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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 In Illinois, child custody has been replaced by the more modern terms “parental responsibilities” and “parenting time.”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 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, IL divorce attorney parenting time

If you are a parent who is facing a breakup or divorce, you may struggle with the idea of splitting custody with your child’s other parent. When you are used to seeing your child on a daily basis, the thought of seeing him or her a limited number of days can be heartbreaking. In Illinois, divorcing parents are required to create a “parenting plan” that outlines arrangements for parental responsibilities and parenting time. One of the provisions in this plan is the “right of first refusal.” This provision may enable you to enjoy additional time with your child during the other parent’s absence.

Requiring Your Child’s Other Parent to Contact You Before Contacting a Babysitter

Parenting time, previously called visitation, refers to the time a parent spends directly caring for his or her child. If a parent cannot fulfill his or her parenting time responsibility because of a vacation, work obligation, or another reason, that parent may choose to hire a babysitter or ask a relative to watch his or her child. This can leave the child’s other parent frustrated and upset. The right of first refusal refers to a parent’s right to be informed about parental absences and given the opportunity to “refuse” additional parenting time. For example, consider a situation in which a mother has the children Monday through Friday and the father has the children on the weekends. The mother will be out of town on a work trip Monday and Tuesday. Because the parents’ right of first refusal provision dictates it, the mother is required to inform the father that she is going out of town and ask him if he wants to keep the children on Monday and Tuesday. If the father cannot watch the children those days, the mother is free to hire a nanny or find different childcare arrangements with other family members.

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Arlington Heights family law attorneyStatistics regarding the prevalence of abuse and domestic violence are shocking. One in three women and one in four men have been physically abused by a spouse or significant other according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Of course, domestic violence does not only involve physical abuse. Verbal abuse, sexual abuse, financial abuse, stalking, psychological manipulation, gaslighting, and controlling a person through threats and intimidation are also forms of domestic violence. If you are considering divorce, and your spouse has abused you either physically, mentally, financially, or otherwise, there are several considerations you should keep in mind.

Filing for an Order of Protection

The foundation of most abuse involves the abuser’s desire for power and control. Sometimes, when a victim of abuse decides to leave an abusive partner, the abuser realizes he or she is losing that control and becomes even more violent. If you are planning to leave your abusive spouse, you may want to obtain an order of protection, sometimes referred to as a restraining order. An Emergency Order of Protection (EOP) is a legally-binding court order that prohibits an abusive or potentially abusive person from coming within a certain distance from or contacting the person who requested the order. An EOP can be obtained at your local county courthouse and lasts for up to 21 days. If you require protection after this period, you may petition the court for a Plenary Order of Protection which lasts up to two years. The order may also instruct the abusive person to stay away from your children. If you obtain an EOP against your spouse and he or she violates the terms of the EOP, you can call the police and have him or her immediately arrested.

Child Custody Concerns and Reaching a Fair Divorce Settlement

Domestic violence can have a significant impact on the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time. Illinois courts make all child-related decisions based on what is in the child’s best interests and will never place a child in a dangerous situation. This means that if your spouse has a history of violent behavior, his or her parenting time is likely to be limited. The court’s primary goal is to ensure that your children are safe and that their best interests are served. An experienced divorce lawyer can help you petition the court to give you full parental responsibilities. A lawyer is also an invaluable asset when it comes to reaching a fair property division arrangement and requesting spousal support, or alimony.

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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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