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Posted on in Divorce

Joliet parenting time lawyer divorce child custodyWhen beginning the divorce process, it can be easy to get swept up in the societal expectations regarding how parents will raise their children together after separating. However, it is important for parents to understand how the law applies to their situation and use this information to address issues related to their children.

In Illinois, child custody is referred to as the “allocation of parental responsibilities.” In addition, Illinois law uses the term “parenting time” rather than “visitation” to better reflect the fact that both parents should be closely involved in their children’s lives. While attitudes about parents’ roles in raising their children have changed over the past few decades, many myths about how child custody is handled in divorce cases continue to persist. Here are some misconceptions many people have about child custody:

  • Parenting Time Can Be Denied if Child Support Is Not Paid - Child support is implemented to allow children of divorced parents to continue to receive the financial support they would have had if their parents had remained married. In Illinois, child support is determined based on the income earned by both parents. It is important to understand that if your ex-spouse does not pay the child support they owe, this does not mean that you can physically keep their child from them. There are situations in which restricting or eliminating parenting time may be justified, but failure to pay child support is not one of them. Child support is a separate issue from parenting time, and a parent may face consequences if they interfere with parenting time in retaliation for non-payment of child support. 
  • Custody Is Always Given to the Mother - In Illinois, most courts prefer for parents to agree on a joint custody situation, although there are some situations in which sole custody will be granted to one parent. When a custody agreement can be reached, a parenting plan is put into place which states exactly who spends time with the child and when. Decisions about how parenting time is divided will be based on a number of factors, including the child’s needs, the parents’ wishes, and each parent’s history of caring for their children. If sole custody is appropriate, this decision is based on what is best for the child rather than the gender of the parent.
  • Parenting Plan Changes Can Be Made Privately - Life situations change, and as your children get older, their needs will change as well. If you and your ex-spouse get along, it may feel simple enough to create changes to your parenting plan together without the need for involving the court. However, if there is ever a disagreement, the court will follow the original parenting plan rather than any private agreements. When making changes to the parenting plan, parents should always file a custody petition with the court, ensuring that the parenting plan can be legally enforced if it ever becomes necessary to do so. 

Contact a Joliet Child Custody Attorney

When making decisions about the custody of your children, be sure you understand how the law applies to you rather than relying on common knowledge. An experienced Will County divorce attorney can answer your questions and provide you with certainty regarding your parenting plan. Call our office at 815-726-9200 to schedule a free consultation. 

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Posted on in Divorce

Joliet divorce lawyer parents teensDivorce can be challenging for children of all ages, including teenagers. While younger children may be more open about their feelings, teens tend to be more private and hold in how they feel. The good news is that there are certain strategies that you can use as a parent to help your teen cope with divorce. These strategies include:

Make Adults in Your Teen’s Life Aware of Your Divorce

It can be difficult and embarrassing for teens to have to tell teachers, coaches, and other adults in their lives that their parents are going through a divorce. Therefore, it is wise for you to inform these adults of your divorce so your son or daughter does not have to.

Handle Behavioral Changes Immediately

During and after your divorce, you may notice your teen’s behavior changing. Rather than allowing behavioral changes to escalate and hinder your teen’s everyday life, it is essential to deal with them right away. As soon as your teen displays behavior that is disrespectful or inappropriate, encourage them to discuss their feelings with you and find more positive outlets for their emotions.

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Posted on in Divorce
5 Back to School Co-Parenting Tips

Joliet divorce lawyer parents childrenCo-parenting after a divorce can be a real challenge. In order for it to be successful, both parents must be willing to communicate and coordinate with one another. Now that the summer season has come to an end, and it is time for back to school, it is important to keep the following co-parenting tips in mind: 

1. Coordinate in Advance

You need to work with your ex to figure out who is purchasing school supplies, how you will exchange school-related information, how parent-teacher conferences will work, and more. By coordinating in advance, you will be able to reduce conflicts and avoid arguments throughout the school year. 

2. Split School Supply Costs

School supplies can be expensive, especially if your children are older and require items such as high-end calculators. Therefore, it is a good idea to split the cost of school supplies with your ex. This can lead to improved cooperation between the two of you while allowing you both to play a vital role in your children’s back-to-school preparation. 

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Posted on in Family Law

b2ap3_thumbnail_Untitled-design-26.jpgIt can be a difficult and emotional experience to go to court for a child custody hearing. If you will be going to court in the near future for a child custody hearing, there are several ways you can prepare yourself to increase your chances of winning custody of your child.

Understand Child Custody Laws

Child custody laws can be complicated. Therefore, you should do some reading and work with your lawyer to become familiar with the laws in Illinois. If you come across any confusion or questions, be sure to find clarity prior to your hearing.

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Will County divorce lawyersWhile older children typically do understand divorce - or at least the concept of it - younger children may struggle to grasp at how divorce will affect their everyday lives. They may not even fully comprehend that divorce means one parent will be living at a different home. Unfortunately, this lack of understanding can make coping with the divorce that much more difficult for the child. Parents may be able to help their child by using the following tips.

Talk to Your Child’s Pediatrician

Pediatricians specialize in the growth and development of children. It is this in-depth understanding that makes them a valuable ally to parents going through divorce. Able to give insight into how the child may cope with the divorce, and their level of understanding of the process itself, a pediatrician can offer parents unique advice that is tailored to their child’s age, stage of development, and own personal history. If you are going through a divorce, ask your child’s pediatrician for advice.

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Will County divorce lawyersThere used to be just two options for married couples: stay together or divorce. Now there are conscious uncouplers, bird-nesters, and even those who turn their traditional marriage into a “parenting marriage.” This last non-traditional family unit – the parenting marriage – is gaining a lot of traction lately, particularly among those that are at a deadlock in their marriage but still want to see their children every day. Could this model realistically work for your family as an alternative to divorce? The following information may help you decide.

What is the Parenting Marriage?

In many ways, the parenting marriage is a lot like a traditional marriage. The couple is (usually) still legally married, and they continue to live in the same house. However, their marriage is no longer an intimate relationship. Instead, it is a platonic one. They do not share the same bed, there is no intimacy, and most have separate finances and accounts. The sole function of their marriage is to raise their children, together, without the stress of trying to mend a relationship that is no longer working.

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Joliet divorce lawyersStudies have long touted that children with divorced parents are more likely to divorce themselves. However, new information suggests that parental conflict is the real culprit. In fact, children with divorced parents may have the same risk of divorce as children from low-conflict, non-divorcing families. In light of this, couples who are staying in a high conflict marriage "for the children" may wish to reconsider their decision. This may be especially true if their children seem to be especially sensitive to conflict within the home. 

Children Fare Better in Divorce Than High Conflict Families

Published in the journal, Marriage & Family Review, the study examined data on more than 1,200 American families to determine if children of divorce, or if children of high conflict marriages, were more likely to divorce later in life. Collected from 1987 to 2003, the data consisted of parental questionnaires on conflict within the marriage, confirmation regarding whether or not the marriage dissolved, and the relationship status of the adult child. All adult children were aged between 18 and 25 upon completion. 

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