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Lombard fathers rights attorneysMany studies have shown that children do best with both parents in their life. Of course, this is not true for situations involving abuse or domestic violence, but generally, removing one parent from a child’s life is damaging to the well-being of that child. Fortunately, many parents who get divorced or who never marry are able to work out a shared parenting arrangement which includes both parents as full participants in their children’s’ lives. Unfortunately, a new study shows that Illinois fathers are at the bottom of the list when it comes to how much time they spend with their children.

Study Analyzes Shared Parenting Schedules Across the Country

The study, which was piloted by a software company that makes apps for divorced and separated parents, involved a compilation of data regarding the most common parenting time arrangements in each of the fifty states. Through a survey of legal professionals and judicial standards across the country, the researchers were able to calculate the average amount of time parents spend with their children. The study only included cases in which both parents wanted custody of their children, and there were no extenuating circumstances, such as long-distance separation or criminal convictions.

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DuPage County family law attorneyIf you are a divorced or unmarried parent whose child spends time with your former partner, you undoubtedly have concerns that they are being well-cared for and protected. This is hard enough when there is no rational reason to suspect a problem. When your child’s other parent is battling issues with alcohol use, however, the stakes get very high, very quickly. While you may not be able to control the other parent’s behavior, parenting style, or lifestyle choices, there are ways that you can ensure that your child is protected.

Determine the Scope of the Problem

The first thing you will need to do is determine how serious the other parent’s problem is or could be. One good way of estimating this is by considering how you learned about the possible issue. Was alcohol a problem for him or her during your relationship? If so, was it simply a need to drink or was it a binge-drinking problem? If you have heard rumors from friends or have seen on social media that the other parent is out partying from time to time, you will need to look deeper. If, on the other hand, your child tells you that the other parent had too much to drink and passed out on the sofa while your child was still awake—and it happens regularly—you need to take action. Reports of drinking and driving with your child in the car must also be taken very seriously.

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Posted on in Visitation

Lombard family law attorneyAs a parent, there is nothing more important to you than the safety and well-being of your child. If you share parenting responsibilities or even just parenting time with your former partner, you can only hope that he or she shares your focus on your child’s best interests. But, what if he or she does not? What if he or she is not able to separate his or her own wants and needs from those of your child? Can you do anything about it? The answer—as with most aspects of divorce and family law—is that it depends on the specifics of your situation and whether your child is in serious danger.

Be Objective

Illinois law provides a court with the authority to limit a parent’s time with his or her child if such parenting time presents a serious danger to the child’s physical, emotional, mental, or moral health. What constitutes a serious danger is left to the interpretation of the court. You, as a parent, are very close to the situation, and you may find it difficult to determine what is a serious danger and what is simply parenting in a different manner than yours.

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Lombard family law attorneyMany divorced or separated parents often struggle with their new reality of limited time with their children. This is quite often the case for a parent who has been granted a relatively lesser amount of parenting time compared to the other. While you may understand logically that creating an equal parenting time schedule is not truly possible in most cases, knowing that does not make it any easier to be away from your children. There is a way, though, to include extra possible parenting time in your agreement with your ex. It is called the right of first refusal and, when utilized properly, this right can offer both parents and the child substantial benefits.

Understanding First Refusal

When you have precious little time with your child, you may be looking for any and all possible ways to see him or her more often. Changing permanent arrangement or schedule can be rather complicated, but including the right of first refusal is fairly simple. When the right of first refusal is part of your parenting agreement, it means that your child’s other parent is required to offer you the chance to care for the child when he or she would otherwise need to make other childcare arrangements. In short, this means additional parenting time opportunities for you. As the name implies, you have the right to refuse the opportunity, but if parenting time is at a premium, may be unlikely to turn down such a chance.

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Lombard family law attorneyOnce your divorce is finalized, you and your family embark on new journeys and a brand new way of life. When you and your ex-spouse share children, arrangements for visitation (parenting time) and the allocation of parental responsibilities (child custody) are made, resulting in new routines and a lifestyle that you and your children were not previously accustomed to before the divorce. While these new arrangements can take some getting used to, they often result in happier, healthier homes and habits for the whole family.

Non-Parent Involvement

During the divorce process, and often through mediation, you are expected create a parenting plan for how you will continue to raise your children and make decisions for your children based on their best interest. Outside influences must also be taken into consideration, such as grandparents, mentors, and close family friends.

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