Law Offices of Tedone and Morton, P.C.

Joliet Office


Plainfield Office


IL family lawyerDuring the divorce process, married couples who have children will need to address multiple types of legal issues related to child custody. The decisions made will be set down in a document known as a “parenting plan,” which will be part of the couple’s divorce decree. A parenting plan will state how parents will share the responsibility of making decisions about their children’s upbringing, and it will also include a schedule for the parenting time that children will spend with each parent. It can also address any other issues related to the couple’s children and the ways the parties will work together as co-parents. One issue that parents may want to address is the right of first refusal.

What Is the Right of First Refusal?

Following a divorce or separation, situations may arise in which a parent will not be available to care for their children during their scheduled parenting time. This may occur because of work-related responsibilities, health issues, or other scheduling conflicts. In these cases, the other parent may want to be able to take care of their children rather than having someone else provide care, such as a babysitter or another family member.

If parents include the right of first refusal in their parenting plan, this will ensure that a parent will be able to provide care for their children whenever possible. A right of first refusal clause will require one parent to contact the other parent and offer them the opportunity to care for the children in cases where they will be unavailable during their normal parenting time. Essentially, this will give the other parent the first opportunity to care for their children, and other child care options can only be considered if the parent refuses this opportunity.

When addressing the right of first refusal, a parenting plan should specify the circumstances in which this right will apply. For example, the right of first refusal clause may state that if a parent will be unavailable for at least six hours during the time that they are scheduled to have parenting time, they must contact the other parent and ask if they are available to care for the children. The parenting plan may also specify how parents will contact each other in these situations, detail transportation arrangements for children, and address any other issues that are necessary to protect the children’s best interests.

Contact Our Plainfield Parenting Plan Attorneys

As you determine what should be included in your parenting plan, you will need to work with an attorney who can explain your rights, help you negotiate with the other parent, and make sure your children’s best interests are protected. The lawyers at the Law Offices of Tedone & Morton, P.C. can help you address the right of first refusal and any other issues that will affect you and your children during your divorce. Contact our Will County child custody lawyers by calling 815-666-1285 to arrange your free consultation.



Posted on

Joliet, IL divorce attorney child custody

If you are a parent who is thinking about ending your marriage, you probably have questions about child custody. In 2016, considerable changes to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act went into effect. Illinois has replaced the somewhat antiquated concept of child custody in favor of a more modernized approach. “Parental responsibilities” refers to the authority a parent has to make major decisions about his or her child, such as where the child will attend school. “Parenting time” refers to the time a parent spends caring for his or her child. Divorcing parents in Illinois are encouraged to make their own decisions about how to divide parental responsibilities and parenting time. If the parents are unable to reach a decision, the court may intervene and make a decision on their behalf.

Reaching an Agreement About Your Parenting Plan

The decisions you and your child’s other parent make about parental responsibilities and parenting time are written in your “parenting plan” or “parenting agreement.” Parents have 120 days after filing for divorce to submit a parenting plan. You will need to decide when the child will live with each parent, how the child will be transported between houses, and how major decisions about the child’s life will be made. Your parenting plan also includes information about issues that may arise in the future such as a parent relocating to a new residence or asking to modify the terms of the parenting plan.

Many divorcing parents struggle to reach an agreement about the terms of their parenting plan. A family law attorney can help you and your spouse negotiate the unresolved issues and find common ground. He or she may also be able to help you consider alternatives that you may not have even been aware of. Mediation is another way that many divorcing couples are able to reach an agreement about parenting issues.

Courtroom Litigation

If parents are not able to agree on the terms of the parenting plan, the case may go to trial. Illinois courts make child custody decisions based on what is in the child’s best interests. When deciding on a parenting plan, courts will consider:

  • Each parent’s wishes regarding parental responsibilities and parenting time

  • Each parent’s health and well-being

  • The child’s adjustment to his or her school and community

  • Any past instances of domestic violence or abuse

  • The child’s wishes

  • Several other relevant factors

Contact a Plainfield, IL Family Law Attorney  

If you are getting divorced and you need help with child custody concerns, contact the Law Offices of Tedone & Morton, P.C. We can assist in all divorce matters, including parenting plan negotiations, or if needed, represent you in court during your child custody dispute. Schedule a free, confidential consultation with our experienced Will County divorce lawyers by calling us today at 815-733-5350.



