Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Illinois Institute of Technology Recognizes Jeffery M. Leving for Outstanding Achievement

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                     Jennifer Whiteside
Dec. 28, 2011                                               
                                                                                    Tel: 312-807-3990 ext. 236

Illinois Institute of Technology Recognizes Jeffery M. Leving
for Outstanding Achievement

Chicago – The Illinois Institute of Technology this week named Chicago attorney Jeffery M. Leving as a recipient of IIT’s Professional Achievement Award for 2012.

The award is given by IIT, one of the nation’s most prestigious educational institutions, and is one of the highest distinctions that can be given to one of its alumni.

The award will be presented to Leving, an accomplished attorney who concentrates in matrimonial law and fathers’ custody rights, during a luncheon that will be held April 13th at IIT’s Chicago Campus.

“I am deeply honored by this award,” Leving said. “It will serve to motivate me to continue to fight for the rights of parents, including disenfranchised fathers, whose rights are often overlooked.”

Leving received his Juris Doctor from IIT-Chicago Kent College of Law in 1979, and is world-renowned as a pioneer of the Fathers’ Rights Movement.  He is the publisher of Leving’s Divorce Magazine (

Named one of “America’s Best Lawyers” by Forbes Radio™, Jeffery M. Leving is the internationally acclaimed author of two ground-breaking books, Fathers’ Rights and Divorce Wars and was selected by his peers as one of Illinois’ top attorneys.
In 2000, Leving was chosen to draft an amicus brief to submit to the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) to reunite Elián González with his father in Cuba in the highly publicized case.

Mr. Leving serves as the governor-appointed Chairman of the Illinois Council on Responsible Fatherhood and is President Emeritus of the Fatherhood Educational Institute. In 2006, he received the President of the United States Service Award, the nation’s highest honor for volunteer service directed at solving critical social problems.

In August 2009, Mr. Leving was selected by the White House Office of Faith-Based & Neighborhood Partnerships as an expert resource to join senior White House staff and other community leaders at the first White House Community Roundtable and Town Hall Meeting on Responsible Fatherhood and Healthy Families in Chicago.


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Fathers Rights explored at state symposium

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Speakers at an annual symposium on fathers’ rights hosted by the Illinois Council on Responsible Fatherhood (ICRF) agreed Saturday, Dec. 17, that fathers need to assert their rights especially in cases involving child custody.

The annual symposium was held at the Oak Park Library and featured a series of guest speakers including Dr. Leon Intrater, Lois Rakov, Dr. William Martin, Attorney Joseph Sparacino, Attorney Maureen Gorman, and Justin Wooley.

The council is chaired and organized by noted custody attorney Jeffery M. Leving who welcomed guests and speakers and explained that the purpose of the ICRF is to do everything to insure that children have an involved father in their lives.

“One third of all children born in Illinois are born out of wedlock and many won’t know their father,” Leving told the gathering.

“The Safe Haven Law, which allows mothers to abandon their newborn children without responsibility, does not require those mothers to notify the fathers of their actions. Children that are father-absent are more likely to engage in crime and develop behavioral disorders. We recognize that a father’s absence can have a terrible impact on our children and that is the key focus of this government body.”

Intrater, whose firm Intrater & Associates provides professional psychosocial services for youth and adults, said that a key challenge that fathers face in custody cases is “parental alienation.”

“The Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS) is the act of influencing a child or children against one of the parents. PAS, however, is often not considered a valid diagnosis in mental disorders. Most psychologists look at any behavior of a parent or by others to create a separation, physical, cognitive or emotional against one of the parents as being serious,” Intrater said.

Intrater explained that the PAS can take many forms from aggressive lobbying by one parent to negatively portray the other parent to their children to the point where children are influenced to “fear” the parent, thereby influencing the custody decision.

“The court orders on these circumstances don't address the subtleties that are sometimes created but that have huge consequences that create alienation among children against one of the parents,” Intrater said.

“Loyalty conflicts are created.... It is often seen in children associated with PAS. Children are made to feel that if they say something that contradicts the mother's view, they will be punished.”

Intrater said that many children are often totally alienated against the father by the mother and that alienation will often obscure the clearly questionable actions of conduct of the mother.

He said that recognizing PAS can help bring balance to the lives of children in custody battles. But, Intrater said, there is not enough advocacy in this area of parental rights.

