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Kane County parenting time attorneyA divorce can be one of the most difficult experiences one can go through, especially if children are involved. The allocation of parental responsibilities (child custody) and parenting time (visitation) are two important issues that need to be resolved during the divorce proceedings. A couple can create a parenting plan, which essentially outlines details such as what days of the week the child is with each parent. If they cannot agree on the terms, a decision will be made based on the best interest of the child by the court. 

Courts will also weigh other factors before making a decision on parenting time in order for both parents to take an active role in child-rearing. However, in these uncertain times, with stay-at-home orders issued in many states, parents are being creative by using technology for virtual visits if they cannot be done in person.  

Determining Factors for Visitation

Illinois courts recognize that children benefit from a relationship with both parents. This is generally true as long as there is no evidence or history of abuse or that a parent poses a threat to the welfare of a child. Otherwise, parenting time may be denied or supervised visitation ordered. 

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Kane County family law attorneysUnfortunately, not every marriage ends happily ever after as they do in the fairytales. In some cases, spouses simply grow apart or cannot reconcile due to infidelity or an addiction problem. When a couple has a child with a physical or mental disability, it can also put a significant strain on their relationship. In these family situations, the decision to divorce can be especially difficult. The thought of caring for a special needs child as a single parent can be overwhelming. On top of the usual issues that need to be resolved, such as the allocation of parental responsibilities, parenting time, and the division of property or assets, there can be a lot of uncertainty about caring for your child as a divorced parent.   

Disabilities Can Take Different Forms 

A special needs child is a minor who has been diagnosed with a condition that requires attention and certain assistance that other children do not. The state may declare this status for the purpose of offering benefits for the child’s well-being and growth. Some of these conditions may result in occupational or physical therapy, in addition to emotional or behavioral support. In some cases, a child may be confined to a wheelchair or need a seeing-eye dog. 

The following disabilities are typically placed in specific categories: 

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Kane County family law attorneysThere is no denying that a divorce can be challenging even if both spouses mutually agree it is for the best. The decision to end a marriage may be especially difficult if a couple has a child together. In many cases, both parents want to spend as much time with their child as possible and it is one of the reasons they often put off filing for divorce. Every state has laws governing divorce and child-related issues, and Illinois is no exception. The allocation of parental responsibilities (child custody) and parenting time (visitation) must be determined before a divorce is finalized. It is possible for the custodial parent to relocate, so it is crucial to know the rights each parent has under Illinois divorce laws.

Illinois Divorce Laws

Under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, one parent is typically awarded the majority of the parental responsibility for his or her child in a divorce. According to a new statute that was enacted in 2016, that parent must give the other parent 60 days written notice if he or she wishes to relocate with the child. Several important details must be included within that notification, such as: 

  • Date of the planned move
  • New address
  • Length of time if the relocation is temporary

The parent is permitted to move with his or her child within the state according to certain guidelines. A move beyond the mileage restrictions or out of Illinois requires permission from the other parent unless the court allows it. If the other parent objects to the move, the court may still permit the move if it is considered to be in the child’s best interest.

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St. Charles parenting plan attorneysThe COVID-19 pandemic has affected millions of people on a global scale, from China to Italy to the United States, as well as many other countries. This novel (new) coronavirus is highly contagious and results in respiratory illness that can range from mild to life-threatening. Those who have pre-existing medical conditions or who are over the age of 65 are reportedly at a higher risk of fatalities. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is aggressively responding to the worldwide outbreak of the virus, with updates and guidelines for citizens to follow. Some of these directives include isolation or quarantine orders if someone tests positive for the virus. During this unsettling time, parents who are divorced may be worried how it will affect their parenting plans

Illinois’ Response to Coronavirus 

Here in Illinois, Governor J.B. Pritzker and his administration are committed to the health and safety of citizens across the state. In an effort to flatten the curve on the number of new cases, Pritzker issued a “stay at home” order that began March 21 and tentatively runs through April 7. This means that all “non-essential” businesses are closed, including schools, restaurants (dine-in service), bars, casinos, shopping malls, salons, and more. Students are doing online schooling and people who can work from home are doing so. Government offices, medical facilities, gas stations, and grocery stores are still open. Health and county officials are urging people everywhere to practice social distancing. This means keeping six feet away from others and refraining from large gatherings or traveling unless absolutely necessary.   

Child-Related Issues Amidst the Outbreak

In an Illinois divorce, one parent is typically awarded the majority of the parental responsibilities (child custody). The non-custodial parent has designated parenting time (visitation), which is outlined in a parenting plan. This document is basically a schedule of when the children are with which parent. For example, some parents alternate weeks or weekends and holidays. However, what happens when the kids are off school for a prolonged period of time, such as during the COVID-19 outbreak?  

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St. Charles family law attorneysMany couples who are unhappy put off filing for divorce if they have children together. The thought of hurting their kids by breaking up the family can be overwhelming. However, ending a dysfunctional marriage may benefit everyone in the long run. In Illinois, parenting time (visitation) refers to when a parent sees his or her child after a divorce or breakup. Parents can develop their own arrangement for parenting time, but a judge will still have to approve the schedule. When a couple cannot reach an agreement, the court will determine an appropriate parenting time schedule for the parents.

Illinois Divorce Laws

According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, the allocation of parental responsibilities (child custody) is divided into two main elements. The first aspect involves decision-making authority for important issues, such as education, religion, and healthcare. The second basic element of parental responsibility is parenting time, which may include the right of first refusal. This means that if a parent intends to leave a child with a caregiver for a substantial amount of time, that parent must first offer the other parent an opportunity to take care of the child. Examples of third parties include a babysitter, relative, stepparent, friend, or daycare facility. 

First Refusal Rights

When divorcing parents or the court includes the right of first refusal in a parenting plan, the plan must address details of how the right can be exercised. This includes:

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