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Arlington Heights, IL divorce attorney child custody

If you are a parent who is considering divorce or you are unmarried and about to become a parent, you probably have questions about child custody. In Illinois, child custody has been replaced by the more modern terms “parental responsibilities” and “parenting time.” Parental responsibilities refer to a parent’s authority to make major decisions about the child’s life such as where the child will attend school. Parenting time, formerly “visitation,” is the actual time that a parent spends caring for his or her child. Parents are asked to outline the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time in their “parenting plan.” Parents who cannot agree on parenting plan issues have several options.

Working Out an Agreement with Help from a Family Law Attorney

Understandably, parents often have strong feelings about child custody issues. This can make it hard for parents to discuss child-related issues rationally or to even consider compromising. If you find yourself in this situation, a family law attorney who has experience with child custody disputes can be a valuable resource. Your attorney can help you negotiate the elements of the parenting plan and may also have ideas that you had not considered.

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Arlington Heights, IL divorce attorney child custody

Drug and alcohol addiction is a huge concern throughout the United States, including in Illinois. Substance abuse problems such as alcoholism and opiate addiction have destroyed thousands of families. Other addictions such as gambling or shopping addictions can also have a devastating effect on a marriage or family. If you are thinking about legally ending your marriage, and your spouse suffers from an addiction, you may be worried about how your spouse’s addiction may affect your Illinois divorce.

Put Your Health and Well-Being First

If you are like many people who are married to a drug addict, alcoholic, or another type of addict, you have probably spent a great deal of time trying to help your spouse. You may have talked to your spouse about getting rehabilitative treatment, attending support groups, or going to counseling for his or her addiction. You likely spent months or years trying to help your spouse beat the addiction. Once you decide to end the marriage, you may need to learn to put yourself first. Divorcing someone with an addiction will likely be an emotionally exhausting experience involving a fair number of legal complications. That is why it is very important to make your mental health and well-being a priority during this difficult time.

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Arlington Heights, IL divorce attorney co-parenting

If you are a parent who is recently separated or is planning to divorce, you probably have concerns about the upcoming holiday season. You may be especially concerned about how your children will deal with the holidays. Between COVID-19 concerns, remote learning at school, and your divorce, you may feel overwhelmed and unsure of how to make the best of the situation. Fortunately, there is a good deal of research about how to alleviate the stress caused by divorce and the holidays.

Make Detailed Holiday Co-Parenting Plans

Divorcing parents in Illinois must submit a “parenting plan” that describes how parental responsibilities and parenting time will be allocated to each parent. If the parents cannot agree on a parenting plan, the court may determine a suitable plan for them. If you have not yet filed for divorce, you may not have any formal parenting plans in place. In order to reduce the chances of conflict and confusion during the holidays, make a plan with your spouse ahead of time about how you will share custody. Include the days and times that the children will stay with each parent, how the children will be transported between homes, and other relevant information.

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Arlington Heights family law attorneyDivorce involving children can be stressful regardless of the situation, but divorce involving parents who disagree on child custody issues can be especially difficult. In Illinois, the term “child custody” has been replaced with the “allocation of parental responsibilities” and “parenting time.” Divorcing parents are expected to agree on a strategy for how parental responsibilities and parenting time will be managed after the divorce in their official Illinois “parenting plan.”

However, many parents do not see eye-to-eye regarding this plan. Parents may disagree on which parent will make major decisions about the child’s life and upbringing, the amount of time that the child spends with each parent, household rules, and more.  If you are in a contentious child-related legal dispute, the following tips may help you to cope.

Avoid Sharing Too Much Information on Social Media

Many people make the mistake of oversharing on social media websites like Facebook and Twitter. Although these may seem like the perfect places to air grievances against your soon-to-be-ex, doing so will likely worsen the drama surrounding your child custody dispute. In addition to causing later feelings of embarrassment and regret, sharing details about child custody matters online may also influence the case. Even if you decide to delete what you posted, other people can still save a copy of what you wrote and use it against you during any legal proceedings.

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Arlington Heights family law attorneysDomestic violence touches the lives of countless families in Illinois and across the United States. The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence estimates that nearly 40 percent of Illinois women and over 25 percent of Illinois men have been the victim of intimate partner physical abuse, sexual abuse, or stalking. On a national scale, one out of every 15 children are exposed to domestic violence every year. Being witness to domestic violence can dramatically impact a child’s wellbeing. Consequently, Illinois courts heavily weigh accusations of domestic violence when making determinations about child custody and parenting time.

The Effect of Domestic Violence on Children

The Illinois Domestic Violence Act of 1986 describes domestic violence as abuse as well as “interference with personal liberty or willful deprivation.” Domestic violence can include physical violence, threats, psychological manipulation, intimidation, gaslighting and more. When children witness a parent physically or mentally abusing the other parent, it has a profound effect on them. Children who are witness to domestic violence are much more likely to experience depression, anxiety, verbal, motor, and cognitive issues, aggressive behavior, insomnia, and other problems.

Parenting Time and Parental Responsibilities

Illinois courts make all child-related decisions based on what is in the child’s best interest. A court will never assign custody or parenting time to a parent who is a danger to the child. In some cases, a judge may allow a parent who has been accused of domestic violence to have limited parenting time or supervised parenting time. The court may also require the transfer of the child to take place in public. If you are a parent who has been the victim of domestic violence at the hands of your spouse and you are divorcing, it is crucial that you notify the court of the abuse. If you are worried that your spouse will be a danger to your children, you can petition the court to get sole parental responsibility of your child. Speak with a divorce lawyer experienced in cases involving domestic violence so that you and your children’s rights will be fully protected during the divorce process.

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Rolling Meadows family law attorneyThe law in Illinois requires divorcing parents to submit a plan for how they intend to care and provide for their children. Parenting plans include provisions for how child custody, officially called the allocation of parental responsibilities in Illinois, should be managed, as well as several other child-related concerns. One part of Illinois parenting plans that often gets overlooked is the “right of first refusal.” Read on to learn what the right of first refusal is and how you can include directions about extra parenting time in your parenting plan.

Maximizing Parenting Time With Right of First Refusal Provisions

If you are a parent who is getting divorced, you may worry that you will not get to spend as much time as you want to with your child once the divorce is finalized. Parents who are used to seeing their children every day can understandably have a difficult time adjusting to a parenting schedule where they see their children less often. The right of first refusal refers to the right that parents have to spend time with their children when the other parent cannot fulfill his or her parenting time obligations.

For example, imagine that your child’s other parent goes on a business trip during one of the weekends that he or she is assigned parenting time. Instead of the parent calling a babysitter or other individual to care for the child in his or her absence, the right of first refusal can require the parent to ask you if you are able and willing to care for your child during the business trip. If you “refuse” the extra parenting time, then the other parent would be permitted to hire a babysitter or find alternative childcare.

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Arlington Heights divorce and child custody attorney

A divorce can be considered a good decision for some family units. However, when there is a child involved, the process can sometimes become contentious. Illinois law allows for parents to set up a schedule for child custody, now referred to as “allocation of parental responsibilities.” These are all based on what is in the best interest of the child.

How Is Child Custody Determined?

Most of the time parents agree to the terms of the allocation of parental responsibilities in court. If the parents cannot come to an agreement, then a judge will decide which parent will act in the best interest of the child. The court will decide which parent--or sometimes both--can make the best choice for the child in many different areas, including:

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