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kane county child custody lawyerWhether you have been divorced for several months or just separated from your spouse, it is important to stick to the child custody and visitation order you agreed upon. However, if your child does not want to see the other parent, it can make the situation much more difficult. If you do not comply with the parenting time schedule described in your parenting plan, the court could even find you in contempt of the court order.

Common Reasons Why Children May Refuse Visitation

While it would be ideal if all children complied with visitation schedules, it does not always work out that way. Children may not want to see their parent for a wide range of reasons. Perhaps they do not like the rules they have to follow at the other parent’s house or maybe they do not get along with their parent’s new significant other. Other children may refuse to see their parent because he or she lives far away from their school and friends.

How to Handle a Child Who Is Refusing Visitation

If your child does not wish to visit their other parent, you can take the following steps to rectify the matter. 

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st. charles divorce lawyerFrom posting vacation photos on Instagram to announcing the birth of a child on Facebook, people use social media for various reasons. Although social media has its benefits, it can cause issues during an Illinois divorce. To prevent complications in your divorce case, try to limit what you post on these sites.

How Social Media Can Damage Your Divorce Case

When you make a post on social media, it may get taken out of context, which can be problematic for your divorce. For instance, let’s say that you go out to the bar one night with a few friends and post a photo of the group on Facebook. Although you are not doing anything wrong, the photo may lead some people to believe that you are an irresponsible parent who drinks too often. Your ex may even try to use that photo in a custody proceeding to suggest that you are an unfit parent.

Posting on your social media may also have financial consequences for your divorce. If you, for example, post a photo of a new vehicle you purchased, despite claiming financial difficulties, your ex’s lawyer may argue that you are hiding assets. 

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St. Charles family law attorney child custody

One of the greatest challenges that parents face during divorce and child custody battle is keeping their feelings under control and not discussing their feelings about the other parent in front of their children. Children are smarter and more intuitive than we often give them credit for. Even a young toddler still learning to speak can sense the hostility that is being directed toward a parent when the other is talking about them behind their back. Multiple studies have shown that alienating a parent has life-long implications for children, with the potential to cause low self-esteem, self-hatred, depression, substance abuse, lack of trust, and more. The following are a few tips to follow if you are involved in a child custody battle. For more details that may apply to your particular situation, an experienced family attorney can assist you.

Posting Online

It is important to remember that the other party can and will use everything to their advantage. This means that if you post negative comments, send threatening emails or texts, or come off as the bitter, angry party, it will be used to your disadvantage. Keeping a calm demeanor is both important inside the courtroom, as well as outside.

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St. Charles family law attorney child custody

Of all the issues that a divorcing couple must contend with, child custody is often the most contentious issue they face. Even the friendliest of divorces can quickly turn adversarial when discussions about the allocation of parental responsibilities and developing a parenting plan come into the picture. These strong emotions can make custody disputes difficult, and they can also prompt parents to make mistakes. In some situations, these mistakes can end up being the deciding factor in where the judge decides the child should live. Consequently, it is important for parents in these disputes to stay civil, stay honest, and stay persistent, so that they can have their best chance at the custody arrangement that is best for their child.

Stay Civil

Staying civil is one of the most important parts of the child custody process, and all too often parents fail to do it. While this is understandable in light of the important issues being decided, rudeness will do more harm than good. Illinois law gives family court judges a wide range of discretion to decide custody issues, with the most important factor the judge considering is what is the best interest of the child. A judge seeing one parent being uncivil to the other may not look too favorable on the offending parent, especially if the other parent stays above it.

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St. Charles divorce attorney parenting time

While married parents are often able to work together to provide for their children and make important decisions about their well-being, the task of co-parenting can be more complicated after a divorce. Divorced parents often need to find a way to coordinate matters regarding their children while living in different homes, and this can be further complicated when there is a certain degree of conflict between the two parents. Matters related to a child’s health and medical needs can be some of the most challenging for divorced parents, especially at a time when health issues are front and center in the public eye.

Which Parent Makes Decisions About a Child’s Health?

Part of the allocation of parental responsibilities during the divorce process is determining how parents will share decision-making authority for their children. Typically, a parent has responsibility for the child’s day-to-day health and routine decisions during his or her scheduled parenting time. This includes fulfilling the child’s needs related to nutrition, sleep, and hygiene, as well as any regular medical needs. If the child has a medical or health emergency during a parent’s parenting time, that parent also has the responsibility to make appropriate decisions to respond to the situation.

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St. Charles divorce attorney parental relocation

Getting divorced and moving to a new location are both significant sources of stress in a person’s life, and the stress can be compounded when one happens soon after the other. A parent seeking to move with his or her children after a divorce is often especially complicated, as it can have a major impact on the other parent and his or her ability to maintain a relationship with the children.

In Illinois, parents who intend to relocate a certain distance away from their children’s current residence must obtain approval from the other parent or the court, but in most cases, this approval is just the beginning of the legal action necessary for the relocation to take place. Parents will also often need to consider substantial modifications to their current parenting plan or agreement, especially regarding parenting time.