Rakov told the symposium that the state offers many resources for both fathers and mothers. She said the stereotype for many years was that parental involvement was only defined as the mother’s involvement and the involvement of fathers was not sought.

“We are seeing more and more resources being made available to fathers and fathers organizations on this concern,” Rakov said. She said that it also helps when grandparents also get involved as long as the priority concern is “the best interests of the children.”

Martin, a professor at Chicago State University and the author of several books on parenting, said society has always recognized mothers as single parents, but he said there is a growing population of single fathers.

“Many fathers are single fathers. They have a child but don’t live with the mother. It’s a growing population. In 1998, 1 in 6 fathers were single fathers. Today, it is 1 in 5,” Martin said.

Martin said that single fathers need support to help them recognize issues that their children face.

“Fathers need outside help and a strong support system that is different from moms.... A lot of fathers don’t know how to get kids into pre-school or into schools,” Martin said. “Education is important and something that we need to look at more closely.”

Wooley, who is the program coordinator with Haymarket, one of the largest centers for substance abuse treatment, said both fathers and mothers need support services.

“We do a lot of work with fathers,” Wooley said. “We try to insure we are addressing fatherhood in a responsible way when we take a look at the skills that they have.”

Wooley said that the needs of fathers have been overlooked in the past.

“We must assist them in rebuilding their families and their lives and to make sure the fathers have the necessary support to be the responsible fathers that they can be,” Wooley said.
For more information on the Illinois Council on Responsible Fatherhood, visit their web site at www.ResponsibleFatherhood.Illinois.Gov.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Leving Legal Team Rescues Child from Ransacked Home

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Leving Legal Team Rescues Child from Ransacked Home

CHICAGO – Dec. 21, 2011 – Prominent custody litigators Arthur Kallow and Leslie Arenson of the Law Offices of Jeffery M. Leving. Ltd., obtained possession of a 14-year-old child after she was found to be living in a potentially dangerous environment. Cook County Judge Martha A. Mills ordered a transfer of possession of the young child to her father this week.

The 14-year-old girl was identified to be living at the home of an unrelated 35-year-old La Grange man, Anthony Valerio, who is currently being investigated on drug charges. 

According to court documents, the home where the child was residing was ransacked in a home invasion by three suspects using firearms on Dec. 9, 2011. A subsequent investigation led La Grange Police to arrest Valerio on drug charges. That is when the child’s father Oscar Arcineigas leapt into action to immediately obtain possession of his daughter.

Judge Mills entered an order stating that the mother, “shall not expose the child to Anthony Valerio and shall not bring the child to any location in which illegal drugs are present or otherwise expose the child to illegal drugs.” Valerio has a history of alleged illegal drug violations.

Attorney Art Kallow stressed the vital importance of the kind of environment a child should have. “Growing up, a child’s home should be a nest of protection and safety, but that is not always the case. Generally speaking, residences that double as places of commerce for illegal drugs are simply unsafe and put the child’s interests last.”

“Children are often the innocent victims when illegal drug-trafficking and a culture of violence become a part of their daily lives,” said Attorney Leslie Arenson. “The health, well-being and safety of children is our top priority.”

The next court date is set for February 9, 2012 at 10:00AM in the Richard J. Daley Center in Courtroom CL12 before Judge Mills.

Jeffery Leving is the publisher of Leving’s Divorce Magazine. (  

For more information, please contact Jennifer Whiteside at 312.296.3666.

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Internet Spin Factor Never Stops

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The Internet Spin Factor Never Stops

By Jeffery M. Leving

There is an old saying “Never let the facts get in the way of a good story.” It means that the story oftentimes is more interesting and even more believable than the truth.

Never has that been more appropriate than in the case of the custody battle waged between parents, Kane Snyder and Alaina Giordano for their two young children.

Snyder has been granted custody of the children. And, as is often the case, the judicial system and the father are being targeted with angry attacks, animosity and blame. The idea that a father has as much right to the care for his children in a parental custody case as a mother has many people up in arms.

The news media looks for stories with unusual twists and this case has many. The Internet is playing its own role, too, with the inability to monitor truth on the World Wide Web. Social media sites like Facebook have been exploding with more and more inaccuracies about this case.

The most obscene inaccuracy is that Snyder was given custody of his two children because the mother, Giordano, has breast cancer.  It’s an ugly accusation and even though it is not supported by the court’s decision, the idea that a mother is being denied custody for the sole reason that she has breast cancer has taken on a life of its own.

