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IL divorce lawyerThere are various situations in which grandparents take on the parental role for their grandchildren. Sometimes the child’s parents pass away, some are unfit to raise children, while others are simply absent in their children’s lives. While many grandparents will take their grandchildren in as a result of their own child’s neglect or absence, this can be a difficult task for older people to take on. Dreams of travel, spending time with their spouse, or a relaxing retirement can get put on a temporary or permanent hold. Many grandparents willingly adopt their grandchildren but the transition is not always so easy.

Tips for Easing the Transition

  1. Feelings First: Both you and your grandchildren will feel a mix of emotions about the huge life change. You may be feeling a combination of happy and sad feelings: pleased to be able to provide your grandchild with a loving home but upset that your life plan took an unexpected turn. Your grandchild will most likely be experienced similar sentiments. For children, these feelings can often be displayed through aggressive or inappropriate behavior. Talking to your grandchildren about their feelings is the first step towards creating a sense of normalcy. Looking for grandparent support groups is a good way to get a hold on your feelings without taking them out on your grandchild accidentally.

  2. Make Your House Their Home: Children thrive off of stability which can seem impossible to create in the midst of a parental change. However, there are steps that can be taken to help build this new home. Creating a schedule or routine helps form a new sense of normalcy as does setting house rules for the child to abide by. The best way to make your home feel like their home is to give them their own space. Having their own bedroom can make your house feel less temporary, allowing the child to see your home as their home.

  3. Encourage Parental Contact: Many situations make this impossible and sometimes contact with the parents is not in the child’s best interest, but this is not always the case. If the child’s parent is still able to be contacted, it can be advantageous to the child to maintain that relationship, even if the relationship is different than it was before. It is important to avoid showing your grandchild any disappointment or anger that you may have towards their parents. Keeping the child from communicating with their parents can create a sense of resentment towards you, even if you are the one taking care of them day to day.

Contact a Kane County Adoption Attorney for Help

Becoming a parent for a second generation can be difficult physically and emotionally. Some grandparents feel as if they have no other choice while others fight to remove their grandchildren from an unhealthy or unsafe home. At Shaw Family Law, we understand that every family’s situation is unique and deserves the utmost attention to do what is best for the child. If you are considering legally adopting your grandchild, contact a St. Charles, IL adoption attorneys at 630-584-5550 for a free consultation.

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IL divorce lawyerWhen married relationships are no longer working for either spouse, most couples separate for a period of time before seeking out divorce. Most states require a couple’s separation, that is living under separate roofs, for a specific period of time before divorce can be initiated. The purpose of this forced separation is to allow each spouse to see what their life would be like without their significant other in order to decide if this is the best choice for them. While divorce is one of the most common answers if a couple is unhappy in their marriage, legal separation is also a valid response.

Legal Separation

If a couple is considering separation for a long period of time, a written agreement regarding their assets, debt, alimony payments, child custody, and visitation rights is advantageous for both spouses. While living under separate roofs and leading different lives may seem like a good way to move on, without legal documentation both spouses are still on the hook for the other’s finances. This includes debt incurred by either spouse.

Many couples decide to become legally separated for financial reasons as separation can have financial benefits for both parties. Some couples will use a legal separation agreement to reach the 10-year marriage requirement for social security benefits. If a marriage has lasted 10 years, a divorced spouse who has not remarried is eligible to receive such benefits later in life. Continuing under the same health insurance is also another advantage of legal separation. Many businesses will continue covering a separated spouse; however, it is crucial that you check the fine print of your healthcare plan as this is not always a guarantee. Legal separation can also lead to potential benefits when filing taxes. Sometimes couples, or ex-couples, can save money by filing their taxes jointly. This is also not always a guarantee but can be better determined with the help of an attorney.

Divorce

Divorce agreements include much of the same details regarding assets, debt, alimony payments, child custody, and visitation rights, yet all ties between the spouses become severed. Divorce agreements are also immutable. Once the papers are signed by both parties, the marriage is officially done. Divorce is most common because many couples wish to meet someone new after the ending of their marriage. If a couple is legally separated, they cannot get remarried and remain separated. A divorce is required. Many opt for divorce in order to completely disconnect themselves from their spouse and move on from their previous marriage.

