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DuPage County family law attorney parenting time

After your Illinois divorce, you will most likely be spending less time with your children than you are used to, even if you have been granted the larger share of parenting time. Parents whose time is limited to weekends and the occasional weeknight or special occasion may find the aftermath of a divorce to be especially hard. With these limitations on time with your children, it is even more important to make the most of the time that you do have.

Tips for Quality Parenting Time

As you work to make sure that your parenting time is meaningful and to protect your relationship with your children, here are some suggestions that can help:

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DuPage County divorce attorney parenting time

For many families, the winter holidays are a time for celebration. They can also be a time of heightened emotions, and those feelings are not always positive. Families who have recently gone through a divorce may still be coping with grief, sadness, even anger, and they may understandably find it hard to recapture the joy of past holiday seasons. However, this does not mean that this year’s holidays cannot be enjoyable in a different way. 

Approaching the Holidays as a Divorced Parent

As a parent, there are a few things you can do to help make the holidays less sad or stressful and more enjoyable after your divorce. Here are some suggestions to consider:

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DuPage County divorce attorney

Psychological research shows that when children are exposed to high levels of conflict between their parents, they may suffer from many long-lasting effects, including an increased risk of anxiety and depression. When you are in the midst of a divorce, it can be hard to shield your children from conflict entirely, but the more that you are able to do so, the better the position your children will be in to cope with the divorce and recover from the emotional trauma that it brings.

Protecting Your Kids from the Negative Effects of Conflict

The following suggestions can help you mitigate the effects of conflict on your children both during and after the divorce process:

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Arlington Heights, IL divorce attorney parenting plan

If you are a parent who is planning to divorce in Illinois, you may already be thinking about how you and your spouse will share child-related responsibilities. As part of the divorce process, you will be asked to describe the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time in your “parenting plan” and submit this plan to the court. If the court approves of the plan, the plan becomes a part of the legally enforceable divorce decree. Illinois law lists the issues that must be addressed in a parenting plan, but these are only the minimum requirements. You and your child’s other parent have the option of including additional agreements in the plan as well.

Planning in Advance to Prevent Future Conflict

Most parents have different beliefs, ideas, and strategies when it comes to raising their children. These differences can develop into arguments and legal disputes after divorce. One of the best ways to prevent conflict regarding child custody issues is to create a detailed parenting plan describing each parent’s responsibilities and expectations. The more you agree upon during the creation of the parenting plan, the fewer issues you will need to sort out in the future.

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Lombard, IL family law attorney legal separation

The decision to get a divorce is hardly ever easy, and it is understandable that you would want to pursue all other possible avenues before beginning the process of legally ending your marriage. You may even hold out hope for reconciliation if you and your spouse can find a way to work together to resolve your marital issues. If you feel that some time apart from your partner would be beneficial, a legal separation could be a good option, but you may wonder how, or if, reconciliation may be possible after you take this step.

Coming Together After a Legal Separation

A legal separation means that you and your spouse stay legally married but begin living separately. Depending on your financial and family situation, you may need to reach an agreement on spousal support, child support, and parenting time like you would if you were getting a divorce, but the option remains open for you and your spouse to end the separation if you both agree to do so.

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DuPage County divorce attorney child custody

In most cases in which a child has two known, living parents, Illinois courts will determine that it is in the child’s best interest for both parents to share custody. In fact, in 2016, the state of Illinois changed the laws and language surrounding child custody so that the term “custody” is no longer officially used. Instead, these decisions are now referred to as the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time, out of recognition of the benefits of a cooperative arrangement. However, there are still situations in which a parent or another party acting on the child’s behalf can legally challenge the other parent’s rights to parenting time and parental responsibilities.

When Can a Parent Be Denied Parenting Time or Responsibilities?

