If you had a serious medical condition, would you seek advice from your buddy the mechanic? Of course not, you’d see a doctor. If your car engine blew up, would you ask your neighbor what they think? No, you’d go see a mechanic.
At least you’d see the experts if you were taking your situation seriously. But time and time again people take legal advice, not from a lawyer, but from a friend or relative that does not know what they are talking about.
Case in point, I got a call from a guy recently that was heart broken that his girlfriend was going to take their son to her homeland in Asia. He had cheated on her and his cousin told him that because he cheated he gave up all of his legal rights and she was allowed to leave the country for good with the child. This advice was backed up by one of his friends and a co-worker.
They are all wrong of course. Cheating, as far as custody goes, is irrelevant unless your new relationship(s) affect the health or safety of the child.
But there is no law in Illinois that requires you to be faithful or be punished if you cheat. Judges don’t care about it and the custody issues will be determined based on the best interests of the child. If you are a very involved parent it would be unusual for a Judge to allow your ex to take your kid out of the State, much less the country.
I get these types of calls all of the time. The worst are when someone is taking legal advice from another person that has a competing interest from them such as a boss who tells them that they aren’t entitled to overtime.
There’s nothing wrong of course with talking to people that you respect, but you shouldn’t make life altering decisions or any legal conclusions without asking someone who actually makes a living out of handling similar situations on a daily basis.
It sounds like the most simple and basic advice, but you’d be shocked by how many people don’t follow it. My opinion is that nobody really wants to talk to a lawyer whether it be the cost or having to deal with their problems, so getting legal advice from a non-attorney friend is easier.
But unless you’re going to let your buddy take out your appendix if it bursts, don’t trust the same buddy to know what they are talking about when it comes to the law.
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