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Naperville family law attorneysWhen parents get divorced and wish to share custody of their child in Illinois, they are expected by the court to create a parenting plan. This plan outlines how parental responsibilities will be shared as well as how decisions about the child’s upbringing will be made after the divorce is finalized. There are certain elements of a parenting plan that are required under Illinois laws, but many experts suggest including other aspects of childrearing in the plan as well.

If you are considering a divorce, it is a good idea to learn about what you must include in a parenting plan. A qualified family law attorney can help you make your parenting plan the foundation of a healthy co-parenting relationship.

Requirements for Illinois Parenting Plan

At a minimum, a parenting plan in Illinois must include:

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Naperville family law attorneysThe concept of having a marriage annulled is one that is shrouded in confusion. Many people do not understand when annulment is a possible, or they assume that anyone can have their marriage annulled. In Illinois, an annulment is called a “Declaration of Invalidity of Marriage.” There are strict rules which dictate when a person can get their marriage invalidated, and only a small percentage of individuals qualify for annulment. Read on to learn about the annulment laws in Illinois as well as what to do if you need to end your marriage.

The Difference Between Annulment and Divorce

When a person gets a divorce, their marriage is ended. However, annulment does not end a marriage, it actually nullifies the marriage entirely. A couple who has had their marriage annulled makes it so that it is if the marriage never happened at all. In the eyes of the law, an annulled marriage never took place.

In some faiths, divorce is frowned upon or disallowed entirely. Because of this, some churches and other religious organizations offer annulments for individuals who do not wish to be married. It is important to note that there is a huge difference between legal annulment and religious annulment. Although a religious annulment can have great personal and cultural significance, getting your marriage annulled through the church does not legally annul the marriage. 

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Naperville family law attorneyWhen parents get divorced or unmarried parents have a child together, there are often disagreements regarding issues of child custody and visitation. In Illinois, child custody is called the “allocation of parental responsibilities” and visitation is called “parenting time.” If you and your former spouse or partner have disputes about parenting time or parental responsibilities, you may require court intervention to help solve these problems. Illinois family court judges sometimes appoint a specially-trained attorney to help when parents have disputes regarding children. Typically, the attorney serves in one of three roles: child representative, attorney for the child, or guardian ad litem. Read on to learn more about the most common of these specially-trained attorneys, a guardian ad litem.

What Is the Purpose of a Guardian ad Litem?

Courts generally appoint a guardian ad litem (GAL) to represent the interests of a child, infant, unborn child, or other person who cannot advocate for themselves. The job of a GAL in a child custody case is to protect the legal rights of the child or children involved in the dispute. He or she will investigate the lives of each parent and anyone else relevant to the case. This may include interviewing parents and other parties, as well as visiting the child’s home and school and reviewing relevant documents. The GAL will then use this information to make a recommendation to the court about what he or she thinks is the best course of action moving forward.

Does the Court Have to Follow the Guardian ad Litem’s Recommendation?

Not just anyone can be appointed to act as guardian ad litem in a child custody case. An attorney acting as a GAL must have special training and education. Because of this, the information presented by the GAL is considered expert witness testimony. Although the court is not required to follow the recommendation presented by the GAL, this recommendation carries significant weight. Each party will have an opportunity to cross-examine the GAL about his or her findings in court.

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