First and foremost, an Illinois court will seek to establish a parenting agreement that serves the child’s best interests. It may be considered in the child’s best interests to restrict or deny one or both parents’ rights to parenting time and decision-making responsibilities if the parent:

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Lombard, IL divorce attorney parenting time

A divorce can not only change the lives of you and your spouse, it can affect your whole family dynamic. Your children will have to adjust to living in two different households, and the nature of your relationship with them may change, especially if you will not be spending as much time with them as you used to. However, your relationship does not have to deteriorate, especially if you continue to make an effort to foster love, trust, communication, and quality time with your children. Working with your co-parent can also help your children feel more at ease during this major life transition. 

How to Keep a Close Bond With Your Children

As you and your children acclimate to life after your divorce, here are some things to keep in mind that can help you maintain a strong relationship:

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Lombard, IL divorce attorney parenting time

Divorce may be difficult for children of any age, but it can be especially confusing for toddlers who cannot fully understand their parents’ separation and the reasons for the change in their routine. If you decide to get a divorce while your children are still very young, you should be aware of the effects it may have on them and do everything you can to make the transition easier for them and continue providing them with a happy and healthy life.

Effects of Divorce on Young Children

Due to the stresses placed on your toddler both during and after your divorce, you may see some concerning changes in his or her behavior, including:

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DuPage County family law attorney prenuptial agreement

Before your marriage, you and your partner may have given significant time and consideration to the creation of a prenuptial agreement that clarifies each of your interests in and control over marital and non-marital properties. A thoughtful prenuptial agreement can be useful not only to smooth the process of a possible divorce but also to reduce uncertainty and increase comfort throughout your marriage. However, you may find in the years following your marriage that your original prenuptial agreement is insufficient or no longer relevant to your current situation. In this case, you may want to consider legally amending it.

Reasons to Amend Your Prenuptial Agreement in Illinois

As long as you and your spouse agree on the need to amend your prenuptial agreement, you can do so at any time. It is often a good idea to revisit your prenuptial agreement whenever there has been a significant change in your financial or family circumstances, such as:

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DuPage County divorce attorney parental relocation

During your divorce process, you likely devoted significant time and energy to establishing a parenting plan that was suitable to you and your ex-spouse and addressed your children’s best interests. However, as your children get older and all of your living situations change, it is sometimes necessary to revisit and modify your parenting plan to meet your current needs. One of the biggest changes that can affect a parenting plan is the relocation of one of the parents. If you or your ex are planning a major move, you should consider how you will need to modify your parenting plan to accommodate this substantial change in circumstances.

Modifying Your Parenting Plan After Relocation

It is important to note that when divorced parents share custody of their children, one of them may not simply move at any time. The relocating parent must provide the other parent with reasonable notice, usually at least 60 days, of his or her intent to move. Even then, the other parent can object, in which case, there will be a court hearing to determine whether the relocation will be permitted. One of the most important factors the court considers is the impact the relocation will have on the existing parenting agreement.

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Wheaton divorce attorney parenting time

If you are a parent who is divorced or legally separated, you are likely familiar with the court-approved parental responsibilities you and your ex may have spent hours trying to resolve. A parenting plan is a legal document that outlines child-related issues such as with whom your child will live, who has decision-making authority regarding issues such as children's education and medical care, and more. Unfortunately, your child may not be too happy about the decisions made during your divorce, and they may state that they do not wish to spend parenting time (visitation) with your ex-spouse. However, even if your child is reluctant to spend time with his or her other parent, you will be required to follow the parenting time schedule set down in the parenting plan, and you may face penalties for failing to fulfill the court's orders.

The Reasons Behind the Refusal

Understanding why your child does not want to visit the other parent is the first step in addressing the issue. During this time, it is important to keep these tips in mind:

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Wheaton divorce parenting time lawyerThe divorce journey looks and feels different for every couple, with varying shades of complexity. From the amicable to the horrendous, divorces manifest in all kinds of distinct ways, depending on the circumstances surrounding the relationship and if children are involved. Something every divorce has in common, however, is that they are all emotionally charged events by nature. Regardless of how civil both parties are with one another throughout the process, everyone involved is bound to experience emotional pain and discomfort, especially as the divorce proceedings develop. Difficult issues can arise that must not only be discussed but also resolved between both parties in order to make progress and move forward.

