IL family lawyerDivorced and unmarried parents in Illinois are required to submit a parenting plan, or parenting agreement, to the court. The plan describes how the parents will allocate parental responsibilities and share parenting time. A shared parenting arrangement can leave one parent with significantly less parenting time than he or she would prefer. If you are looking for ways to increase your parenting time, one way to do so may be through the “right of first refusal.”

Understanding Your Right to Enjoy Additional Parenting Time

The right of first refusal refers to a parent’s right to gain additional parenting time when the parent who is assigned parenting time cannot fulfill this commitment. Consider the following example: A father is assigned parenting time, formerly called visitation, every other weekend. He misses his children and wishes he could spend more time with them. On one of the weekends that the children’s mother is assigned parenting time, she must leave town for a work obligation. Because the parents included directions about the right of first refusal in their parenting plan, the mother is required to notify the father about her work trip and give him the opportunity to care for the children during her absence. If the father cannot take on the additional parenting time, then the mother is permitted to find a third-party such as a babysitter or grandparent to care for the children.

Deciding How The Right of First Refusal Will Apply

Parents will need to decide how the right of first refusal will apply to their particular situation and include this information in their parenting plan. Parents should consider:

  • How long a parent’s absence must be in order for the right of first refusal to apply
  • How much advance notice the parent who is originally assigned parenting time should give the other parent if he or she will be absent
  • The amount of time that the other parent has to accept or refuse the additional parenting time
  • Transportation arrangements for the children

It is not always easy for parents to reach an agreement about the right of first refusal or the other terms of their parenting plan. Many parents find that mediation and guidance from an experienced child custody attorney are extremely helpful during the creation of a parenting plan.

Contact a St. Charles Child Custody Lawyer

Illinois parents who are planning to divorce will need to create a parenting plan that describes each parent’s child-related rights and responsibilities. If parents cannot reach an agreement about these issues, the court may need to intervene. For help negotiating the terms of your parenting plan and zealous representation during court proceedings, contact Shaw Family Law, P.C. Schedule a free, confidential consultation with a Kane County family law attorney from our firm by calling us at 630-584-5550 today.

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IL family lawyerIf you are getting divorced or you are an unmarried parent, you may have questions about how child custody, called the allocation of parental responsibilities in Illinois, is handled. You have probably seen phrases such as, “The court will determine a parenting time schedule that is in the child’s best interests.” You may have wondered what the phrase “best interests” actually means in this context.

Determining What is in a Child’s Best Interests

When a married couple with children gets divorced or an unmarried couple has a child together, they have the option of creating their own arrangement for parenting time and parental responsibilities. Parents who need help negotiating a parenting plan may benefit from the help of a qualified mediator. However, even with mediation, coming to an agreement about the allocation of parental responsibilities is not possible for some parents. In cases like this, the court will consider a number of factors to determine a parenting arrangement that is in the child’s best interests. These factors include but are not limited to:

  • Each parent’s wishes regarding custody
  • The mental and physical health of the parents
  • The wishes of the child if he or she is old enough to express these wishes
  • The relationship the child has with his or her parents, siblings, and any other individuals who may affect his or her best interests
  • Each parent’s ability to facilitate a good relationship between the child and the other parent
  • The child’s adjustment to his or her home, school, and neighborhood
  • Any domestic violence or abuse that has occurred and
  • Whether or not either of the parents is a sex offender

Unless there has been ongoing abuse as defined in the Illinois Domestic Violence Act of 1986, Illinois courts typically assume that it is in the child’s best interests to have both of his or her parents highly involved in his or her life.

Contact an Aurora Child Custody Lawyer

When parents cannot agree on child custody issues, the court will decide for them. The parents’ wishes, the wishes of the child, any history of abuse, the health of the parents, and many other factors are considered by Illinois courts when making child custody determinations. If you are in a custody dispute, contact Shaw Family Law, P.C. for help. Schedule a free consultation with a proficient Kane County family law attorney by calling us at 630-584-5550.

 

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IL custody lawyerA child’s well-being should be the top priority for parents going through a divorce. They should want their child to have everything they need throughout the stages of their life. However, often one parent can be substandard in their compliance with the parenting plan agreed upon with their former partner.

After a while of trying to get a co-parent to show up for visitations, send support payments, or just call to talk to a child, they may give up and choose to have a new partner - the child’s stepparent - adopt the little one.

Stepparents adopting their stepchild is not uncommon especially when a biological parent:

  • Is abusive
  • Is an alcoholic or a drug addict
  • Does not show up to scheduled visitations
  • Does not financially support a child
  • Is convicted of a crime that will see them in prison for a long period of time
  • Abandons their child

Being married to the primary decision-maker of the child can give a step-parent some rights, but they are still limited in their own decision-making because there is no biological relationship to the child. If an adoption occurs, the stepparent can then be included in major life choices for the minor including school plans, financial responsibility, and medical procedures.

Each state has a different process when a step-parent wants to adopt a stepchild. Also, each case is sensitive to each particular family since everyone has a different situation they are living through. The state of Illinois requires a step-parent to be a resident of the state for six months before filing for adoption. This is because the adoption will go through a family court locally so no one needs to travel for any reason. After that, the process should take three months to complete.

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IL custody lawyerMost of the courts in Illinois require a couple to go through mediation in cases involving allocation of parental responsibilities, visitation, and relocation before going through the court system. Child support will still be determined by the family court judge, however, all other issues can be settled in mediation.

This right is also given to unmarried parents, but there is an extra step that the couple must go through before heading to mediation.

When a couple has a child without being married, paternity cannot be assumed. It must be proven either through a court-ordered paternity test or a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (VAP) form that can be filled out and filed at the time of a child’s birth.

If a father claims the child and all the proper paperwork is filed, the couple can go through a mediator to determine the allocation of parental responsibilities including:

  • Where the child will live and with which parent
  • How much time a child can visit with their non-custodial parent
  • Where the child will attend school
  • Who will be the child’s primary decision-maker on issues of health and religion

Child Support Determination

While some states allow parents to come to an agreed-upon amount for child support payments, Illinois requires that parental partners must have their payments determined by the court system.

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IL divorce lawyerIllinois law went through a change in 2016 in regards to parents relocating with their child after going through a divorce. Prior to the law change, the parent with physical custody of the child was allowed to move within the state whenever they wished.

According to the new law, a parent must get permission from the court if their relocation is over 25 miles from the current address. In some cases, the 25 miles could take the parent and child over Illinois state limits.

What Is the Process to Petition for Relocation?

The Illinois court system likes to make sure that a child is able to see both parents after a divorce takes place. If one parent moves out of state, the other may not get as much of a chance to bond with their child and a parenting plan can become difficult to maintain.

A lot of relocation cases can be handled civilly with both parents agreeing to the relocation and signing the necessary paperwork to avoid court. However, if the non-custodial parent feels like their time with their children are in jeopardy, they can refuse to sign the paperwork. This would lead the primary parent to file a petition for relocation to family court.

The parent looking to relocate would need to bring their written petition to the court a minimum of 60 days before the planned relocation. The petition must include:

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