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Arlington Heights family law attorney sole child custodyWhen parents break up, decisions about who children will live with can often lead to highly contentious disputes. While a court is more likely to recommend joint, or shared, child custody, it is not impossible for a parent to get sole custody in the right circumstances. 

Shared vs. Sole Custody

In Illinois, custody is referred to as allocation of parental responsibility. When a parent has sole custody, the child is his or her total responsibility, and the parent will have the right to make decisions about the child’s education, medical care, religious training, and extracurricular activities. The other parent may be granted visitation rights (known as parenting time under Illinois law). 

Shared custody means that both parents will share in making decisions about how the child is raised, and the child will typically divide his or her time between parents. This split is rarely 50/50, but even if one parent has the majority of the parenting time, the parents will share responsibility for the child’s upbringing.

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Palatine divorce attorney parenting planEveryone knows that divorce is hard on all of those who are involved - especially the kids. Even if you try to keep them out of the fighting and the negotiations, you may not realize how much your children actually pick up on. They can sense when there is tension between their parents, but they often do not know what to do about it, and this can cause them a great deal of stress. One way that divorced parents may be able to help their children cope with the changes to their lives is by using a unique co-parenting arrangement called “nesting.”

What Is a Nesting Arrangement?

This type of co-parenting agreement occurs when a divorced couple keeps the family home, and the children reside there 100 percent of the time--it is the parents who come and go. A separate living space, such as an apartment, is rented so the parents have somewhere to go when the other parent is at the house with the children. Or, in some cases, each parent will have their own living space to go to. This type of arrangement puts the focus on making the children comfortable with the parents’ divorce and alleviating the stress that children feel when they are constantly hauled back and forth between residences.

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Barrington divorce lawyer parenting planDivorcing with children can be difficult. Their living arrangements will change drastically, and this change can be hard on them. Children thrive off of predictability and routine, which is why it is important that you establish a parenting plan prior to finalizing your divorce. Even if things are friendly now, and you and your spouse agree on the parenting situation, having a plan in writing can save you unwanted costs and headaches later.

How Will Parental Responsibility and Parenting Time Be Allocated?

One of the first things you need to determine in your parenting plan is how parental responsibility will be shared and parenting time will be divided between you and your ex-spouse. There are a few different types of parenting arrangements that are common:

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Palatine child custody lawyerA new and increasingly popular trend for child custody arrangements after a divorce is co-parenting, in which both the mother and father play an active role in their child’s life, even though they are no longer together. This ensures that children can still have close relationships with both of their parents after divorce. Joint custody arrangements can be exhausting and riddled with stress, but co-parenting arrangements can benefit children greatly. These tips can help you become a great co-parent after divorce:

Aim For Consistency

Divorce can affect children just as much as it affects adults. Now that both parents are not around at the same time, and the child may be moving from household to household, consistency is key for raising your children. You should try to maintain the same rules, expectations, disciplines, and schedules in both parents’ homes to avoid confusion. Rules about homework, curfews, and things the child is and is not allowed to do should be kept the same, along with the consequences for breaking those rules.

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Schaumburg divorce attorney equal parenting timeIn today’s families, parents often function as equal partners when raising their children, and both mothers and fathers are highly involved in decision-making and day-to-day care. Close relationships with their parents are beneficial for children, and these relationships should continue even if parents decide to end their marriage through divorce. 

In recent years, the divorce laws in Illinois have been updated to reflect the nature of modern parenting. The presumption that one parent will have custody of children has been replaced with the allocation of parental responsibility between parents, and rather than granting temporary visitation for a non-custodial parent, each parent will have parenting time with their children. 

Some advocates are pushing for additional changes to the law that they believe would protect parents’ rights. Currently, the Illinois House of Representatives is considering a bill which would change divorce laws to presume that it is in children’s best interests to have equal amounts of parenting time with both parents.

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