Typical Setbacks and What to Do When They Happen to You

Conflicts, even small ones, are inevitable throughout the divorce process. Here are some issues that commonly cause setbacks for both parties during the transition and how to address them when they happen to you:

  • Parenting time conflicts - If you and your spouse share children, you may quickly discover that you have different ideas of what parenting time should look like after the separation. It is not uncommon for couples to think they are on the same page regarding child custody issues, such as who will get the children on weekends and holidays, only to find they have drastically different feelings once the divorce is underway. Parenting time conflicts can turn into time-consuming, ongoing battles if not addressed early on. A positive course of action is to work with a well-seasoned, qualified family law attorney to create a fair, cohesive parenting plan to submit to the court for review. Should any modifications be necessary, your attorney can guide you through these changes from start to finish.

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Wheaton child custody attorney

Whether your child is in elementary school or is an adolescent in high school, they may experience the same emotional roller coaster that parents do when their family is going through a divorce. No matter how amicable or peaceful the decision to separate may be between parents, no one in the family journeys through the divorce process entirely unaffected. If your child is exhibiting certain signs, he or she may be having difficulty with the divorce. As a parent, it is important not to ignore these behaviors and instead address them head-on in order to maintain a healthy relationship with your child.

Recognizing When Your Child Is Having Trouble Coping

While studies show that civil, respectful relationships between divorced spouses can help support healthy healing for children of divorce, the emotional impact of the breaking of the family unit is still hurtful. Trouble coping is natural and to be expected in the midst of a family divorce, but if you notice any of the following changes in your child’s life on a day-to-day basis, it may be a sign that they are having an especially hard time adjusting to the change:

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Wheaton high-conflict divorce attorney

When it comes to divorce in the family, no one is fully immune to its emotional effects. Even the most civil of interactions between divorcing spouses can be deceiving. What might seem at first to be a friendly, mutual agreement may actually be subtly rife with tension. Conflict can simmer, and it may surface over time as the divorce proceedings unfold. By nature, divorce is a very emotional event in one’s life, and it tends to stir up a myriad of feelings for both parties, especially as the experience begins to feel more real and moves closer to its final stages. 

Common Triggers in High-Conflict Divorces

Conflict in divorce often stems from sensitive issues like money and child-rearing. These topics can be very touchy for everyone involved, even when both parties are working together to resolve the problems. Here are some of the most common sources of conflict for divorcing spouses:

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Common Parenting Schedules to Take into ConsiderationDetermining the allocation of parental responsibilities can be one of the most difficult aspects of divorce. Parents are not used to having to schedule a time to see their children. It is typically built into their schedule out of default. Making parenting decisions can be the portion of divorce that causes the most conflict. Emotions can run high, which can lead to an inaccurate representation of who you are as a parent. In order to avoid being overwhelmed by the legal process, it is important to be prepared when discussing parenting schedules.

Common Schedules

Although all parenting schedules can be adjusted to fit your family, there are four common divisions of parenting time that many families follow.

  1. 50/50: Evident in the name, the 50/50 plan has the child spending equal time with both parents. Some families have the children spend a whole week with each parent while some prefer to alternate days. This schedule is best when both parents live nearby and both are actively involved in parenting. The 50/50 schedule can make it difficult for the child to feel grounded depending on the number of days spent in each household.
  2. 60/40: This schedule is close to the 50/50 plan but assigns a primary home for the child. The 60/40 requires four days with one parent and three days with the other. Children will normally stay with one parent during the week and spend a long weekend with the other parent. This tends to give the child more stability during the school week, allowing them to focus on their academics during the week.
  3. 70/30: This schedule has the child living with one parent five days a week and the other two days a week. Similar to the 60/40, children normally stay with the non-custodial parent on the weekends, but this is adjustable based on each family’s situation.
  4. 80/20: The 80/20 has the child spending the majority of their time with the custodial parent while visiting the non-custodial parent every other weekend. Many families choose this to give both parents time with their children on the weekend, especially if both parents work. Although the child lives primarily with one parent, it can be difficult to spend “quality time” with them during the week.

