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Livas Law Group

Wheaton parental relocation attorneysIf you and your former spouse share children who are still under the age of 18, moving to a new location after the divorce can be a complicated issue. While a parent may have legitimate personal reasons for the move, it is also often necessary from a legal perspective to consider whether the move is in the children’s best interests, as well as how it may affect the children’s relationship with their other parent. If you believe that your ex’s relocation will be detrimental to your family, you may have options to contest it in court.

What is Considered a Parental Relocation in Illinois?

One thing to note is that a move to a new location within a short distance is not considered a relocation under Illinois law. While parenting plans will usually stipulate that a parent who moves will need to notify the other parent of the change in address, these moves are less likely to lead to legal complications, and there are fewer options to contest them.

However, some moves do qualify as a relocation, and they require approval through a defined legal process. All of the following meet the legal definition of a relocation in Illinois:

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DuPage County divorce lawyersRaising children is a challenge under any circumstances, and divorce only introduces further complications. Your children will likely look to you for greater emotional support during this difficult time, and even if you and your former spouse are committed to working together, you are likely to face challenges in coordination. If you and your ex are prone to conflict, co-parenting effectively may seem next to impossible. However, it is possible to establish a productive co-parenting strategy that can reduce stress and lead to a better life for you and your family.

Suggestions for Co-Parenting Successfully

Every co-parenting relationship is different, and some are more conflict-ridden than others, but the following suggestions can help you be a better co-parent under almost any circumstances:

  • Follow your parenting plan. During the divorce process, the court will seek to ensure that your parenting plan, including the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time, is created in your children’s best interests. This means that in the months and years after your divorce, following your parenting plan is not only a show of respect to the other parent, but also a way to support your children. Your children will benefit from a consistent routine, which includes a clear schedule of time with each parent as well as a clear plan for transportation between homes and other important events.
  • Find the best way to communicate. Co-parenting effectively with your former spouse means that you will need to communicate on some level. However, the best way to do so depends in large part on your relationship. You and your ex may get along very well, in which case face-to-face or phone communication may be a great option for collaboration in the raising of your children. However, if you struggle to stay out of arguments with your ex, you may instead choose to communicate in writing, which has less of an emotional component.
  • Recognize what you can and cannot control. Despite your best efforts, you will likely find that you cannot fully control your former spouse’s parenting style. If he or she does something differently from how you would have done it, try to let it go as long as it does not harm your children. Instead, focus on controlling your own actions and being the best parent you can be during the time that you have with your children.
  • Keep your kids out of the conflict. One of the worst things you can do as a parent is to pull your children into your conflict with your former spouse. Avoid talking negatively to your kids about their other parent, asking them to convey angry or passive aggressive messages, and other similar behaviors. These actions can seriously damage your children’s relationships with both parents and affect the way that they handle conflict themselves.

Contact a DuPage County Family Law Attorney

If you are looking for advice and assistance with your post-divorce co-parenting, the attorneys at the Davi Law Group can help you put a strong legal foundation in place in the form of a parenting plan that protects your children’s interests. We can also help you with modifications to your parenting plan if you find that there is a need for a change. Contact a Wheaton divorce lawyer today at 630-504-0176 for a free initial consultation.

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Wheaton family law attorneysIf you have been through a divorce, it is understandable that you may want a break from the legal process after working tirelessly to reach a resolution on important decisions including your parenting agreement. However, it is important to realize that circumstances change over time, and what worked for you, your children, and your former spouse at the time of the divorce may not be as effective a few years later. If you find that your situation has changed substantially, it may be best to petition for a modification of your parenting plan.

Modifying Parenting Time in Illinois

Perhaps the most likely element of your parenting plan that may require modification is your parenting time arrangement. As circumstances and preferences change, it may be best to adjust either the distribution of time spent with each parent, the specific schedule of days, or both. You can modify parenting time at any point after your divorce as long as it is in your children’s best interests and you can demonstrate that one or more of the following is true:

  • The circumstances of you, your ex, or your children have changed. Possible examples include a change in your work schedule or your children’s school schedule, a relocation of one or both parents, or a change in your children’s preferences as they get older.
  • The requested modification is consistent with the actual care arrangement for the past six months. This means that in practice, you and your ex have begun to deviate from the original schedule with neither of you objecting.
  • The modification is minor, perhaps involving a simple schedule change or an update to holiday agreements.
  • The modification is necessary based on something that the court was not aware of at the time of the original agreement.
  • Both parents are in agreement on the modification.

Modifying Parental Decision-Making Responsibilities

On the other hand, decision-making responsibilities related to your children’s education, religion, health, and extracurricular activities can usually not be modified for the first two years after your original agreement, unless the modification is necessary to protect the children from harm or dangerous influences. After two years, decision-making responsibilities can be modified for the same reasons as parenting time.

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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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