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Naperville child custody attorneysIf you are a parent who is considering ending your marriage, you probably have many concerns related to your children. You may worry about how you children will take the news of the divorce or how you and your spouse will share custody of the children after the split. If you and your soon-to-be-ex spouse plan to have joint custody of your children, you will need to learn how to share parental responsibilities in a way that prioritizes your children’s best interests. It can take hard work and humility, but the good news is that effective co-parenting after divorce is possible.

There Is Not Just One “Right” Way to Co-Parent

Just as every marriage is unique, every divorce is unique. Sometimes, a married couple breaks up and there are almost no feelings of bitterness or hostility between the former spouses. Other times, a divorce is wrought with conflict and spite. The way you co-parent will largely be determined by the relationship you have with your children’s other parent. If you and the other parent are able to easily communicate about child-related plans and concerns, you may be able to have a more casual co-parenting arrangement. However, if you and your children’s other parent struggle with productive communication, you may want to make firm parenting plans and decisions in advance.

Divorcing parents in Illinois are required to complete a parenting agreement or parenting plan which addresses how they plan to share parental responsibilities and parenting time. The creation of this agreement can be a valuable opportunity for parents to discuss in detail how they plan to share custody of their children and to put their co-parenting plans in writing.

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Naperville family law attorneyIllinois courts are generally in favor of children having both parents in their lives, if at all possible. However, sometimes a parent is simply not an acceptable choice, for any number of reasons, to have any parental responsibilities. In other cases, a parent actively chooses to relinquish their parental rights. If either situation does become reality for you, there is a procedure in place to terminate your former spouse’s parental rights.

Juvenile Court Terminations

If there is evidence that a parent has been involved in criminal activity, the state can initiate proceedings vie the juvenile court system and the Department of Children and Family Services to terminate parental rights. There are very few situations where an Illinois court will terminate parental rights if another person is not standing in to adopt the child—terminating a father’s parental rights in favor of an adoptive stepfather, for example—but a pattern of criminal activity or proof of child abuse and/or significant neglect is one.

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DuPage County parenting plan attorneysFor most parents, losing their children is one of their worst nightmares. If it happens as a result of the actions of your former spouse, it can arguably be worse. Most people think of kidnapping or abduction as a drawn-out, premeditated plan that can span international borders, but in Illinois, the definition is much simpler.

Intent Matters

Illinois law defines child abduction as intentionally or knowingly perpetrating a number of acts designed to hide or keep a child from the other parent with a legal right to parenting time. Some of these include:

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