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DuPage County family law attorneysWhen it becomes evident that you are headed for divorce, it is important to start planning for the process. You will need to have a good understanding of your current financial situation and what constitutes your ideal post-divorce scenario. Depending upon the circumstances of your relationship with your spouse, you may be able to begin negotiating the terms of your divorce agreement. At first, of course, such discussions would need to be relatively informal, but you and your spouse can at least start talking about the future. The conversation is even more important if you have a child or children together, so that you can both better understand the role you are to play in your child’s upbringing.

Determine a Primary Residence

Among your first child-related concerns should be which parent will assume responsibility for a majority of the parenting time. This is an important consideration in determining where the child will attend school. The parent who does not have the majority of the parenting time will most likely be responsible for paying child support. Just because one of you has less parenting time than the other is not considered to be a reflection on your parental rights; rather it is more of a logistical determination.

Significant Decision-Making

You and your spouse will also need to discuss how you will make significant decisions regarding your child’s life. You may agree to cooperate and make each decision together, or you may determine that each of you should have separate but complementary responsibilities for decisions about your child’s education, medical care, or religious training. You and your spouse may have particular areas of strength or strong feelings about a specific area of your child’s life that make one of you better equipped to handle related decisions.

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Naperville family law attorneysIf you are a parent who is considering divorce, you are probably worried about how the divorce will affect your children. While having divorced parents is not unusual these days, the transition from a one-house family to a two-house family can be rough on children. There is no perfect way to share custody of children as divorced parents. Some divorced parents choose to stay highly involved in each other’s lives and even take family vacations all together after the divorce. Other divorced parents choose to lead completely separate lives and only communicate when absolutely necessary. Your personal co-parenting strategy will depend on your unique circumstances and what you believe is best for your children.

Create a Detailed Parenting Agreement

Anyone getting divorced in Illinois who wishes to share parental responsibility with their child’s other parent must create a parenting agreement. Illinois law requires that certain items be included in this agreement. For example, parents must include a schedule for sharing parenting time (formerly called visitation) and parental responsibility (custody) as well as provisions for how the children will be transported between the households. Of course, there is no need to only include the minimum requirements in your parenting agreement. In fact, being more detailed and including agreements specific to your family is a great way to make sure you and your soon-to-be-ex spouse are on the same page. Including these agreements in writing helps ensure that they are followed by all parties after the divorce.

Vow Not to Put Children in the Middle

It can be incredibly stressful for children to have to play “messenger” for their parents. While it can be tempting to use your child as a means of checking up on the other parent, experts warn against this. Do not ask your children to relay messages to the other parent. Also, try not to speak negatively about the decisions your child’s other parent is making. This can make the child feel like he or she has to choose sides, which can be very upsetting. In extreme cases, talking negatively about your child’s other parent can be considered “parental alienation.” Parents who purposely tear down their child’s relationship with the other parent can have their own parental responsibilities limited by Illinois courts.

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Naperville Divorce Lawyer

In creating a divorce agreement, all parental decisions are based upon the parenting plan established through negotiation, mediation, or by a judge. A parenting plan is a document which determines the specifics of parental responsibility. Regardless of its origination, once a divorce decree is approved, its provisions become legally enforceable. 

This legal document protects your parenting rights in the present and in the future, should your ex-spouse choose not to cooperate at any point. Additionally, the plan establishes distinct guidelines to prevent disputes. When in doubt, you are always able to refer to the plan.

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