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Kane County family law attorneysIf you are a parent whose time with your child has been limited due to a divorce, it can be very difficult for you to maintain the relationship with your child that you wish to have. This may be especially true if the other parent has been granted a majority of the parenting time and you only see your child a few days each month. Illinois law, however, allows parents in such a situation to include provisions in their parenting plan that could create extra parenting time opportunities under certain circumstances.

Defining the Right of First Refusal

Under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), your parenting plan should address what is called “the right of first refusal” regarding your child. If you have the right of first refusal, it means that the other parent must contact you and offer you the opportunity to care for your child if the other parent would otherwise need to find a sitter or alternative childcare. Depending on how your parenting plan is structured, you may be required to offer the same opportunity to the other parent if and when you need someone to care for your child. It is important to note that including the right of first refusal in your parenting plan does not obligate you to accept every such opportunity; the right of first refusal refers to optional additional parenting time.

Setting the Parameters

If the right of first refusal is going to be a part of your parenting plan, specific rules on how it will be utilized need to be determined. One element is the duration. For example, will the other parent need to call and offer the right if he or she only has a two-hour meeting after work one day? Or, will the right of first refusal be reserved for longer periods such as overnights or a certain minimum number of hours?

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Kane County family law attorneysParents who are no longer married to or romantically involved with one another often face serious challenges in developing an agreement regarding the allocation of parental responsibilities. In most cases, both parents want to continue to play an important role in their child’s life and are willing to compromise to make that happen. Sometimes, however, the parents cannot reach an agreement on their own. When this happens, the court must step in and assign parental responsibilities and parenting time in a manner that promotes the child’s best interests.

The process of determining parenting rights and responsibilities was—until just a few years ago—known as “child custody” in Illinois. In 2016, however, an update to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act revamped the court’s approach to the subject and replaced the term “child custody” with the phrase “allocation of parental responsibilities.” Additionally, the law divides parental responsibilities into two primary areas, each of which may be determined separately.

Significant Decision-Making Responsibilities

The first consideration for divorcing or separating parents is the authority for significant decision-making regarding the child. Significant decisions include any concerns that will impact the child’s life over a long period of time, such as education, health care, religious upbringing, and extracurricular activities. Decision-making authority may be granted to both parents equally, solely to either parent, or any combination of the two. For example, one parent could be responsible for educational and healthcare decisions while the other parent is responsible for all religious training, and both parents share responsibility for extracurricular activities.

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Kane County family law attorneys

Parents often worry about how their children will cope with divorce. Most do everything they can to smooth the transition, but they do not always know if they are making the right choices. For example, how do parents decide where the child will live? How much time should they be spending with each parent? Should they switch houses every weekend, or is that too much?

The answers to most of these questions are circumstantial and can only be answered by the parents themselves. However, one study does suggest that children fare better if they spend time living with each of their parents. Furthermore, children seem to cope best when their schedule for switching homes is somewhat consistent.

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St. Charles family law attorneysSocial media presents a unique danger when you are in the midst of a divorce or proceedings related to the allocation of parental responsibilities (child custody). In personal injury or criminal cases, clients may be encouraged to set their profiles to private so that the profiles cannot be seen by insurance companies or investigators.

When you are involved in a divorce or child-related action, however, making your social media private may not be enough of a protective measure because you likely are “friends” or connected with people who have an interest in your case—namely your family members and real-world friends. With this in mind, you should consider limiting your posting to social media, in addition to making your profiles private.

Social Medial Posts as Evidence

Virtually any social medial post could be potentially used as evidence by the other party during your family law proceedings. Some of the most dangerous include:

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Kane County family law attorneysIf you are a parent residing in Illinois and you are planning to divorce, you and your child’s other parent will need to make decisions about the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time. You will have 120 days after you file for divorce to file a proposed parenting plan. If you and your spouse cannot agree on the terms of the plan, the court may need to intervene. There are a number of considerations the parenting plan must contain including decisions about when the child will spend time with each parent, each parent’s decision-making authority, and more.

Required Parenting Plan Elements

Parents are encouraged to make as many parenting decisions in advance as possible. The more issues parents work out during the creation of the parenting plan, the less likely they will experience conflict during their post-divorce co-parenting relationship.

Although you may choose to add additional items in your parenting plan, the required elements include:

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Wheaton, IL 60189
630-665-7300
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We serve clients throughout Kane County, Illinois including St. Charles, Geneva, Batavia, North Aurora, Elgin, Algonquin, Aurora, Barrington Hills, Bartlett, Big Rock, Burlington, Campton Hills, Carpentersville, East Dundee, Elburn, Hampshire, Huntley, Kaneville, Maple Park, Sleepy Hollow, Wayne, West Dundee as well as throughout DuPage County.

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In honor of the passing of our founder, Joseph F. Mirabella, Jr., our offices are closed Friday, January 31, 2020.I Agree