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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 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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b2ap3_thumbnail_prison-jail-cells-corridor-correctional-facility.jpgChildren across the United States have a parent who is in jail or prison. When a parent who is unmarried or divorced is convicted of a crime, there may be implications for child custody and child support. Illinois family courts always make child custody decisions based on the best interests of the child. If the parent has been arrested for a domestic violence-related crime, it is possible that they will not be awarded any parental responsibility or parenting time or that their parental responsibility will be reduced.

Parenting Time and Allocation of Parental Responsibility Orders

There are many different things which can happen when a parent of a child is incarcerated. If the parent required to serve time is the parent with the majority of parental responsibility, sometimes called the custodial parent, then the most immediate concern is who the child will live with. If the other parent is involved in the life of the child and is not found to be unfit, they will likely be able to assume the main parenting role. If the child’s other parent is unable to fulfill this role, however, the child may be placed with a relative or guardian. Such a change may require modifying the existing parenting time and responsibility allocation arrangement through the court.

Sometimes, Illinois courts will enlist the help of a guardian ad litem or child representative in child custody cases. These court-appointed attorneys have the power to act as the child’s advocate. They may meet with various family members or potential guardians in order to help determine the course of action that is in the child’s best interests.

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