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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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St. Charles family law attorneysThe decision to file for divorce can be one of the most difficult experiences of someone’s life. If a couple has children together, breaking the news to them can be just as heartbreaking. Many spouses who are unhappy stay together just for the sake of their kids. However, remaining in the relationship can do more harm than good. It is important to be honest and open with your children about your marriage ending so they are not blindsided if one parent suddenly moves out of the house. Following are some practical tips for helping you and your children during this major life transition. 

Preparation and Delivery Are Important

It is crucial that you do not tell your children that you and their other parent are getting a divorce until you are absolutely sure that is what you are going to do. The news that their family unit as they have known it is splitting up can be devastating to kids. It is critical that you make it clear to them that this is not their fault; it is a breakdown of the relationship between you and your spouse. The conversation is not going to be easy, but the manner in which you deliver the news can make a difference in your kids’ reactions and set the tone for moving forward.

Here are a few ways that parents can alleviate the stress of an impending divorce on their children: 

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