IL family lawyerAfter getting a divorce, you may have many reasons for wanting to move to a new location, including starting a new job, being closer to your family, or simply putting more distance between you and your ex. However, if you have children, you will need to consider their needs as you prepare to move, and your former spouse will most likely also be a factor in your plans. From both a legal and personal standpoint, there are certain things you can do to help the move go more smoothly.

Consider Talking to Your Former Spouse

If your move qualifies as a relocation for legal purposes, which in Kane County usually means moving at least 25 miles away either within Illinois or out of state, you have a legal obligation to notify your children’s other parent in advance and obtain approval for the move. Relocations can be among the most contentious Illinois family law cases, especially if you and your former spouse are not on good terms.

However, if you do get along with your ex, you may be able to make the process much easier if you talk to them about your plans to move well in advance. If they understand your reasons for moving and the benefits for the children, they may consent to the move without the court’s involvement. They may also be willing to work with you to make the necessary modifications to your parenting plan so that you can continue co-parenting effectively while both being able to spend quality time with your children.

Make Arrangements for Your Children

Of course, your children are the most important people to consider when planning for your relocation. Whether your spouse consents to your move or contests it in court, the judge will want to be sure that the move is in your children’s best interests. In part, this means that there will be good opportunities for your children at the new location. You should research the school district for your new home, as well as look into opportunities for your children to continue their favorite extracurricular activities or possibly start new ones. In many cases, the relocating parent is also responsible for managing transportation to ensure the children can maintain a relationship with the other parent, so you may want to start planning your drives or consider booking flights. You should also talk to your children to reassure them about the move. While you may be able to see the benefits, a move is always a huge change for young children, and they may need your help adjusting.

Contact a St. Charles Family Law Attorney

Consulting with an experienced Kane County family lawyer is also a good idea as you prepare for your move. At Shaw Family Law, P.C., we can help you take the necessary steps to obtain approval for your relocation and review your proposed parenting plan modifications. We can also represent you in court if your former spouse tries to prevent the move. Contact us today for a free consultation at 630-584-5550.

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IL family lawyerWhen Illinois parents divorce, they are asked to create a “parenting plan” describing parental responsibilities and parenting time and submit it to the court. If the parents disagree about the terms of the parenting plan and cannot reach a compromise during mediation, the court may decide on the unresolved elements for them. Life is full of unexpected changes, and consequently, there may come a time that a parent needs to alter the terms of the parenting plan. However, parental responsibilities and parenting time arrangements may only be modified in certain circumstances.

When Can Parental Responsibilities Be Modified?

Parental responsibilities refers to a parent’s authority to make major decisions about the child such as where the child will attend school or religious services. Illinois law places a two-year moratorium on parental responsibility modifications in order to promote stability in the child’s life. However, parental responsibilities may be changed before the two-year period if:

  • Both parents agree on the modification and the court finds the modification to be in the child’s best interests.
  • The parents agree to waive the two-year moratorium.
  • Each parent has requested a modification.
  • One of the parents cohabitates with a sex offender.
  • The current circumstances endanger the child’s mental, emotional, or physical wellbeing.

If it has been more than two years since the establishment of the parenting plan, the allocation of parental responsibilities may be modified if there is a “substantial change in circumstances” and the modification is in the child’s best interests. If the parents have been following a different arrangement for over six months, they may modify the parenting plan to reflect the arrangement that they have been following.

When Can the Parenting Time Schedule Be Changed?

The parenting time schedule may be altered at any time if there is a change in circumstances that necessitates the modification and the modification is in the child’s best interest. For example, if a parent’s work schedule changes, the parents may need to switch the days that each parent is responsible for the child. A parent’s relocation is automatically considered a change in circumstances. Parents may also modify the parenting plan to reflect a new parenting schedule if the parents have followed a parenting schedule for at least six months and wish to make this schedule official.

Contact a St. Charles Parenting Plan Lawyer

Child custody concerns are rarely straightforward. If you need to create a parenting plan, modify your parenting plan, or you have other child custody concerns, contact a Kane County child custody attorney at Shaw Family Law, P.C. Call us at 630-584-5550 for a free consultation.

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IL family lawyerUnderstandably, most parents have strong opinions about divorce issues involving their children. Child custody disputes are often one of the hardest types of family law disputes to resolve. Parents may disagree on where the child should attend school, the child’s religious upbringing, which parent should have the majority of the parenting time, and countless other issues. Sadly, it is often the children themselves that suffer the most during child-related disputes in a divorce. If you are a parent involved in a child custody dispute, one option you may want to consider is family law mediation.

