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March 15, 2019
By: Richard Lee Stavins

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Divorcing married couples fight over the darndest things. Here’s one, as recently recounted by the Illinois Appellate Court in the case of Karyn Piegari v. Alexander Piegari, 2016 IL App (2d) 160594 – not a Robbins, Salomon & Patt case.

Karyn Crider and Alexander Piegari entered into a state of connubial bliss in September 2011. Karyn immediately took Alexander’s last name, as some married women do. The Piegaris soon had three children, all given the last name of Piegari. But by the end of 2014, Karyn and Alexander were fighting like proverbial cats and dogs, and in January 2015, Karyn filed for divorce.

Karyn asked the divorce judge to grant her custody of the three children and to allow her to resume her maiden name, Karyn Crider. Those are two very common requests by the wife in a divorce case, which are usually granted.

But Karyn threw in a kicker: She went ahead and unilaterally changed the children’s last names from Piegari to Piegari-Crider. Alexander was furious. He instructed his lawyer to ask the judge to enter an injunction against Karyn, barring her from ever using the hyphenated Piegari-Crider last name for any of the children. On her part, Karyn told her lawyer to file a cross-motion asking for official judicial permission to use the hyphenated name for the children.

The judge ruled totally against Karyn. Karyn appealed. The stakes thus dramatically increased, as they were now fighting in the Appellate Court over the name change. Karyn lost again. That means that if she ever uses the hyphenated name for the children, in any official capacity such as at their school, Karyn will be in contempt of court and Alexander will have the right to request that she be imprisoned. Is this a great country or what!