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remarried, Lombard family law attorneyThere are many reasons why it may be difficult for you to see your former spouse on the verge of getting remarried. Some, of course, may be mostly nostalgic—a longing for the "good old days" when you were blissfully happy together. Others may be based on jealousy, if you are being honest with yourself. Your ex has found someone that is not you, and no matter what occurred between the two of you, being replaced hurts. Finally, there may be more practical concerns for you regarding the upcoming nuptials of your ex-spouse, especially if you have children.

No Right or Wrong Answers

The most important thing for you to remember as you think about the impact of your ex’s remarriage on your children and parenting arrangements is that there is no manual for dealing with the issues. Changes are almost certain but they do not need to be seen as negative. As long as you and the other parent can communicate and cooperate, you can continue to provide for your child’s best interests, allowing him or her to benefit from the addition of a stepparent. You will need to find a solution or approach that meets the unique needs of your family, allowing all parties to remain involved as a valuable component of the process.

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informal, custody, Illinois family law attorneyDivorced or unmarried parents often face a great deal of difficulty in determining arrangements for their children. They may be unable to communicate effectively with each other, making it necessary for the court to issue orders related to child custody, visitation, and support. Others, however, are able to get along just fine and cooperatively establish an agreement that meets their needs while providing for the best interest of their child. While such cooperation is certainly preferable to a contentious situation, parents should be cautious of informal agreements related to issues involving their children.

Following a divorce or breakup, some couples may find it very easy to create an informal arrangement for custody of their child. In some cases, the agreement is entirely verbal, with no written record whatsoever. For parents in an amicable situation, involving the court may seem unnecessary, as the child’s needs are being met while maintaining a positive relationship with each parent.

Potential Problems

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domestic violence programThe Chicago Police Department responds to almost 500 domestic violence calls every day. In 2013, approximately 1,500 of those calls involved aggravated domestic battery, where the abuser attacked his or her victim with a gun, knife, or other dangerous weapon.

The City of Chicago recently expanded a pilot domestic violence program that has been in effect since last year. The program takes a more proactive response approach by police, prosecutors and social services agencies and providers.

The program was first introduced to the Chicago Police Department’s 14th Division. The aim of the program is to enable law enforcement to identify households which may be at an elevated risk of domestic violence and serious injuries in order to coordinate a rapid response. An assessment form was developed which asks questions that help determine if a victim is at elevated risk of injury. Patrol officers use these assessment forms when responding to domestic violence calls. If the victim’s answers indicate a serious risk, the department has put protocols in place which activates an immediate investigation.

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child custody statutesThe National Parents Organization (NPO) recently announced its 2014 Shared Parenting Report Card. This report details the first national study which gives an extensive overview of each of the 50 states and their standings when it comes to child custody. Specifically, the study examines each state’s degree of encouraging of shared parenting following a couple’s divorce or separation.

Surprisingly, courts have not made the great strides when it comes to shared custody plans as many people think they have. According to the report, custody is granted to the mother in approximately 80 percent of child custody cases, even though numerous studies have overwhelmingly proved that children do much better emotionally, physically and socially when both parents are heavily involved in their daily life.

The research team analyzed data from all the states; however, they were only able to assess data of children born to unmarried parents in 45 states. These states have laws that address both children born into marriage, as well as children born out-of-wedlock. In the remaining five states which do not have statues that address children born to unmarried parents, the team was only able to assess the information of child custody cases between married parents. In their report, the researchers point out that, according to the most recent U.S. Health and Human Services statistics, almost 40 percent of children are now born to unmarried parents.

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Posted on in Divorce

Illinois child supportDivorcing your spouse can be difficult. Divorcing your spouse when you have children together can be exponentially more difficult. Separating parents must consider the effects the process may have on their children and how life may be different post-divorce. Arrangements for custody, visitation, and support of the children need to be negotiated and sometimes litigated. While custody and visitation agreements may differ greatly due the circumstances unique to each family, Illinois law provides a guideline that courts are expected to follow when deciding and calculating child support.

Who Pays Support?

Under Illinois law, the court may require one or both parents "to pay an amount reasonable and necessary for the support of the child, without regard to marital misconduct." The law allows for the possibility that the child may reside with someone other than a parent after the divorce, but, in practice, the court will typically require the non-residential or non-custodial parent to pay child support.

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same sex coupleWith more and more states enacting same-sex marriage laws, there will also be same-sex divorces that take place. For many divorcing same-sex couples, child custody will also be a major issue to negotiate.

Many same-sex couples become parents by using either surrogate mothers or sperm donors. For couples who use surrogate mothers, often the surrogate’s eggs are fertilized with one or both of the male couple’s sperm and the baby is then the biological child of one of the spouses. With female couples, often one of the women are impregnated with a sperm from a donor and carries and delivers the baby, making her the biological mother of the child.

A new study has revealed that the biological parentage of children in same-sex relationships has, in the past, played a major role in how the courts are deciding who gets custody of the children. The author of the study, Dr. Abbie Goldberg, found that because there are no definitive laws that protect non-biological parents, they ultimately have no say in whether or not they will be allowed to stay a part of the child’s life that, up until the relationship breakup, they were considered the other parent.

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child of divorce, children of divorce, Arlington Heights family law attorneyNo matter what age children are, divorce can cause them to experience a wide-range of emotions and fears about what will happen to them. Feelings of anger, confusion, sadness and guilt can weigh heavily as a child watches his family fall apart.

Parents can help transition children and ease the impact divorce can have. Here are steps that family counselors recommend parents share with their children:

  • One of the most important things to stress to children is that the divorce is not their fault. Many children think that it is something lacking in them that causes their parents to argue and think if only they were better at school, better in sports, better behaved, etc. It’s also important for children to know that isn’t their responsibility to "fix" the marriage. Details of issues between the parents should not be shared with the children.
  • Children’s feelings are their own and there is no right or wrong way to feel about the divorce. If parents fighting have been a family norm for a long time, children may even feel relief that the marriage is ending. Let them know no matter what they feel, it is okay.
  • Reassure children that both parents love them. Whatever feelings may have changed between Mom and Dad, that doesn’t change how much the parents love the children. And regardless of the fighting that is going on between you and your spouse, try to present a united front to your children.
  • Explain to the children that each parent expresses their love in different ways. Time spent, money spent, trips taken, etc. are ways that children sometime use to measure how much a parent "really" loves them. Sharing with child that these are things that are often determined by time and financial circumstances of the parent and do not reflect how much they are loved.
  • It’s critical for children to know that their relationship with each parent is private and independent. Parents need to respect the child’s relationship with the other parent and should never pry.
Even in the friendlies of divorces, child custody disagreements can turn into major issues that need to be negotiated. If you are considering a divorce, contact an Arlington Heights family law attorney to find out what your options may be.
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