Advantages of Reaching An Agreement on Parenting Issues Through Mediation

Parents have 120 days after filing for divorce to submit a parenting plan to the court. Family law mediation may help you and your spouse reach an agreement about the elements of your parenting plan. There are several advantages to using mediation to resolve child custody issues, including:

  • The mediator’s job is to help you reach an agreement. Family law mediators receive training in conflict resolution and effective communication strategies. They are skilled at helping spouses stay focused on the issues at hand and work toward a mutually-agreeable solution. Mediators do not tell you how to resolve your issue or choose one participant’s side over the other. Instead, they help facilitate constructive conversations and negotiations so that you can reach your own conclusion.
  • Mediation may keep you out of court. Divorcing parents are expected to create a parenting plan that describes how they intend to handle a wide range of parenting issues. If they cannot reach an agreement, the case may go to litigation. Any type of legal proceeding can be a stressful experience. However, child custody litigation is often particularly taxing – on the adults and the children.
  • Mediation is confidential. Unlike a public child custody hearing, the mediation process is private.
  • Mediation can help reduce the chances of future child custody conflicts. Parents are typically more likely to follow a parenting plan that they helped create than one that is handed down by the court through an allocation judgment.
  • Mediation may have a positive effect on your co-parenting relationship. During mediation, you may learn communication skills and conflict-avoidance techniques that you can utilize during your post-divorce co-parenting relationship.

Contact a St. Charles Child Custody Lawyer

The team at Shaw Family Law, P.C. are highly experienced in family law mediation. Illinois divorce attorney Matt Shaw is a certified family law mediator. Our team can help you decide if mediation is right for you and work with you to resolve your child custody dispute in a way that reduces the stress on you and your child. Call 630-584-5550 for a free, confidential consultation.

 

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IL custody lawyerIn Illinois, parents who divorce must create a “parenting plan” that describes each parent’s rights and responsibilities. If the parents cannot reach an agreement about the provisions in the parenting plan, the court will hear arguments from both sides and then issue a parenting plan based on what the court thinks is in the child’s best interests. If your ex is not following your parenting plan, you may be frustrated and annoyed. You may wonder what you can do to make your spouse comply with the terms set forth in the plan.

Do the Other Parent’s Actions Constitute a Violation of the Parenting Plan?

Divorced couples who share custody of children have the unenviable responsibility of remaining in each other’s lives for the sake of their children. Your ex may forget about responsibilities, drop off children late, or make other mistakes that lead to unnecessary frustrations in your life. While this can certainly be annoying, not every mistake is considered a violation of the parenting plan. Recently, COVID-19 lockdowns have caused many parents to be unable to carry out some of the responsibilities contained in their parenting agreement. If a parent makes an honest mistake regarding the parenting time schedule or unintentionally disobeys the parenting plan, the best way to deal with the situation may be to talk with him or her about potential solutions. You may consider requesting a modification to your parenting plan and changing the plan so that works better for your unique situation.

Holding a Parent in Contempt of Court for Willful Noncompliance of a Parenting Plan

If your child’s other parent is intentionally disobeying the parenting plan, you may need to take more extreme legal action to correct the problem. Parenting plans are legally binding court orders. A parent may be held in contempt of court for violating a parenting plan. If you have already discussed the problem with your ex and he or she refuses to comply, you may need to file a motion for contempt or a "Parenting Time Abuse" petition. Make sure to keep a detailed record of all of your ex’s parenting plan violations as well as records of your communications with him or her. Evidence such as this will be a crucial component in building your case.

Contact a Kane County Child Custody Lawyer

If your child’s other parent is not following your parenting plan or you have other custody-related questions and concerns, contact a St. Charles family law attorney from Shaw Family Law, P.C. Call our office for a free consultation at 630-584-5550.

 

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IL divorce lawyerTypically, the more complicated a divorce, the longer it will take to resolve. If you and your spouse disagree on the division of marital property and debt, allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time, spousal maintenance, or other divorce terms, it is likely that this will increase the amount of time it takes to finalize the divorce. Complex assets such a family business or certain investments may also increase the duration of the divorce. Fortunately, you may be able to receive temporary relief orders from the court that address immediate concerns during the divorce process.

Temporary Court Orders for Financial Issues and Child Custody Concerns

At the conclusion of a divorce, the divorce decree will describe the terms of the divorce. The decree may contain directions for child support, the division of debt and property, spousal maintenance, and/or child custody which the spouses are expected to follow. However, you may not have to wait until the divorce is finished to receive court orders about these issues. A temporary relief order may address which spouse lives in the marital home during the divorce process, spousal maintenance, marital property, child custody, child support, and health insurance.

When deciding temporary orders for spousal support and child support, courts consider the spouses’ assets, income, and needs and then issue an order that is reasonable based on these circumstances. Temporary orders may be modified if there is a substantial change in circumstances such as a major change in income. Temporary orders expire once the divorce is finalized. The orders contained in the final divorce decree may differ considerably from temporary orders.

Temporary Child Custody Orders Can Influence Final Child Custody Determinations

When married parents decide to get divorced, most decide to live apart during the divorce process. This means that the parents will need to decide how to divide parenting time while the divorce is still ongoing. A temporary order for child custody can do just this. However, it is important to note that a temporary child custody order can have a significant impact on final child custody determinations. Illinois courts are likely to keep a child’s living arrangements similar to what he or she has already become accustomed to.

Contact a St. Charles Divorce Lawyer

Divorce can be a complicated legal process that may take months or even years to resolve. If you are ready to end your marriage, let an experienced Kane County divorce attorney from Shaw Family Law, P.C. help. Call 630-584-5550 today and schedule your free initial consultation.

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