Category Archives: Family Law

IL divorce lawyerWith summer right around the corner and school just weeks away from being over, your parenting plan needs to be discussed with your child’s other parent. Summer parenting time is different than during the school year for the obvious reason that your child now has a lot more free time. First of all, the parenting plan needs to define when the summer schedule will start and end. Do not assume that it starts on the last day of school and ends on the first day of school in the fall.

Vacation Time

Seventy-two percent of American families take summer vacations. As such, a parenting plan should clearly lay out the dates of planned vacations, which need to be discussed and agreed upon by both parents beforehand. To keep things fair, and to ensure that one parent does not monopolize on time with their child by taking an extra long vacation, trip times should remain equal or as close to equal as feasible. Or, the non-traveling parent should be awarded make-up days at the end of the vacation if they do not plan to take one themselves.

Traveling Out of State and Out of the Country

Unless the parenting plan specifically states that children cannot be taken out of the country or state, you do not need to worry about where your vacation is limited to. However, it is particularly important for long trips or overseas trips with various destinations for the traveling parent to give dates, locations, hotel phone numbers, and other information to the other parent. Furthermore, if you believe there is a risk that the other parent will simply vanish out of the country with your child, you need to contact an attorney to rewrite the parenting plan to ban overseas travel.

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IL divorce lawyerDivorce is very tough on children — a fact that has been well documented over many decades. Divorce has been associated with academic difficulties, disruptive and illegal behavior, low self-esteem, depression, and emotional distress. When children of divorce enter adulthood, they are more likely to live in poverty, have children out of wedlock, marry at a young age, and get divorce themselves than their peers from non-divorced families.

Because a parent’s strongest instinct is to protect their children from all of this, some spouses decide to either make the marriage work for the sake of the children, or they agree to get divorced, but only after the youngest child is on his or her way to college and out of the house. While both of these options seem like the right thing to do for your children because the family is kept in-tact, the truth is that both of these approaches may be more harmful than a simple divorce and shared custody.

How Delaying the Divorce Can Harm Your Children

Children are much more in-tuned with their parent’s emotions and thoughts than we give them credit for. Even very young children, or teenagers who are seemingly off in their own worlds, pick up on subtle insults and tension between their parents. The fact that you want to get divorced means that you are unhappy with the marriage, and that unhappiness will only intensify in the years to come as you wait for your youngest child to graduate high school. Parents may think they are helping their children by soldiering on during the marriage, but they are only doing themselves and their children a disservice. After all, one cannot fake happiness no matter how much effort is put into the facade.

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IL divorce lawyerWhile most allegations of domestic violence are true, sometimes innocent people get caught up in the lies of others. False allegations of domestic violence can be career-ending, life-ruining events for those who committed no crime. If you have been charged with or accused of domestic violence, you need to act quickly to protect yourself.

Statistics Are Not on Your Side

One study found that over a 17-month period, there were 111,891 prosecutions for domestic violence, while only six prosecutions for making false allegations. Even if many false allegation cases are never prosecuted, these are very hard odds to beat. However, in some cases, there is insufficient evidence for the court to take legal action against the defendant, either in the civil or criminal case.

Why False Allegations Are Made

When a man or woman makes a false allegation against their domestic partner, their reason for making the allegation often revolves around a divorce, legal separation, child custody, or visitation case. The accuser knows that, by labeling the other party as a domestic abuser, he or she will have a better chance at receiving a more favorable child custody decision or spousal support decision or be more likely to succeed in blocking any visitation rights for the other parent.

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IL custody lawyerThere may come a time when a child of divorce or separated parents has a desire to live with his or her other parent—the non-custodial parent. This can come as a shock to both the mother and father and is usually accompanied by hurt feelings and loss for the parent whom the child has been living with since the original custody decision. However, it is important to listen to the desire of your child, whether you are the custodial or non-custodial parent, particularly if your child is at least 14 years of age. The teenage years are a good time to make compromises with your children about living situations because in the long run, this will prevent fallouts from happening when they inevitably leave your and the other parent’s house for good.

Children as Young as 14 Have a Say in Which Parent They Live With

Under 750 ILCS 5/600, a court takes into account the wishes of the child, depending on the “child's maturity and ability to express reasoned and independent preferences as to decision-making.” This comes at the age of 14 in Illinois. However, simply because a child is 14 or older does not mean that the court will automatically change a custody decision that has been in place for years to meet the child’s wishes.

Best Interest of the Child

If a decision cannot be made outside of the courtroom, a judge will consider all factors pertaining to the child’s best interests. Questions such as the following must be asked:

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IL family lawyerIt can be tempting for a spouse to monitor the movements of the other, especially during divorce or searching for suspected infidelity. Cell phones can easily be tracked without the other spouses’ knowledge, and GPS devices the size of a coin can be hidden in vehicles without being detected. Furthermore, accessing a spouse’s emails can show what they have been up to, not just where. However, tracking or spying on a spouse in such a manner is not necessarily legal in Illinois, and by doing so and getting caught, it can have a profoundly negative effect on your divorce be creating further distrust, anger, and feelings of betrayal. GPS tracking and digital spying will most likely result in a contested divorce, as the spied-upon spouse will feel they have less reason to compromise.

Electronic GPS Tracking Can Be Illegal in Illinois

Under 720 ILCS 5/21-2.5, it is a Class A misdemeanor to place a GPS device on a person or their car, without their consent, in order to track their location. However, it becomes more complicated when the vehicle is owned jointly in a marriage. While it may not be illegal, or at least a punishable offense, for one spouse to secretly track the other, it can certainly have a negative impact on divorce decisions like child custody if it reveals the poor character of a parent.

Tampering with Computers, Such as Reading Your Spouse’s Emails

Another way that spouses keep tabs on another during divorce is by secretly accessing the other’s phone or laptop to read emails. This is also unlawful in Illinois under 720 ILCS 5/17-51. While criminal charges may never be filed, reading the emails and private messages of your spouse can:

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