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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IL custody lawyerWhen you are a parent, getting a divorce does not only affect you and your spouse, it can also have a dramatic impact on your child. If your child has an intellectual or physical disability, you may wonder how you can minimize your child’s stress during this difficult transition. You may have concerns about the emotional effects the divorce will have on your child as well as the logistical and financial issues you will need to address. Although there is no perfect way to handle divorce as a parent of a child with disabilities, there are several steps you can take that may lessen the strain experienced by the whole family.

Minimize the Contentiousness Between You and Your Spouse

Numerous studies have shown that children are very sensitive to parental tension and hostility. One of the best things you can do for your child is to make your divorce as cooperative and respectful as possible. Many parents find that family law mediation allows them to resolve divorce issues such as property division and parental responsibilities without going through a stressful and contentious court trial. During mediation, you and your spouse will meet with a skilled mediator who helps keep discussions focused on solutions rather than accusations, blame, or irrelevant subjects.

Keep Your Child’s Routines as Normal as Possible

Whether your child has a physical disability or an intellectual disability like autism, one thing you can do to lessen the negative impact of divorce on him or her is to keep established routines and schedules the same. Your child’s life is about to change in countless different ways. One way to give him or her a sense of security is to keep morning routines, bedtime, mealtimes, and household rules as consistent as possible. You may be tempted to relax the rules or spoil your child during this tumultuous period in his or her life, but experts say that doing this may actually worsen your child’s stress.

Plan for Your Child’s Financial Future

Disabled children may need specific medical equipment, physical therapy, mental health counseling, and other specialized medical care. The costs of these special needs can certainly add up and will need to be addressed during your divorce. Typically, the parent with the majority of the parenting time receives child support from the noncustodial parent until the child reaches adulthood. Fortunately, Illinois allows children with disabilities to continue receiving child support even after they have turned 18 and/or graduated high school. This financial support may go to the child, the parent with whom the child lives, the facility in which the child lives, or into a special needs trust.

Contact a Kane County Divorce Lawyer

Having a child with special needs can complicate the already complex process of ending a marriage. For help with questions or concerns related to child custody, child support, property division, and much more, contact Shaw Family Law, P.C. Call our office today at 630-584-5550 and schedule a confidential consultation with one of our skilled St. Charles divorce attorneys to discuss your needs.

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IL divorce lawyerIn 2016, significant changes were made to the way Illinois law handles a parent’s ability to move with a child. Before this update, a custodial parent, meaning a parent with the majority of the parenting time, could move anywhere in the state of Illinois without the other parent’s approval or permission from the court. However, out-of-state moves required court approval even if the move was only 20 or 30 miles away. Now, parents must seek permission from the other parent and/or the court for all moves that are a significant distance away. If you are a parent who wishes to move with your child and you currently share custody with your child’s other parent, there are several requirements you should be aware of.

Defining Relocation

If a parent moves only a short distance away from his or her current residence, this is not considered a relocation. Although the parent will still need to provide written notice to the other parent including the moving date and new address, he or she will not need court approval to move. However, if a move fits the criteria for a “relocation” as set forth in Illinois law, then the parent will need to take additional steps to gain court approval. A relocation is defined as a move that involves:

  • A parent living in Cook County, DuPage County, Lake County, Kane County, Will County, or McHenry County who wishes to move to a new residence in Illinois that is more than 25 miles away
  • A parent living in another Illinois county who wishes to move to a new residence in the state of Illinois that is more than 50 miles away
  • A parent living in Illinois who wishes to move out of state and at least 25 miles away

Obtaining Court Approval for a Relocation

You will need to obtain court approval to move if:

  • You have the majority of parenting time or you are in a shared parenting situation in which each parent has the child for more than 146 nights a year AND
  • The move fits the definition of a “relocation,” according to Illinois law

If the other parent agrees to the relocation and the court does not see any way in which the relocation would harm the child, the court will typically approve the move. However, if the other parent objects to the move, the court will need to evaluate several factors to determine whether or not to grant the relocation. These factors include the reasons for the relocation, the other parent’s reasons for objecting to the relocation, the educational opportunities available to the child at each location, the child’s wishes, and more.

Contact an Illinois Parent Relocation Lawyer

Parents in a co-parenting relationship who have the majority or an equal amount of parenting time must seek court approval for certain moves. Whether you are the parent who wishes to relocate or you object to your child’s other parent moving away with your child, Shaw Family Law, P.C. is here to help. Schedule a free consultation with a skilled St. Charles family law attorney to discuss your concerns by calling us at 630-584-5550 today.

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