Contact a St. Charles, IL Family Lawyer for Help

Divorce is a common result of unhappy marriages everywhere. However, many couples opt for legal separation because of the personal and financial benefits. Simply living in different houses does not qualify as legal separation. Couples must seek out an experienced legal separation attorney to hammer out the details. If you are looking to formulate a legal separation agreement, contact a skilled Kane County legal separation attorney for professional help at 630-584-5550.

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Illinois custody attorneyLife rarely keeps us in one place forever. You might be offered a new job opportunity, get accepted to your dream school, meet a new partner, or face financial and personal conditions that make moving away not just an option, but the ideal course of action for you. Before you had children, decisions like this were easy to make. With children, they are far more challenging. And when you have a parenting plan for your child, moving can require court approval.

Not all proposed moves require court approval. A parent can move across town or within a small radius without getting permission from his or her former partner or the court. It is only when a proposed move is far enough that it would require altering an existing parenting plan that the parent cannot simply pack up and go.

Determine How Far You Can Move without Permission

In Illinois, where a parent currently resides determines how far they can move without his or her former partner’s consent or court approval. For parents in Cook, DuPage, Kane, McHenry, Lake, and Will counties, this limit is 25 miles from their current residence. For parents in all other Illinois counties, the limit if 50 miles. These limits apply to inter and intrastate moves, except for when a move is both out of Illinois and at least 25 miles from the child’s current residence.

Get Your Former Partner’s Consent to the Move

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b2ap3_thumbnail_child-custody.jpgThe parenting agreement you sign at the time of your divorce might not serve your child well until he or she becomes an adult.

A parenting plan is divided into two components: parenting time and parental responsibilities. You can modify one or many items in your parenting plan by filing paperwork with the court to alter it. If you and your former spouse agree to the change, this is an easy process. If you do not agree on the proposed changes, you will have to demonstrate to the court that circumstances in your lives have changed and the proposed new plan is in your child’s best interest.

Your Child’s Needs Change as He or She Grows

When your child is in elementary school, remaining in the same school after your divorce could be in his or her best interest because this means one less disruption. By high school, attending a school that has greater academic resources might be a higher priority, which can mean changing districts. In this case, consider altering your parenting plan so your child attends the school that can serve him or her better.

Changes in a Parent’s Household Impact the Child

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Illinois divorce lawyer, Illinois child custody attorneyThroughout the years and perhaps due to the change in family dynamics in our country, the family law regarding child custody and visitation schedules have undergone significant changes. No longer are we in the ages of the clear cut, laid out in a black-and-white model of care arrangements. Legislators realized that there is no one-size-fits-all model. Instead of joint custody or sole custody division, Illinois has the additional assignment of parental responsibility. Although transitions such as these are beneficial because they allow the courts to mold a solution suitable for each family, terms become increasingly blurred and challenging for someone unfamiliar with the area. It is not uncommon for questions to arise when determining the best outcome for each child.

The Best Interest of the Child

As always, Illinois focuses on the best interest of the child, occasionally even if that is against the guardian's preferences. A judge will take into consideration if someone is unwilling or has a lack of want to care for the child, as well as those who do prefer to look after the child, however other factors play into consideration. By Illinois law, 15 factors influence the determination of parental control, including:

  • The child’s wishes and needs,
  • The child’s adjustment to the home, school, and surrounding community,
  • The mental and physical health of all parties,
  • The relationship of the parents (i.e. contentious, cooperative, etc.)
  • The history each parent has in decision making for the child,
  • Parental wishes,
  • Potential restrictions on decision-making capabilities,
  • Abuse, and
  • Sex offender registrant status.

Parental Responsibilities

Regardless of which parent has physical custody of the child involved, there is a separate matter of who has the decision-making capabilities. There is no legal obligation stating that both parents have an equal right to choose the upbringing of the child. For instance, a judge may determine that the mother can make a decision regarding education whereas the father makes the decision about religion. The major areas in which a judge determines who controls the decision making include:

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Posted on in Mediation

Illinois mediation attorney, Illinois divorce lawyerThe decision to attend mediation to settle your divorce matters is a beneficial one. Couples have the option to discuss their post-divorce arrangements and come to settlement agreements in the presence of a professional mediator, who is trained to minimize conflict and help produce positive results for the entire family. Before you begin the negotiation process, though, it is important to address core issues that will be discussed during mediation. This will help ensure everything runs as smoothly as possible and that you are not caught off-guard when it is time to reach an agreement.

