Tracey A. Hower: Case Successes
Hague Convention on International Child Abduction
A mother of two fled the abuse of her husband from Canada to the United States with her two young daughters. The child’s father hired a prominent family law firm in Chicago and convinced a federal judge to send the U.S. Marshals to take this child from her mother’s home in the early morning hours. Having just had her child taken by Federal Marshals, the mother came to Mevorah Law Offices LLC for help.
Attorneys Tracey Hower and Bradley Giglio within 13 days prepared and went to trial before a Federal Judge in Chicago. The Judge, disregarded the domestic abuse and the fact that the mother and her children had lived in Illinois for the past eleven months and held that the father should retain custody of the child and the matter should be heard in Canada. Attorneys Hower and Giglio did not accept this Judge’s opinion. Instead, they filed an appeal in the 7th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals and obtained an emergency stay that prevented the father from leaving the country with the child. The 7th Circuit, after reviewing expedited briefs and oral argument, entered an order for the child to be returned to our client. It was the dedication and experience of Attorneys Hower and Giglio that saved the day. The case that was successfully orally argued by Attorney Giglio was remanded to the trial court for further findings and rulings. The case was published and can be found at 680 F.3d 781.
Breach of Employment Contract
Attorney Tracey Hower successfully defended a Breach of Employment Contract case in which her client was sued for violating a non-compete contract. Attorney Hower’s client was a regular business person being faced with the dilemma of having to defend himself against his former employer and their deep pocket law firm. With the employer suing multiple defendants and unsure of how to proceed, he turned to Attorney Hower to defend him. Attorney Hower attacked the case and did not wait for the employer to come after her client. Attorney Hower assessed the strengths and weaknesses and cut through the litigation to force the employer and its law firm to look at her client’s actions individually rather than in connection to the other defendants’ actions. Attorney Hower encouraged her client advising she believed the ultimate outcome would be positive. Through a series of meetings, telephone calls, and settlement talks, Attorney Hower was able to settle the case, as to her client, and have the case against her client dismissed. Because this client hired an attorney as take-charge and aggressive as Attorney Hower, he is now able to put this case behind him having the case settled very much in his favor.
Abduction of Child/ Removal of Child from State of Illinois/Sole Custody
Attorney Hower hit the ground running when her client, an unmarried father of a toddler, came to her in a panic because his former girlfriend had fled the state with his young daughter. The young mother was having emotional health issues and acting erratically. Attorney Hower filed an Emergency Motion to return the child which was granted. The mother was then served with the order for the immediate return of the child and a Petition for Sole Custody that Tracey filed on behalf of her client. The father was escorted by a Private Investigator to the dangerous area where the mother was staying with the child. The child was given to Attorney Hower’s client by the mother. The mother signed and had notarized the Sole Custody Judgment, giving Tracey’s client exactly what he wanted and what was best for his child. Attorney Hower’s swift action allowed for the child to be returned to her client and the order granting him sole custody of his daughter within two weeks and two court dates. This is impressive, in not only obtaining both return and sole custody for her client, but to have done it so quickly because it typically takes several months to years to get this very positive result.
Removal of Child From Illinois/Sole Custody
Attorney Hower was hired by a young unmarried mother who was kicked out of her apartment that she shared with her boyfriend, the father of her daughter. Desperate and with no family in Illinois, the mother and father agreed that the mother and child could move to Florida. The father then changed his mind and filed an Emergency Petition for the Return of the Minor Child. The child was ordered returned. This is when Attorney Hower was called upon to make things right and defend the mother’s rights. Attorney Hower successfully argued that the Court order the father of the child to pay for her client’s living expenses in Illinois while the litigation was pending. Attorney Hower continued fighting for her client obtaining Sole Custody for her client. Attorney Hower then finished her complete success for her client by obtaining the right for her client to move with the child to the state of Florida at any time.
Divorce Trial/Marital versus Non-Marital Property
Attorney Hower’s trial expertise was illustrated when she conducted a divorce trial in Boone County. Attorney Hower’s client, the wife, was eighty-eight years old at the time of trial. The main contested issue in the case was whether or not the residence that the parties had lived in during the marriage was marital in nature. Attorney Hower’s client had put down the majority of the down payment on the home from the proceeds of a home that she had owned with her late husband. Attorney Hower’s client was the only person on the mortgage and the parties paid the mortgage out of a joint account. Attorney Hower’s client had deposited the majority of the funds into their joint account, as her husband was often out of work and did odd jobs to make money. Attorney Hower successfully convinced the Court that the home was non-marital in nature and her client was awarded the home and all equity in the home as her personal property. This meant a great deal to Attorney Hower’s client, as this was her only asset.
Ms. Hower was retained by a distraught mother and father. The mother had just given birth to her fifth child. The child tested positive at the hospital for heroin. The Department of Children and Family Services immediately removed all of the children from the mother and father and placed them in foster care. With the facts stacked against these parents, Attorney Hower fought hard for her client and was able to work with the Guardian ad Litem as well as the Assistant State’s Attorney and the clients to prepare a comprehensive safety plan to return the children to their mother and father’s possession. This is a particularly impressive feat given that this incident was incident “m” or the thirteenth time DCFS had been involved with this family. This was only accomplished due to Tracey’s vigilant determination and negotiation skills with regard to convincing the appropriate people that the mother was committed to improve herself and not be a further risk to her children.
Father as Residential Custodian
Having the father being designated as the primary residential parent is not very common, but when the circumstances and facts support that a father be the primary residential parent of children of a marriage or even when the parents have not been married, Attorney Hower will recognize this and take every measure to make sure her client gets fair representation in Court. Tracey was retained by a young man who was the father of two young children. He lived with his parents and his wife moved into an apartment and did not have the emotional or physical support that he did. The client had done most of the care taking of the children even though he worked full time. Attorney Hower was able to convince the Court that her client should be the residential parent, and good thing she did because just weeks after the parties divorce the mother left the country to reside in her native Country of Mexico and has had little to do with her children; meanwhile, her former client and his family have been in touch with Attorney Hower over time and the children are well cared for and healthy.
DCFS Indication Expunged
Attorney Hower was retained by a man that was indicated by the Department of Children and Family Services for neglect of his minor son due to an altercation with his wife that took place in front of his son. This indication would remain on his DCFS record for a period of five years, which can have a negative effect with regard to employment possibilities. Attorney Hower’s client had never been involved with the DCFS system and had no previous history of Domestic Violence. Attorney Hower utilized her litigation skills and successfully appealed DCFS’s finding indicating her client for neglect of his minor son. Attorney Hower researched and utilized a case that had just been decided with regard to this particular type of indication and the Administrative Law Judge with DCFS found in her and her client’s favor. Attorney Hower’s client was extremely pleased with her performance and then hired her for his divorce proceeding. Attorney Hower is a very experience and skilled trial attorney who rises to defend her clients and clear their name.