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DuPage County child custody attorney

The coronavirus pandemic is not just impacting grocery stores and group gatherings. It may also be affecting parental responsibilities (child custody) among divorced parents. On March 16, 2020, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker declared a state-of-emergency decree in response to COVID-19. As a result of the declaration, all schools in Illinois are closed until further notice, leaving parents unsure of what they need to do to provide care for their children. Most divorce orders outline when children will stay with each parent if schools are not in session. However, those orders are based on pre-arranged off-days and holiday schedules, not unplanned notices based on a national health crisis. To ensure that your parental rights are protected while addressing your children's health and safety, you should consult with a family law attorney to determine how to proceed.

Top Priorities Amidst the Crisis

Although it is easy to panic at a time like this, parents will want to do their best to protect their children's best interests. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

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DuPage County child custody attorney psychological expert

Even when spouses have the best intentions to end their marriage peacefully, divorces have the potential to be filled with contention. Throughout the divorce process, a couple must make many life-altering decisions, including how assets are divided, the details of a parenting plan, and decisions regarding spousal support. In many cases, the decisions regarding children can be the most difficult. When determining the allocation of parenting responsibilities, it may be beneficial to seek the professional opinion of a psychological expert. If you are facing a custody case, your family law attorney can help you explore your options and provide you with advice on when to use a psychological expert. Below are three important factors to consider during your custody case:

Can Psychological Experts Impact the Outcome of a Custody Case?

When parenting plans are determined, the most important factor is the well-being of the child. For this reason, it is not uncommon for a parent (or both parents) to undergo a mental health evaluation per Illinois Supreme Court Rule 215. For example, a judge may order a mental health evaluation if there is any doubt regarding mental illness, addiction problems, or other psychological conditions that could impact the life of the child. During the exam, a psychological expert, who may be either a psychologist or a licensed clinical social worker, will determine:

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When Can I Adjust My Parenting Plan?In every divorce involving children, parenting plans must be formulated. Parenting plans, commonly known as custody arrangements, divide responsibilities between each parent. They define responsibilities such as the time each parent is scheduled to spend with their child, who should be the one taking the child to medical visits, and which house the child will reside in. These are just a few of the many responsibilities required of a parent as well as those that are defined under parenting plans. While parenting plans are legally in place until the child turns 18 years old, it is almost impossible for them to last that long without a need for adjustments – situations change and so do children’s needs. 

Which Situations Warrant an Adjustment?

As with any legally-binding contract, there must be legitimate proof that an adjustment is necessary. Judges do not simply change parenting plans for the convenience of the parent. There are certain situations that will allow, and even prompt, judges to modify a family’s arrangement. The following are common examples:

  • The child is not safe, especially in their residence;
  • A parent is moving or relocating;
  • The child is older and has asked for adjustments to be made;
  • A parent’s work schedule has changed, affecting their ability or flexibility to care for the child;
  • The family’s situation has changed, specifically their financial stability; and/or
  • Their current arrangement is not being followed.

Some families have a combination of the circumstances mentioned above, while others have different reasons altogether. Regardless, each decision is situational and is dependent on the child’s best interests.

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Mistakes to Avoid in Your Parenting HearingWhether the allocation of parental responsibilities determinations are done by negotiating with your spouse or become a “battle” in front of a court, this portion of divorce is often the most difficult. Every parent wants the best for their children, and it can be difficult to figure out what is “best” when you and your spouse are accustomed to co-parenting under one roof. Parenting cases can get ugly even when divorcing couples are on amicable terms.

Common Errors

The determination of your parenting plan is an important part of the divorce process to prepare for. An experienced attorney should warn you of the following mistakes:

  1. Talking About the Case with Others: While it may be an instinct to confide in friends, this can lead to your demise in the end. You and your spouse probably still have mutual friends or friends that know each other, and gossip spreads fast. It is important to keep the details of your case confidential to avoid accidentally informing your ex about your defense tactics.
  2. Letting Your Emotions Make Your Decisions: The purpose of the allocation of parental responsibilities is to put your child’s best interests forward regardless of your relationship with your spouse. The reason for your divorce does not necessarily reflect on their parenting ability or style. Friends or family members will frequently take your side and provide you with a multitude of reasons to fight for sole responsibility. However, it is important to remember that what is best for you may not be best for your child.
  3. Using Your Children: Many parents can fall into the trap of hearing their ex’s business through their child or using their child as a messenger between parents. Placing your child in the middle of your divorce is an easy way to lose their respect and damage your relationship. This will be seen as bad parenting by a judge and can land you in hot water with your parenting arrangements.
  4. Social Media As an Outlet: In the digital age, many people turn to social media for comfort or for a sense of validation from friends. The worst time and place to talk about your new life or vent about your old one is on social media. Your account can be used against you in multiple areas of your divorce proceedings.  

Contact a DuPage County Divorce Lawyer

The errors listed and explained above can hurt you in your divorce case, but the biggest mistake of all is failing to hire an experienced attorney for the allocation of parental responsibilities. No matter how many tips and tricks you follow, having a professional on your side is the best way to fight for your child.  At A. Traub & Associates, we will provide you with the legal advice you need while fighting for you throughout your divorce proceedings. If you are searching for help in your parenting case, contact our Arlington Heights family law attorneys at 630-426-0196.

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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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