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Joliet Divorce attorneyDivorcing couples often struggle to see eye-to-eye. However, some divorce cases are especially wrought with conflict. If this describes your situation, you may be worried about how you and your soon-to-be-ex will handle child custody issues. Some divorced parents are able to continue a close relationship and even attend holidays and vacations together, this is nearly impossible in a high-conflict divorce. One option some parents find useful is a method called “parallel parenting.” In a parallel parenting scenario, each parent handles parenting obligations with little input from the other parent. Communication between the parents is limited and each parent’s independence is prioritized over collaboration.

Parallel Parenting Minimizes Contact Between the Parents

Multiple studies show that parental conflict has a major impact on kids. This is true even if the parents are divorced and living separately. If you are in a high-conflict divorce or soon will be, parallel parenting may be the best way to minimize hostility between you and the other parent. In a parallel parenting situation, parents rarely communicate with each other. When they do communicate, they do so through text messages or email.

A Strong Parenting Plan is Key

Parallel parenting only works when both parents understand their rights and obligations. This means that you will need to have a comprehensive parenting plan involving a detailed parenting time schedule. Remember to include provisions describing how you will handle holidays, school vacations, birthdays, and other special occasions. Include exhaustive information about how and when you can change the parenting time schedule or allocation of parental responsibilities.   

Consider Using Temporary Relief Orders

The time between a couple deciding to divorce and the completion of the divorce can be months or years. High-conflict divorce cases are often especially lengthy. Consider petitioning the court for a temporary relief order that defines parenting time and parental responsibilities during the divorce. This will ensure that you and the other parent understand exactly what is expected of you. Furthermore, a temporary relief order protects your rights. You may also want a temporary order for child support. An experienced family law attorney can discuss your situation with you and help you determine which temporary relief orders may be appropriate for your situation.

Contact a Plainfield Family Law Attorney

If you are a parent planning to divorce, contact the skilled Joliet divorce lawyers at Law Offices of Tedone and Morton, P.C. for help. Our team understands the challenges involved with a high-conflict divorce involving parents. We can help you formulate a plan to minimize conflict and prioritize your children’s wellbeing. Call 815-666-1285 today for a free consultation.


joliet family law attorneyA criminal record can make it more difficult to get a job, rent an apartment, and legally own firearms. It can also affect your chances of getting custody of your children. Family law judges consider the children’s best interests in custody cases and may be reluctant to award custody to a parent with a criminal history. However, having a criminal record does not automatically mean that you cannot be awarded parenting time with your children. 

How a Criminal Record Can Jeopardize Your Child Custody Case

If you have a criminal record and are in the middle of a child custody dispute, you may worry that your past will negatively influence the outcome of the case. Although it may be more challenging to gain the parental responsibilities and parenting time outcome you are hoping for, it is not impossible. A judge will consider several factors regarding your criminal history before coming to a decision.

Non-violent criminal convictions are less likely to affect the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time than convictions involving assault, battery, or abuse. Family court judges also look at how old your criminal conviction is. If you, for instance, got convicted of an offense over a decade ago and have not gotten in trouble with the law since then, the judge is less likely to use this information when deciding custody. The frequency of your offenses may also affect the outcome of your case. If you are a repeat offender, the judge may question your judgment and question whether you can provide a stable environment for your children.

Restricted Parenting Time or Parental Responsibilities

In some cases, the court may order certain restrictions on parenting time or parental responsibilities. The court has the authority to:

  • Require parents with drug or alcohol dependency problems to attend treatment

  • Prohibit the parent from using drugs in the child’s presence

  • Prohibit certain individuals from being present during the parent’s parenting time

  • Require supervised parenting time or “supervised visits”

  • Order any other restriction that is needed to ensure the child’s best interests are protected

Contact a Will County Family Lawyer

If you have a criminal history and are trying to get custody of your children, discuss your case with a Joliet, IL family attorney. At the Law Offices of Tedone & Morton, P.C., we understand the difficult situation you are in and can help you assert your rights. Call us at 815-666-1285 to schedule a free consultation.


IL family lawyerAccording to Illinois law, if a child’s parents are married at the time of birth, the mother’s spouse will be presumed to be the child’s legal parent. However, there are many situations where a child’s parents may be unmarried, and in these cases, paternity will need to be legally established before a man will be recognized as the child’s legal father. This can often be done fairly easily, but some cases may involve complex legal issues, and either or both parents may need to work with a family law attorney to ensure that their rights and their child’s best interests will be protected.

Benefits of Paternity for Children and Parents

If a child’s parents are unmarried, but they agree that a man is the child’s biological father, the parents can fill out and sign a form known as a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity (VAP). This form can usually be obtained from the hospital where a child was born, but it may also be available at a county clerk’s office or the Illinois Department of Human Services, and a VAP can be completed and signed at any time during the child’s life.

If either parent is uncertain about the identity of the child’s biological father, other procedures may be used to confirm the genetic relationship between a parent and child and legally establish paternity. Parents may agree to work with the Department of Child Support Services (DCSS) to conduct genetic testing, or either parent may file a petition in family court to establish paternity. During court proceedings, DNA testing will usually be ordered, and once the identity of the child’s biological father is confirmed, an order of paternity will be issued.

