Category Archives: Family Law

DuPage County Family Law AttorneysMost parents experience conflict as they learn to co-parent successfully after their divorce. It is not easy to raise children in two different households, especially when differences in parenting preferences contributed to the divorce in the first place. But for some parents, the situation is so volatile that they cannot work together at all. This could happen for many reasons; perhaps the relationship ended because of abuse or infidelity, or one or both spouses may manifest symptoms of narcissism. Whatever the reason, the bottom line is that children can often suffer terribly when they are exposed to ongoing conflict between divorced parents. If you are in a situation like this, you may want to consider parallel parenting. 

What is Parallel Parenting? 

Parallel parenting is a term used for a strategy that requires or allows parents to completely separate their co-parenting so they keep communication to an absolute minimum. Parents do not attend meetings or appointments together, do not share in parental responsibilities (important decision-making), and will generally only communicate in writing. 

When communication is necessary, informal phone or text conversations are off the table with parallel parenting because they so often lead to conflict. Instead, parents will use email, parenting applications, and the help of a mediator when necessary. 

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DuPage County Child Custody LawyersGrandparents, step-parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and siblings can be part of a large, supportive family milieu that offers young children a loving, structured environment. Extended families often give much-needed assistance, especially when a child’s parents are divorced, imprisoned, or otherwise unable to be actively involved in a child’s life. 

However, sometimes a child’s parent may try to actively inhibit a child’s relationship with extended family members. Whether this behavior is because of an acrimonious divorce, personal dislike of certain family members, or an effort to seek revenge on a former spouse, the impact on both the child and the estranged family members can be devastating. If you are unable to visit a child in your own family and are wondering if you might be able to get court-ordered visitation, read on. 

Which Non-Parents Can Get Visitation with a Child in Illinois? 

Not everybody who claims to have a relationship with a child is automatically entitled to visitation, even if the child lived with them or they have a very close relationship with the child. Only a child’s biological or adoptive parents have a presumed legal right to visitation. Other relatives must be first-degree family relatives like grandparents, siblings, and stepparents, and must petition an Illinois court to get visitation with a child when at least one of the following circumstances is present: 

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Hinsdale Family Law AttorneyAfter getting through the last stages of divorce, the thought of dating again may be off-putting. Many people are nervous to jump back into a relationship, after all, a relationship is how they ended up divorced in the first place. Others are excited at the prospect of having another chance to get it right. However you feel after your Illinois divorce, the prospect of dating again eventually crops up for everyone. Making wise decisions and thinking carefully about your actions can help you find a healthy, happy relationship whenever you are ready to start dating again. 

Wait Until Your Divorce is Final

One problem attorneys frequently see is clients who decide to start dating again before the divorce is over. Besides the personal problems that can come from not taking the time to stop and reflect on your previous marriage, dating before the divorce is final can complicate and sometimes even harm the divorce process. Exposing your children to new relationships or going out late at night may be a red flag for your ex-spouse, who may then decide to try to prove you are not fit to have parenting time or parental responsibilities. For these and many other reasons, it is best to wait until your divorce is final before starting anything new. 

Make Sure You Are Dating For the Right Reasons

Once you start thinking about dating again, ask yourself questions about why you want to find someone new. Is it because you are afraid to be alone? Nervous that you may never find love again? Bored? There are no right answers to these questions, but knowing why you are dating and what you are looking for will help you choose a partner who is a good fit. 

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DuPage County Divorce MediatorsEvery year, more divorcing couples in Illinois are using the benefits of divorce mediation to help them avoid the expense, hostility, and hassle of trial litigation. Mediation can give couples more control over their divorce decrees, greater privacy, and a quicker overall divorce. Despite these benefits, divorce mediation is still a challenging process that requires preparation and careful thought. Many important decisions must be made that will affect each spouse for many years to come. Here are four tips to help you get ready for your divorce mediation in Illinois. 

Get into a Collaborative Mindset

It is easy for negotiations to be sidetracked by old grudges and personal judgments. But these will not be resolved in mediation, if ever, and they distract from the real work at hand. Before meditation starts, get into a collaborative mindset and visualize you and your spouse cooperating. When you are tempted to fall back into old conflict, return your focus to collaboration. Keep in mind that your spouse feels as strongly about their position as you do and that you may be more likely to get concessions if they feel heard and understood. 

Set Priorities

A good compromise leaves everyone unhappy, or so the saying goes. Neither spouse is going to get everything they want during divorce, but if you can establish your priorities early on you may be able to tackle issues more quickly because you know where you can give and take. Most issues in divorce are flexible, including child support, spousal support, parenting time, and marital asset division. 

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DuPage County Divorce LawyerAny time a divorcing spouse must attend a hearing, he or she wants to make a favorable impression so the judge will make unbiased decisions. Although most of us have been advised never to judge a book by its cover, the truth is that everybody makes split-second judgments about other people based on first impressions. Someone’s appearance, dress, and demeanor can help them appear respectable and responsible, but it can also do the opposite. Especially when important decisions are at stake, like the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time, it is important to never give a judge reason to question your capabilities or behavior. Here are five tips for making a great impression in a divorce courtroom. 

Be Well Groomed

Even if it only seems superficial, appearance and hygiene matter. Men and women should appear as clean, healthy, and capable of caring for themselves as possible - especially if there are children involved. If you are a parent hoping to be allocated parenting time, you do not want a judge wondering if you can barely manage yourself. Having clean nails, brushed teeth, combed hair, and conservative makeup can only help your case. 

Dress Sharp

Men and women appearing in court can show respect to the court, the judge, and themselves simply by dressing well. Research suggests that in addition to enhancing how other people see you, dressing well can actually improve your behavior too. Experts advise dressing as you would for a job interview, erring on the side of looking too conservative rather than not conservative enough. Some judges have even been known to send people home to change. 

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