Contact a Lombard Divorce Lawyer for Help

Divorce changes your lifestyle significantly, especially for parents. Rather than seeing their child every day, parents have to learn to adjust. At A. Traub & Associates, we work with you to do what is best for your whole family. If you are searching for assistance with your divorce, contact our experienced DuPage County attorneys for a free consultation at 630-426-0196.

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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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Lombard family law attorneysMost of us are familiar with at least the basic concept of child custody. In most instances, we realize that the phrase refers to making arrangements for raising a child or children following a divorce or breakup between the parents. While it is possible for non-parents to gain custody of a child, the vast majority of child custody disputes are between a child’s biological parents.

In 2016, sweeping reforms to the family law statutes in Illinois eliminated the official use of the phrase “child custody.” The amendments introduced new terminology that was intended to be less divisive and more cooperative. For many years, parents sought to “win” custody of their children, rather than working together to find the best possible parenting arrangement. Today, the legal concept of child custody in Illinois is known as the allocation of parental responsibilities.

Two Primary Components

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Lombard family law attorneyIn Illinois, parenting time is established by your divorce decree or a stand-alone custody order and is not to be interfered with out of any misplaced belief that you are entitled to do so. What people do not understand, however, is that in many situations, attempting to interfere or interfering with your former spouse’s designated parenting time may actually render you liable for civil damages, and it may adversely affect your existing parenting situation. You must understand what constitutes interference and what does not.

Civil vs. Criminal Action

While interference with visitation is not uncommon, it rarely becomes a persistent problem because there are multiple remedies of both civil and criminal varieties that can be employed against the offending spouse. The Illinois Criminal Code classifies interference with parenting time as a petty offense, but if it occurs more than twice in the same circumstances, it is a class A misdemeanor. This may not sound like much of a punishment, but even a misdemeanor incurs fines, court appearances, other inconveniences that may cause a person to think twice about acting in such a fashion again. It may be difficult to convince prosecutors to file charges for such an offense, but the option exists in the law.

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Lombard family law attorneyDomestic violence is one of the most common family issues in the United States today, unfortunately, and it has an especially pernicious effect on children. If a parent who has committed domestic violence is permitted to continue seeing his or her children, studies have shown that that child has a greater propensity to perpetuate violence in the future. The state of Illinois considers it a high priority to ensure that children are not exposed to such behavior, and as such, if your spouse has charges or convictions, you may be able to mount a serious challenge to their parental fitness.

Domestic Violence Defined

Illinois’ Domestic Violence Act (DVA) of 1986 defines domestic violence as abuse, both physical and otherwise, as well as “interference with personal liberty or willful deprivation.” It also makes a point of identifying a victim as any family or household member, rather than just a spouse. Thus, the law encompasses spouses, but also family members related by blood, people who are (or were) dating or living together, and co-parents of a child who are unmarried. So, for example, if the mother or father of your child abuses you, the DVA still applies in your case, whether you are married or not.

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Lombard family law attorneysWhen you share parenting responsibilities for your child with your former partner, things are not always going to be easy. You will almost certainly experience disagreements with the other parent over a variety of concerns including the child’s activities, your relationship with the child, and your ability to properly exercise your parenting time. Regardless of the difficulties, however, it is very important for you to continue following any orders entered by the court so that you do not put your parental rights in jeopardy.

Components of a Parenting Plan

Following a divorce or breakup of unmarried parents, arrangements must be made for the couple’s child or children. To facilitate the process, the law requires the parents to submit a proposed plan regarding each parent’s responsibilities for the child. Each parent may submit a separate proposal or they may develop one together. A parenting plan must contain a number of other elements, but the most important considerations include the allocation of significant decision-making responsibilities and a parenting time schedule. Once a parenting plan has been approved by the court and entered as an order, both parents must abide by its terms.

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