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Wheaton child custody attorneysDuring the divorce process, one of the most important items for both parents to agree to is a parenting plan that addresses parenting time and parental responsibilities. This agreement may come about through negotiation, mediation, or other collaborative methods between you and your spouse, or it may come in the form of a court ruling issued by a judge, but in either case the terms are legally binding. In the months and years following your divorce, if you find that your ex is failing or refusing to honor the agreement, you may need to pursue the legal enforcement of your divorce order.

Common Parenting Plan Violations in Illinois

Parenting plan breaches may arise out of carelessness, hostility, a change in the relationship between you and your ex, or resentment surrounding the initial terms of the agreement. Some of the most common violations include:

  • Refusing to allow the children to spend their allocated time with the other parent
  • Frequent lateness when transporting the children to the other parent
  • Attempted interruptions of the other parent’s allocated time
  • Refusing to care for the children during one’s allocated time
  • Relocating with the child without obtaining necessary permission under Illinois law

If your ex is engaging in any of these behaviors, you should first attempt to resolve the dispute on your own, provided that doing so does not put you or your children in danger. If the behavior continues, your next step is to file a petition for enforcement with the court.

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Naperville family law attorneysCo-parenting after a divorce can be challenging, both because of the need for coordination between two households and the possibility of lingering disagreement or resentment between you and your ex. However, successful co-parenting is often crucial for your children’s happiness and well-being, and if you can work on effective communication with your ex, you can avoid some of the stresses of co-parenting and establish a system that works for the good of everyone involved.

Illinois Co-Parenting Communication Tips

Whether you and your ex get along fairly well, or you tend to butt heads on a regular basis, communication is key to successful co-parenting. Here are some strategies to improve your communication:

  • Stay calm and professional. Make sure you are in the right mindset to approach communication with your ex so that you can remain calm and manage your emotions. It may help to think of your communication with your ex as similar to communication with a work colleague, since you essentially share the job of effectively raising your children.
  • Practice active listening. It is important to express your needs in communication with your ex, but make sure that you also make an effort to listen to his or her perspective. This opens the door for compromise and collaborative solutions in which both parents and children are able to achieve what is best for them.
  • Keep your focus on the task at hand. When you communicate with your ex, try to keep the conversation on the topic of your children and what each of you needs in order to co-parent effectively. If the conversation begins to stray toward your personal disagreements, this can lead to a communication breakdown.
  • Plan regular check-ins. You may need to establish a regular time to check in with your ex and make sure you are keeping each other informed. This could be a weekly phone call or a short conversation when you drop your kids off at the other parent’s home.
  • Be proactive. If you have a concern or a request related to something coming up in the future, try to be proactive and address it early rather than waiting until the last minute when it may be difficult for the other parent to adapt.
  • Consider alternative channels. Face-to-face communication may not be the best option for you and your ex. If you find it difficult emotionally or logistically to converse in person, it may be best to explore other options like phone calls, texting, or email.

Along with all of these tips, you should ensure that all communication between you and your ex in front of your children is civil. If your kids see their parents fighting, this can put a strain on their relationships with each of you and put them in a difficult situation in which they may feel forced to pick sides.

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DuPage County divorce attorney parental relocation

After a divorce, it can be challenging to co-parent between two different households, and the challenge is bound to increase the farther apart the two parents live. Nevertheless, you may find yourself in a situation in which you need to move for career or personal reasons and want your children to come with you. Illinois law allows for a parent’s relocation under certain circumstances, but if you are planning to move more than 25 or 50 miles away from your children’s other parent, depending on the county where you currently live, you will be required to present your case to the court for approval.

Preparing for Questions in Your Relocation Hearing

As the court considers your relocation request, they will ask you a variety of questions to determine whether the move is in your children’s best interests. These questions may include:

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Wheaton custody lawyersWhen a child's parents decide to divorce, they must determine who will have decision-making power over certain aspects of their child’s life, such as where they will go to school or church. This component of a parenting plan, now known as the allocation of parental rights (formerly known as custody) is made based on the best interests of the child. Learn more about this phrase and its meaning in the following sections, and discover how a seasoned family law attorney can help you with developing a sound and comprehensive parenting plan to fit your family’s needs.

Best Interest of a Child - The Basics 

In the simplest of terms, the best interest of a child is the standard that the courts used to make parenting plan determinations. It assesses what might be “best” for the child, based on their needs. Studies have consistently shown that children tend to fare best after a divorce when they have the continued support and connection with both parents, so several states have made a 50-50 parenting plan the default. In all other states, a variety of factors are used to determine how parental responsibilities should be allocated between the divorcing parties. 

Factors Used to Determine a Child’s Best Interests 

Because the best interest of a child is based on their specific needs and situation, numerous factors may be used to make determinations regarding the allocation of parental responsibilities, including: 

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Illinois parenting plan attorneysWhen married parents decide to divorce, they must develop a parenting plan that addresses both the allocation of parental rights (formerly known as child custody) and parenting time (formerly known as visitation). The details of that plan are used to draft a legal document that is then registered with the courts.

Once entered, parenting plans are considered a legally binding agreement between the two parents; failure to comply could result in severe and costly consequences. As such, it is critical that divorcing couples fully understand the differences, limitations, and nuances of both parenting plan components. Learn more with help from the following sections. 

Allocation of Parental Rights 

The allocation of parental rights determines the amount of decision-making power that a parent has in their child’s life, particularly when it comes to “hot button” issues like education, medical care, and religious practices. It is important to note that a parent does not lose their right to have a say in their child’s life if they do not receive an equal or greater allocation. Instead, the other parent simply has the “final say,” and they are able to make smaller, day-to-day decisions without having to consult the other parent. 

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