Tag Archives: child custody

IL divorce attorneyWhen two parents get divorced it typically means that the children of that marriage will spend much less time with one of their parents. Historically speaking, the parent to lose the most time with their children has been the father. Although today, Illinois courts are not supposed to take gender into consideration when allocating parenting time, the sad fact is that many still do. The data is there to support the notion that mothers are usually awarded the most time with their children. However, a new bill has been introduced into the Illinois House of Representatives, and it may mean equal time for both parents in future divorce cases.

Minimum Parenting Time in Illinois

Most people agree that when both parents are fit to raise their child, it is in that child’s best interests to spend equal time with both parents. Unfortunately, that rarely happens in Illinois and legal authorities in the state have continued to support favoring one parent over the other.

The Illinois Family Law Study Committee has found that it is in the best interests of the child to spend at least 35 percent of weekly time with each parent when both parents have been deemed good and fit. Although the Illinois State Bar Association also publicly supports equal parenting time, they have opposed the notion of each parenting getting that amount of time. In fact, the Association does not have a minimum amount of time at all for parents that are considered fit to spend time with their children.

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IL divorce lawyerWhen getting a divorce, couples have a lot to think about. They will likely wonder what will happen to their car, to the marital home, and other assets. One factor that is often overlooked though, is the family pet. If the pet was acquired during the marriage, it is considered marital property. So, when this is the case, what happens to the pets in an Illinois divorce?

Pets According to Property Division Rules

In many cases, the courts may choose to include the pet in property division hearings. This means it will be treated just like other property. Illinois is an equitable distribution state. That means that property is divided fairly, although not necessarily equally. Of course, a pet cannot be divided, leaving many couples again wondering what will happen to it in a divorce.

If one of the spouses really wants to keep the pet and both spouses can agree, the courts may grant ownership to the spouse that wants to keep the animal. In exchange, the courts will also likely grant the other spouse a greater portion of other property or assets, in order to keep property division hearings fair.

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IL divorce lawyerWhen two people decide to make a split in their relationship, one of the first and most difficult decisions is often where the couple will live. If they are not married but only living together, the choice is often much simpler, as the person whose name is on the lease or mortgage will inevitably retain use of the property. If a true joint lease or mortgage, then it can indeed be every bit as complicated. But for a married couple - especially with children - the challenge is deciding who will stay in the marital home. In most cases, men tend to be the ones to depart quickly upon conflict. But this may not always be a good decision. So, before you move out of the marital home, here are some considerations you might want to discuss with a DuPage County divorce lawyer.

He Who Stays and He Who Pays

Effective January of 2019, Illinois’ child support statute has dramatically changed. Unlike before, the law no longer creates a strict guideline based on just the number of children a couple has. Instead, the new law takes into considerations such as:

  • How many children the couple has
  • Whether there are children from other relationships
  • Who is paying health and dental insurance
  • Who is paying daycare and other childcare expenses
  • Relative income of both parties
  • The relative amount of parenting time each parent has

This is a significant departure from the past, and it can be a good thing for parents who have fairly equal parenting time with a spouse who earns far less. By having more equal parenting time and covering extra expenses for the kids, it reduces the amount of direct support that must be paid, if any. However, it is important to keep in mind that the marital home has a somewhat intangible effect on parenting roles. Here is why.

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IL custody lawyerOnce upon a time in Illinois, courts mainly called it custody. Other states have different terms, as well. However, in recent years, Illinois law has changed on the subject, and the prevailing concept is to divide parenting time and responsibilities. If you are going through a divorce and have concerns about who will have the majority of the decision-making responsibilities or where the children will spend most of their time, take a deep breath and understand that no two divorce or child custody disputes are the same. Your unique situation may not be as bad as you think. Often, just a half-hour meeting with an experienced Hinsdale family law attorney can ease many of the fears and concerns you have. It is important to understand the difference between how courts now look at it, compared to the previous way.

Custody in the Past

In 2016, Section 5/600 of the Family Code was added, thereby creating something known as parenting allocation. Prior to that time, Illinois law treated the matter as custody. The overall view was that someone had to be named the custodial parent with whom the children would reside for the majority of their time. Then the other parent would be assigned visitation with their children. Unfortunately, although this method was practical, there was a distinct alienating effect to it. After all, who wants to “visit” their children? In the majority of cases where both parents are fit to care for children, this necessarily created a power imbalance or inequality in parenting roles.

Parenting Allocation Explained

Today, Illinois has taken a progressive approach to shared parenting responsibilities. Instead of treating one parent as the primary guardian and the other as a mere visitor, during a divorce or separation, the parties will have to come up with a parenting allocation agreement. If they cannot agree, the court will decide for them and generate a parenting allocation order. This sets forth what responsibilities each party will have, including which responsibilities will be shared. To the extent that parents can agree on how to share time with children and share decision-making, allocation can be quite flexible.

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IL custody lawyerYour children are the most important thing in a parent’s life, and it is common to lash out at anything that potentially harms their child or prevents a parent from seeing their child or spending time with their child. In this case, that thing is a custody hearing. Below are some common mistakes that parents make during custody battles that can harm their chances of receiving a desirable outcome in court.

Using Social Media to Complain About the Other Parent

As tempting as it may be, using social media to publicly badmouth the other parent, that parent’s lawyer, or a judge handling the case is a recipe for disaster. Not only will it unnecessarily anger all parties target, which may in fact by your short-term goal, but it will harm your reputation, making you seem vindictive, irrational, or a bad role model.

Losing Your Temper in Court

A judge wants to place a child with a responsible parent in a stable home with a calm environment. Outbursts in court prove to the judge that you are not that person and your home is not that place.

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