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Tag Archives: parental responsibilities Kane County

Kane County family law attorneyDisputes over child-related matters can often be quite contentious. The resulting bitterness and resentment can affect the relationship between the parents for years to come. Issues involving child custody—now called the allocation of parental responsibilities in Illinois—parenting time, child support, and any other concern related to children are complicated, and when parents cannot reach an agreement, the court will need to step in and make long-term decisions for the family. In some cases, the court will appoint an independent attorney called a guardian ad litem to assist in the decision-making process, and it is important for you to understand why he or she may have been appointed.

What Does a Guardian ad Litem Do?

To appreciate the reasons behind the court's appointment of a guardian ad litem (GAL), you must first understand the role that the GAL will play in your proceedings. The GAL does not represent either parent or the child; instead, he or she works essentially as an extension of the court and an expert witness. He or she has the power to investigate the family's situation by conducting interviews, reviewing documents, and examining any other relevant information. Based on the results of the investigation, the GAL provides a recommendation to the court of what the ideal outcome should be in the case. Because eligible GALs undergo specific training required by the county, their recommendations are given significant weight by the court.

Reasons to Appoint a GAL

Some family court judges prefer to appoint a GAL in nearly every child-related case while others may wait until a need becomes evident. If the court can see that reasonable progress is being made between the parents, the services of a GAL may not be necessary. If, on the other hand, the parents refuse to compromise or continue to make accusations against one another, a GAL is likely to be appointed.

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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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St. Charles family law attorneys“The best interests of the child” is one of the most common phrases in the realm of family law. A child’s well-being, of course, should remain among the top priorities in proceedings for divorce, allocation of parental responsibilities, parenting time, non-parent visitation, and adoption. The challenge, however, is that determining what exactly constitutes a child’s best interests is open to interpretation. As such, each parent may fully believe that they are acting in their child’s best interests yet hold vastly different objectives regarding the outcome of the case.

Helping the Process

When you and your child’s other parent cannot agree on a parenting plan or other arrangements regarding your child, the court is likely to offer several options. To start with, you may be required to participate in court-ordered mediation designed to help you and the other parent reach an agreement with the help of a third-party mediator. Mediation, however, is only possible in situations where both parties are willing and able to work constructively with one another.

Alternatively, the court may appoint a specially-trained and certified attorney—not one who is representing either you or the other party—to serve as a guardian ad litem (GAL). The guardian ad litem will be expected to investigate your family’s circumstances to develop an outside, objective opinion of what the child’s best interests are. Based on the GAL’s findings, the GAL will make a recommendation to the court regarding the most appropriate outcome for the case.

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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