parents obtain the care they need for their children struggling with mental illness without having to turn them over to the Department Children and Family Services. As a last resort, some families who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid and whose private insurance will not cover the cost of their children's treatment have been forced to give up their children to the foster care system.

"Parents shouldn't have to make a choice between keeping their children and abandoning them to get them the mental health care they need," said State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Deerfield), sponsor of the legislation.

The law will require DCFS, the Department of Human Services, the State Board of Education and other agencies to facilitate a path to treatment while allowing families to remain intact.

Governor Quinn has signed the legislation and the law will go into effect on January 1, 2015.

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  


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