Here are some key areas every couple should discuss in preparation of the mediation process:

Joint Accounts

Whether you share regular checking and savings accounts, vacation funds, or credit cards, it is important to take inventory of all your joint accounts and make sure you have copies of everything. This includes mortgage statements, wills, and trusts. If you are able to civilly discuss money matters with your soon-to-be ex-spouse before mediation, it is helpful to do so, but if that is not an option, gather the financial records for yourself and wait to tackle the subject until your mediation conference.

Other Assets 

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Illinois child custody laws, Illinois child custody attorneyDivorce and separation can be difficult on the entire family, especially when it comes time to address the allocation of parental responsibilities (child custody) and parenting time (visitation), as these issues impact the lives of both parents and children. A new lifestyle is born, and new routines are put into place, forcing everyone to adjust and adapt to many big changes at once.

Unmarried Parents Versus Married Parents

One question that often plagues the mind of parents undergoing divorce is whether or not their rights are equal. The subject of father’s rights are particularly concerning, as many children end up residing with the mother after a divorce. Do fathers receive the same rights? Is their desire to participate in the lives of their children taken just as seriously as the mother’s needs and wants?

If the couple is not married, these questions are doubly important. When couples are married, most states automatically assume that the husband is the father of the child and is therefore entitled to certain rights. The same is not true for unmarried couples sharing children.

What Rights Can I Expect to Have as a Father or Mother Going through a Separation?

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Illinois child custody attorney, Illinois family law attorneyAs of the of January 1, 2016, Illinois law refers to child custody as the allocation of parental responsibilities. The concept behind the term child custody still remains the same, however. Divorcing parents work together with the court and an attorney to create new lifestyle arrangements for their children and determine who is responsible for making what decisions for them. The agreements include everything from where the child will live, who they will live with, and how the child’s education, extracurricular activities, and religious practices will be managed.

Asking for Parental Responsibilities

The filing process for allocation of parental responsibilities will vary from county to county, but throughout Illinois you can expect to go through the following steps:

  • Obtain legal representation and file the petition;
  • Make an appointment for a case management conference (This must be done no later than 90 days after you file the petition); and
  • Serve the other parent the filed petition with a summons.

After you complete the initial first stages of the process, you await a response from the other parent. If they fail to respond, the next step is to ask the court for a default judgement.

Create a Parenting Plan That Suits Your Family’s Needs

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Illinois child custody laws, Illinios family law attorneyWhen you lose an allocation of parental responsibilities case, it can feel like you will only rarely see your child. However, there are many things you can do to increase your time with your child. It often starts with maintaining a positive relationship with the other parent. Even if the court has decided it is not in the child’s best interest for you to be the primary caretaker, that does not mean you do not have a vital role to play in your child’s life.

Right of First Refusal

Under Illinois law, when the child lives primarily with one parent, the other parent can ask the court for the “right of first refusal” when childcare is needed. This means that before the child is put in daycare, the other parent should be given the chance to be with their child instead.

This situation can benefit everyone involved. You and the child get to spend more time together, and the other parent saves on childcare costs. This arrangement works best when the two parents have an amicable relationship and both parents are willing to be flexible and put the needs of their child first.

Sharing Carpool and Taxi Duties

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emotional support, Kane County divorce lawyerDivorce can have long-lasting effects on the entire family. Issues such as allocation of parental responsibilities (child custody), child support, and parenting time (visitation rights) all need to be addressed as the divorce process is underway, and the emotional toll on everyone involved can be incredibly overwhelming.

The state of Illinois is also aware of these effects, and thankfully, the state legislature encourages certain practices to help ensure the children in the family are receiving the emotional support and attention they need during such a tough, transitional period.

Divorce Education Benefits the Whole Family

The Kids in a Divorcing Society program—also simply referred to as "KIDS"—is an educational program provided by Kane County for parents undergoing divorce. The goal of the program is to help equip parents with the tools they need to learn how to best restructure their families in a way that minimizes the negative emotional impact on their children before, during, and after the divorce is finalized. The KIDS program teaches the parent coping skills for re-entering the world as a newly single parent, and also benefits the child long-term by empowering and arming the parent with positive, effective parenting techniques.

Some helpful topics the program will cover:

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