Ms. Giordano does have breast cancer and everyone, including her children’s father, ought to have nothing but sympathy for the medical plight that she faces.

But sympathy for her physical challenges is no reason for others to demonize the father, nor should the assertion that the only reason Snyder received custody is because the mother has breast cancer be given credence by those who likely have not read a lengthy and well-reasoned opinion by the trial judge.

It’s just not correct.

Snyder was given custody based on a court decision that is a public record that anyone can access. Fathers have rights in family court. Those rights are often pushed aside out of gender-bias issues and societal prejudices. And sadly, those prejudices often fuel the willingness of the public to believe insidious and misleading claims.

Let’s remember that the mother has access to the children. Presumably when the mother is fully established in the Chicago area and has appropriate facilities to accommodate the children, the parties shall share equal parenting time as contemplated in the court’s ruling.

The father has employment and the mother is unemployed. That situation factored in the judge’s ruling. Children need a stable home to live in throughout their minority.

The needs of the children are the priority in this case – not the needs of the parents.

People sometimes want to believe things not because they are true, but because they neatly and conveniently fit into a stereotype. That stereotype in the case of parental custody rights weighs heavily against fathers.

As I see it, Mr. Snyder is a loving and caring father. Moreover, the court record speaks for itself.

But to prejudice this case by asserting dubious claims is a disservice not only to the children at the heart of this custody battle, but also an injustice to our system of judicial fairness and rights.

Snyder was found to be the preferred parent by the court after all factors were considered, and that is why he was awarded custody.

(Named one of “America’s Best Lawyers” by Forbes Radio, Jeffery Leving is the author of two ground-breaking books, Fathers’ Rights and Divorce Wars. He can be reached at

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Leving meets with President Obama

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Fathers Rights attorney and author Jeffery M. Leving was invited to join a select group of Chicagoland thought leaders at a private VIP reception for President Barack Obama recently.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Fathers Need to Be Part of Their Children’s Lives

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Fathers Need to Be Part of Their Children’s Lives

By Jeffery M. Leving

One reason why I pursue justice for the rights of fathers is because I believe that dads are an irreplaceable part of their children’s lives.

It sounds almost anti-climactic, but fatherhood is a critical component for the healthy development of many children. However, it’s often taken for granted, and often abused during the traumatic experience of divorce.

In other words, not having a father present in a child’s life only adds to the disadvantages that child may face in the world. The best scenario is when both parents are involved but often, as we know, the parent most often absent from a child’s development is the father, and not because of the father’s choice.

On Dec. 17th, the State of Illinois will host a free symposium on Fathers’ Rights & Responsibilities. The theme – “Be a Part of Your Children’s Lives” – will help attendees understand how they can be better fathers and why fathers must stand up for their rights when it comes to their children.

Hosted by the Illinois Council on Responsible Fatherhood (ICRF), the annual statewide symposium will be held on Saturday, December 17, 2011, from 12:30PM to 3:00PM at the Oak Park Library, 834 Lake St., Oak Park. There is no fee to attend this community event, but it is important to RSVP because space is limited.

Through responsible fatherhood educational programming and advocacy, the ICRF promotes the positive involvement of both parents in the lives of their children.

The symposium will explore several important topics: Parental Alienation; Updates affecting Child Support and Fatherhood; Fatherhood Updates; Fathers Rights; and, Male Involvement.

We often take these issues for granted, but we should not.

The laws change quickly and often with respect to parenting rights and responsibilities in the eyes of the judicial system. It’s important, especially if you are involved in a divorce, to understand how your rights are impacted.

What are your rights as fathers? It seems like another simple question, but unfortunately when you ask many fathers, they just don’t know. That’s one reason why fathers often agree to surrender their rights, because they are unsure of the rights that they do have with respect to their children.

How important is the role of a male in a child’s life? That’s a question we ask ourselves but often are not willing to answer in favor of expediting a divorce or to satisfy the other spouse.

Children need a positive male influence in their life. This Symposium will help fathers recognize how important their role in the raising of their children is, and also how they can remain pivotal in influencing their children’s lives.

For more information on attending the Symposium hosted by Illinois Council on Responsible Fatherhood visit or contact Jennifer Whiteside at 312-296-3666 or Governor-Appointed Chairman and Fathers Rights attorney Jeffery M. Leving at 312-296-8685.