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Arlington Heights grandparents' rights and visitation attorney

A marriage often turns two families into one. This is especially true when a couple has children. New babies gather people together, and children may develop close bonds with aunts, uncles, or grandparents as they get older. When a divorce happens, relationships between extended family members can become awkward. However, children and relatives may want to maintain their relationships, and grandparents and other family members will want to be sure to understand their rights after a divorce. For parents, time spent with children is outlined in a parenting plan. Instead of “custody” and “visitation,” Illinois law refers to these as “parental responsibility” and “parenting time” respectfully. In Illinois, although the rights of parents come first, a grandparent may have the right to non-parental visitation with a child depending on the circumstances. This extends to great-grandparents, siblings, and stepparents as well. 

When Will a Judge Approve Non-Parental Visitation?

Non-parent family members may file for a petition for visitation after a child turns 12 months old. In cases involving divorced parents, at least one parent must typically approve of the request for visitation. A judge may grant visitation if one of the parents has died or if a parent is absent due to circumstances such as serving time in prison. Like all other family law decisions, the best interests of the child is the most important factor considered by a judge. 

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Palatine divorce parenting plan attorney

Many people celebrate Christmas and New Year’s with different festivities. Children especially look forward to the holiday season for many reasons. After a divorce, there can be uncertainty about how winter holidays will be orchestrated for both children and parents. This can be resolved with a set schedule for parenting time. It is important to remember that every family is different, and it is still possible to enjoy whatever holidays you celebrate after a divorce. How and when you observe them might change, but the sentiment of togetherness can remain the same. 

How Many Families Go Through Divorce?

Statistics show that half of all children in the United States will experience their parents getting a divorce. Half of those children will experience a second divorce, and 10 percent of all children who have seen one divorce will go through three or more. A divorce can have a significant impact on children, regardless of their age. These feelings may be exacerbated during important times in their lives like family holidays and birthdays. Although a parenting plan will create the logistics of how holidays will be spent as a divorced family, there are emotional aspects that may take years to figure out. The following tips will help you, your ex, and your kids spend a pleasant holiday as a divorced family. 

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Barrington divorce and parental relocation attorney

Whether for personal or professional reasons, people can move down the block or across the world. Many individuals have the freedom to do this at any time, but after a divorce when two parents share the responsibility for a child, this privilege may be restricted. Studies show that up to a quarter of custodial parents move away from the area where they lived as a married couple within two years of their divorce. When a parent considers moving after a divorce, some stipulations must be met to protect the rights of their child and the other parent. 

Parental Relocation Rights in Illinois

In Illinois, the term “child custody” is now referred to as the “allocation of parental responsibilities,” and parents will both have "parenting time" with their children. While the law no longer refers to a "custodial parent," a parent who has the majority of the parenting time or shares equal parenting time may be required to obtain approval before moving to a new home with their child. For a parent living in Cook County, he or she can move with the child up to 25 miles without needing approval from the court. This distance limit applies across state boundaries. DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, and Will Counties follow the 25-mile rule as well, but for all other counties in Illinois, a custodial parent may move up to 50 miles from his or her original home. 

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Palatine parenting plan attorney

Before a divorce, most parents care for their children together under one roof. Once a divorce is finalized, parents will need to continue providing the same level of care for children while living in separate households. This can be a difficult adjustment for parents, especially if there is bad blood between them. The goal for successful co-parenting is for a child to be minimally affected by a divorce, and a parenting plan can help achieve that. 

What Is a Parenting Plan?

In Illinois, when adults with children get divorced, how the child is taken care of after the split is determined by a parenting plan. This plan is a court order signed by a judge, to which both parents agree. The parenting plan dictates who has parental responsibilities for the child (custody), as well as parenting time with the child (visitation). For example, a parenting plan may state that the child will spend the weekdays with one parent, and the weekends with the other. No matter how it is organized, a judge will only sign off on the plan if it is believed to be in the best interests of the child. 

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Schaumburg divorce lawyer

When getting a divorce, one of the biggest concerns is how decisions regarding children will be made between the former spouses. In Illinois, this is called parental responsibility, which dictates the important aspects of a child’s life. Decisions about medical care, education, and religion are made by the parents, who share this responsibility. Decisions about a child’s care are made through what is called a parenting plan. 

What is a Parenting Plan?

A parenting plan is a court order that decides which parent sees the child and when, and how they are cared for. Although the time spent with both parents is rarely an exact 50/50 split, in most cases, the court will decide that the child will benefit the most from seeing both parents regularly. In lieu of “visitation” in Illinois, the term used is “parenting time,” which is defined as time performing parental duties and care. 

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Posted on in Divorce

Schaumburg family lawyer

When children are young, birthday parties are a way to make them feel special, with family and friends in attendance. However, after a divorce, celebrating a child’s birthday may feel like a complicated and daunting task. Your child deserves to have a great day, but seeing your ex-spouse and being reminded of your divorce may not be the best situation for everyone involved. You may also feel increased pressure to make things perfect for your child, especially if you are recently divorced.

To start, your parenting plan may have all the answers. You might have communicated what to do for family birthdays in your divorce agreement. A parenting plan dictates which parent a child spends time with and when. Maybe that was a while ago, and things have changed, or it was not included at all. 

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Schaumburg Parenting Plan Lawyer

With New Year’s and the holiday season now in the rearview mirror, children will soon go back to school. Winter break is a great time to enjoy days with your children and celebrate together. With your child being off from school for multiple weeks, hopefully your parenting plan worked sufficiently for you and your ex-spouse as you navigated the packed schedule. 

Parenting plans should be formulated during the initial divorce process. They detail when a child gets to spend time with each parent and provide instructions for situations like extracurricular activities, holidays, and day-to-day life, such as exchanges of parenting time and a child's educational needs.

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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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Schaumburg divorce attorney, parenting time, shared parenting law, allocation of parental responsibilities, child custodyWhen parents decide to divorce, the ensuing changes to their lives can be highly disruptive and stressful for the entire family. As children adjust to living in two separate households, it is important for both parents to be involved in their lives and provide them with the emotional support they need. Unfortunately, this can be difficult when one parent retains sole or primary custody of children.

Studies Show the Benefits of Equal Parenting Time

For many years, it was assumed that it was in children’s best interests to live primarily with one parent, and that dividing time between two households would cause them stress. However, a number of recent studies have found the opposite to be true. Researchers in Sweden found that children in shared parenting arrangements had less stress, fewer psychological problems, and better physical health than children who lived primarily with one parent.

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Schaumburg divorce lawyer, divorced parent, holidays and divorce, parenting plan, parenting timeThe holiday season can be a magical time, offering chances for families to come together, give gifts, celebrate traditions, and be thankful for everything they have. Unfortunately, this can make the season difficult for parents who have recently experienced divorce, since they will likely be coping with loneliness, struggling with change, and remembering the good times they had with their families in the past.

While the season can be emotionally challenging, divorced parents can make the most of the holidays by following these tips:

  1. Understand your parenting plan - Your final divorce decree will include a schedule for parenting time, not just describing which parent children will spend time with on an everyday basis, but specifying how holidays and school vacations will be divided between parents. Knowing what your parenting plan says will help you avoid any conflicts with your ex-spouse with regard to whom children will be spending holiday time.

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