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Kane County family law attorneyWhen an individual becomes a parent, they are generally entitled to certain rights regarding their child. However, there are a variety of circumstances that can result in a parent losing their parental rights in Illinois. From undetermined paternity to a lack of parental fitness, an individual’s right to parent their child can be revoked. Suppose you have had your parenting rights taken away. In that case, a family attorney can help you uncover your options towards establishing custody, parenting responsibilities, or visitation time with your child.   

Lack of Parental Fitness

In order to understand how the state can revoke parental rights, it is crucial to be familiar with parental fitness guidelines. Being a fit parent includes having the physical, emotional, and mental ability to care for your child. Ways that a parent can be deemed unfit include: 

  • History of child abuse or neglect
  • History of sexual abuse or assault 
  • One year or more of habitual substance abuse 
  • Living in an unsafe environment 
  • Consistent lack of accountability for childcare responsibilities 
  • Mental illness that impacts the ability to care for a child 

If a parent is deemed unfit to parent, the court could terminate their parenting rights, including custody, the right to visitation, or the right to make legal decisions for the child. These unfit qualities are especially reviewed during a divorce. If a couple is pursuing a custody battle while dissolving their marriage, the unfit parent may lose their parenting rights as a divorce agreement is drafted.  

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Kane County family law attorneyOne of the toughest but most important parts of an Illinois divorce is creating a parenting agreement that suits both parents’ needs as well as the children’s best interests. Parents must often get creative and curious when creating a parenting plan because both spouses are sure to have strong opinions about what is likely to be the best arrangement. 

An important part of every Illinois parenting time arrangement is the right of first refusal - or, in other words, the obligation either or both parents have to seek child care from each other rather than a third party under certain clearly delineated circumstances. If done well, the right of first refusal can benefit children as well as divorced parents. Here are three ways your kids might benefit from a great right of first refusal clause. 

Strengthened Parent-Child Relationship

The clearest reason for a right of first refusal clause is the importance of increasing the time children spend with their parents and strengthening their relationship whenever possible. The right of first refusal allows this by ensuring children maximize the time spent with each parent, rather than with a babysitter or other family member. Although it may be easier for parents to sometimes rely on grandparents or neighbors to watch the children, and important though these other relationships may be, children need their parents’ caregiving more than anyone else’s. 

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Kane County divorce attorneysDivorcing your spouse is tough and comes with many complex decisions, especially if you share children. If you and your spouse are both active parents in your children's lives, it can be hard to determine custody when splitting up the family. Often, this can lead to a contested divorce where partners can not agree on how to divide parenting time and custody. If you are currently dissolving your marriage with your partner and find yourself in a sticky situation disputing custody, these five tips may help you. 

Think About Your Parenting Strengths and Weaknesses

Parents must try to remain neutral when thinking about custody by keeping the children's best interests in mind. Parents should think about their own strengths and weaknesses and determine what would be best for the children. For example, if your spouse is way more active with the kids, but you are more of an authoritarian parent, consider letting your spouse parent over the weekends while you manage school days. Being honest is the best road to follow during a custody dispute. 

Do Not Talk Badly About Your Partner to the Kids

No matter what you think of your soon-to-be ex-spouse, keeping the rhetoric to a minimum when your kids are around is essential. Trash-talking your spouse in front of the kids can leave lasting emotional effects for all family members, including your children. A judge in your custody case may also see this as bad parenting, leading to you losing your chances of custody. 

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St. Charles parental relocation lawyerThere are many lifestyle changes that occur following a divorce — a new house, new relationships and, potentially, a new city. Relocating after a divorce can be the fresh start that many people need after dealing with the emotional and financial stress of a marriage dissolution. However, in the state of Illinois, relocation after a divorce may be difficult if there are children involved. There are many rules regarding the distance and timeline of a relocation with children that all depend on your divorce agreement. 

How Do I Relocate?

The process to relocate with children following a divorce comes in a few steps. The first step is to determine where you want to move and how long you intend to live there. In the state of Illinois, the duration of the move (permanent or temporary) is required to be disclosed to the court. The moving spouse must write a written intent to move and submit it to the court at least 60 days prior to the move. 

The factors that the court considers when deciding if the parent can relocate with the children include:

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b2ap3_thumbnail_divorce-parents-back-to-school-illinois.jpgNo matter what the dynamic between two spouses looks like, filing divorce papers is never easy. However, the process becomes even more unfortunate and complicated when children are involved. 

Typically, a decision regarding child custody will be determined with the two parents in mind. A judge will often award sole custody to parent A, sole custody to parent B, or shared custody to both parents. Illinois law uses the terms “parenting time” and “parental responsibilities” instead of visitation and custody. However, these terms are still used informally and will be used in this blog.  

Sometimes, grandparents will seek custody of their grandchildren amid the divorce of the children’s parents. With the help of a family law attorney, grandparents can fight for custody of the children whose parents are divorcing in Illinois. 

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