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St. Charles divorce attorney allocation of parental responsibilities

For many years in Illinois, issues regarding children in a divorce were referred to under the umbrella term of “child custody.” However, since 2016, this term is no longer used in state law statutes, with the relevant issues instead identified as “parenting time” and the “allocation of parental responsibilities.” Parenting time is fairly straightforward, as it refers to the time that the children will spend living with each parent on a regular basis. However, you may have questions regarding what exactly it means to allocate parental responsibilities between you and your spouse during the divorce process.

What Parental Responsibilities Must Be Allocated in an Illinois Divorce?

Illinois law states that during a parent’s allocated parenting time, he or she has the authority to make “non-significant” decisions related to the child. This encompasses a wide variety of routine decisions and allows a person the freedom to parent without worrying that every action may potentially violate the divorce resolution. However, certain decisions are considered significant and must be addressed directly in a parenting agreement. These significant decisions include those related to:

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St. Charles divorce attorney parenting plan

If you are a parent considering divorce, you probably have a million questions swirling through your head. Who will be the primary caregiver of my children? How often will I see them? Where will my kids live and how long will they be at each house? Imagining carting your children between two homes can seem unfair and difficult, especially for kids who are old enough to have homework, after-school activities, and friends to see on the weekends. It can feel as if their lives are always in transition between one home and another. A recent phenomenon has caught the attention of divorcing parents who might be concerned about this two-home lifestyle for their children. Before making decisions about what will happen to the family home and how your children’s time will be divided between you and your ex-spouse, learn about a new option many families are considering: Nesting.

One Home Sweet Home

What most families will do once their divorce is finalized is have one parent remain in the family home as the primary caregiver while the other finds an apartment or alternative living space where the children can visit based on their parenting plan. The two separate living spaces can be beneficial for former spouses, but it can be difficult for kids to live between two homes. Nesting is a modern alternative that many co-parents have begun to consider in the weeks or months following their divorce. Rather than having the children come to the parents, the parents come to the children. One parent will keep the family home and the kids will continue to live there full-time and each parent will stay at the house when it is his or her scheduled time with the children.

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Kane County divorce lawyerAlthough it would be nice if all divorces were amicable, that is rarely the case. Even if a couple mutually decides to end their marriage, they may disagree on many of the marital issues that need to be resolved when divorcing. Some typical points of contention include dividing assets or property, determining spousal support, and creating a parenting time schedule. When children are involved, it can be hard for parents to reach common ground, especially for the allocation of parental responsibilities. Child custody disputes during the divorce process can cause both parents and children to feel anxiety and guilt. In some situations, it may be necessary to seek the professional opinions of subject matter experts in addition to a skilled divorce attorney to come to a resolution.   

How Can a Professional Evaluation Help?

When determining which parent will be awarded the majority of the parenting time, the court will consider what is in the best interest of the children when making any decisions. A judge may order one or both parents to undergo a mental health evaluation. This is often the case when one parent is worried that the other parent may pose a risk to their children due to a mental illness, substance abuse problem, or similar psychological issues. The judge then uses the findings to determine whether one parent is better equipped to care for the children. In certain cases, the results can affect parenting time rights. 

A psychologist or a licensed clinical social worker can conduct an evaluation using different personality tests and interviews. He or she then submits recommendations to help the court decide what would be best for the children’s emotional well-being. This third-party evaluation will address the developmental needs of the children and the capacity of each parent to meet those needs. He or she will consider several factors regarding the parents, including: 

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St. Charles family law attorneysParenting children under the same roof can be challenging in and of itself, but parenting them from separate homes almost always requires an even greater amount of effort. Yet, studies have consistently shown that children usually fare best in a divorce if they have the continued support of both parents. Illinois’ family laws encourage parents to work together in meeting the mental, emotional, and financial needs of their kids during and after their divorce. Most often, this goal is met through the drafting of a parenting plan, which contains two major components: the allocation of parental responsibilities (formerly known as child custody) and parenting time (previously referred to as visitation). 

Allocation of Parental Responsibilities 

Throughout the course of a normal day, parents make multiple decisions about their children’s lives and future. While most decisions are relatively minor and require no prior “clearance” or approval from the other parent, there are certain aspects of their kids’ well-being that are considered “protected.” Examples include choices regarding education and religion. Parents also have certain legal obligations to their children, such as ensuring that the children’s medical needs are met. These issues are covered under the allocation of parental responsibilities. 

Under the Illinois Marriage and Marriage Dissolution Act (IMDMA), the law seeks to ease the often difficult transition related to the division of parental rights and responsibilities, including the decision-making authority between the parents in addition to where the children will live. In handling these sections of their parenting plan, some divorcing parents may reach an agreement easily. However, they must also figure out how disagreements will be handled, should they arise in the future. 

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Kane County family law attorneyChild custody is usually an issue between the two parents of the child. However, there are some cases in which a grandparent is considered for custody of the child(ren). In Illinois, custody disputes that are taken into family court are settled based on what is in the child’s best interests. If the judge finds that neither parent is suitable to take custody of a minor, he or she can allocate parental responsibilities to the grandparents.

Cases of this nature sometimes can be found in single-parent households where the sole parent is shirking—or unable to fulfill—their responsibilities for whatever reason. Some divorce cases have also ended with grandparents stepping into the parental role. It all depends on the capability of the parents.

Factors that are taken into consideration when determining child placement include:

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