Establishing paternity can provide multiple benefits for a child. From an emotional standpoint, understanding their roots and family history can provide a child with a better sense of identity. The child will be able to access family medical history, ensuring that they can receive the proper medical care. They will be able to receive an inheritance from their legal parent, as well as benefits through a parent such as insurance coverage or Social Security.

After establishing paternity, the parents will be able to address matters related to child custody, including the allocation of decision-making responsibilities and schedules for parenting time. A legal parent will also have the obligation to provide child support. By establishing paternity, parents can ensure that they will each be able to maintain a relationship with the child and that the child will have the financial resources to meet their ongoing needs.

Contact a Will County Paternity Lawyer

If you are an unmarried parent, the Law Offices of Tedone & Morton, P.C. can help you take the right steps to establish legal paternity for your child. We will make sure you understand your rights, and we will provide you with representation in any legal proceedings, ensuring that your child’s best interests will be protected. Contact our Joliet family law attorneys at 815-666-1285 to set up a free consultation today.


What Must Be Included in an Illinois Parenting Plan?

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Will County family law attorney parenting time

Divorce is challenging regardless of the circumstances; however, a divorce involving children often comes with additional difficulties. If you are a parent who is thinking about filing for divorce, you probably have questions and concerns about child-related issues. In Illinois, divorcing parents are asked to create a “parenting plan” that outlines how they will divide parenting tasks and responsibilities. If the parents cannot agree on the terms of their parenting plan, the court will issue a decision for the parents that is in the best interest of the child.

Allocating Parental Responsibilities

Illinois law no longer uses terms like “child custody,” “visitation,” or “sole custody.” Instead, child custody is separated into two components: parental responsibilities and parenting time. Parental responsibilities describe a parent’s decision-making authority. Parents have the option to share decision-making authority as they see fit. For example, one parent may be in charge of education-related decisions while the other parent handles healthcare. The parents may also decide that one parent will be solely responsible for all of the major decisions about the child’s upbringing.

Parenting Time Schedules and Parental Rights

Parenting time refers to the time a parent spends directly caring for his or her child. Parents must include a parenting time schedule or a detailed method for determining the allocation of parenting time in their parenting plan. When it comes to parenting plans, the more detailed, the better. Do not forget to include parenting time arrangements for holidays, school breaks, and other special occasions.

Parents will also need to address several other issues, including but not limited to:

·        How the child will be transported between the parents’ homes

·        How any future proposed changes to the parenting plan should be handled

·        How the child will communicate with a parent during the other parent’s allotted parenting time

·        What will happen if a parent cannot fulfill his or her assigned parenting time

·        How any future parental relocations should be handled

The parenting plan also describes the rights both parents have. Parents have the right to be informed of child-related emergencies, travel plans, medical concerns, school records, and other important matters. Parents also have the right to be informed about the other parents’ change of residence if the move constitutes a parental “relocation” according to Illinois law. There are over a dozen specific issues you will need to address in your parenting plan.

Contact a Will County Divorce Lawyer

Parents in Illinois must complete a parenting plan and submit it to the court when going through a divorce. If you are a parent who is thinking about ending your marriage, an accomplished Joliet, IL family law attorney from the Law Offices of Tedone & Morton, P.C. can help. Call our office today at 815-733-5350 or 815-666-1285 to schedule your free consultation and learn more.



Joliet divorce lawyersFamily structures have changed drastically over the last several years – so has divorce. It used to be that one parent would keep the family home and the other would relocate, or the couple would sell the family home and then both would relocate. Now there are birdnesting arrangements, where the children keep the home and the parents both rotate in and out to care for them. How does this arrangement work, and is it right for your family? The following may help you decide.

Birdnesting Basics

Birdnesting is not a traditional parenting plan arrangement, but it is a growing trend. Much of its popularity can be attributed to the changes in family structure; working parents may find it easier to move in and out of the home instead of moving the children around. However, the real root of this trend is based on what parents feel to be the best interests of their children.

Divorce is infamous for creating stress in children, and many kids struggle to cope. Birdnesting attempts to combat such issues by minimizing the number of changes in a child's life. They keep the same room. They go to the same school. Everything is familiar. The only thing that may be different is how they spend their time. Mom might be home one day, and dad might be home the next. However, there are some birdnesting arrangements in which parents spend time together; an example might be sharing family meals instead of eating separately.

Is Birdnesting Right for You?

Making an arrangement like birdnesting work is no easy task. You have to share a space with your spouse, and many of the issues that you dealt with in marriage may still surface. For example, if you come home to spend the week with the kids and your spouse has failed to do the housecleaning, you may quickly become frustrated with the situation. In addition, couples who struggle to act maturely, suffer from a lot of animosity toward one another, and couples who have a history of abuse are rarely good candidates for birdnesting. On the other hand, if you are patient, willing to work together, and can set clear boundaries, this parenting plan may work for you.

Contact Our Joliet Family Law Attorneys

If you are considering birdnesting for your family, contact Law Offices of Tedone and Morton, P.C. for assistance. Known for our ability to approach each case with a unique perspective, our Joliet divorce lawyers can work to ensure you have considered all the potential pros and cons of your decision. We can also assist you with the smaller details of your arrangement. Get started by scheduling a free consultation. Call us at 815-666-1285 today.


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