Posted on

Joliet family law attorneysGoing through a divorce in Illinois means you cannot simply pick up and leave with your child. Likewise, your spouse cannot move your child without first obtaining your approval or approval from the court. What does approval through the court look like, and how can you either fight a move or pursue one to improve the life of you and your child? The following explains more about the child relocation laws in Illinois.

Not All Moves Require Pre-Approval

If the parent wishing to relocate wants to relocate closer to the other parent, they do not need to gain approval. Further, the parent may also relocate the child within certain parameters of their current residence. These parameters include:

  • Up to 25 miles from the child's current place of residence if they live in Kane, Cook, Lake, McHenry, or DuPage County;
  • Up to 50 miles if the child does not currently reside in one of the previously mentioned counties; or
  • Up to 25 miles out of state, but no further than 25 miles from the child's current place of residence.

All other moves require prior approval from either the court or the non-moving parent.

Understanding Why Restrictions Exist

Divorce hearings used to favor the mother and assumed she was the more “needed” parent in a child's life. However, years of research have shown that both parents are important to a child's emotional well-being. Illinois state law seeks to protect the bond with each parent by ensuring each has both parenting time rights and allocation of parental responsibilities. Of course, there are exceptions, such as when a parent has been abusive or deemed unfit, but such situations are rare and must be proven.

When a Parent Wants to Relocate

There are many reasons why a parent may wish to move with the child, but making such a move (otherwise known as child relocation) can ultimately sever the child's relationship with the other parent. Further, the move may have other adverse effects on the child, such as removing them from friends or extended family members. As such, parents who wish to move with their child are advised to consider their options and decisions carefully.

If upon careful consideration, the parent who wants to move has decided that the child could potentially have better support, improved education, or other valuable benefits by relocating, the moving parent may then submit written notice to the other parent. If the non-moving parent agrees with the move, they can sign the notice. The moving parent would file the notice with the court. If the non-moving parent does not approve, they will not sign the notice. The moving parent could then attempt to have their move approved by filing a petition with the court. Considerations that the courts may use could include:

  • Likelihood that the move would enrich or improve the child's life;
  • Motives of the parent that wishes to move;
  • Motives of the non-moving parent;
  • If realistic or reasonable visitation could occur;
  • Any limitations that either parent may experience in seeking visitation;
  • If the moving parent has remarried someone from another state; and
  • If the move is to obtain additional support from family or to obtain better employment.

Our Joliet Family Law Attorneys Can Assist with Your Child Relocation Issue

If you wish to move, or if you would like to stop a potential move of your child, it is important that you seek legal assistance. The Law Offices of Tedone and Morton, P.C. can help. Knowledgeable and experienced, our Joliet family law attorneys will work hard to achieve the most favorable outcome possible in your case. Schedule your consultation by calling 815-666-1285 today.


While about 70 percent of divorcing couples are able to go their separate ways once the paperwork is finalized, another 30 percent have children together. For them, divorce is not the end of communication. Instead, it is the start of a new sort of relationship. - a co-parenting one.  To do it successfully, they must coordinate schedules and maintain at least some level of contact to ensure their child's physical, emotional, financial, and health-related needs are met. How, exactly, do they manage this, and why should they? The following explains.

What the Research Says About Parenting After Divorce

Scientists, child psychologists, and other specialists have spent years gathering and analyzing data on children of divorce. In their research, they have found that children tend to do best when they have a close and healthy relationship with both parents. Even more interesting is that, despite common theory, it is not divorce that causes distress in young children. Instead, it is the relationships within the family. Contentious situations can create problems for children, but children with parents who find a way to get along often adjust better in difficult situations. This includes situations involving divorce. So, regardless of what parents are going through - no matter how they feel about one another - each can best serve their child by working hard to develop a healthy co-parenting relationship. Further, parents should mind their manners, so to speak, whenever their child is around. They should avoid speaking negatively about the other parent, resist the urge to let their feelings of jealousy show when their child returns from a visit, and should, above all, encourage a love and a healthy relationship between their child and the other parent.

Managing Your Emotions During the Divorce Process

You can know what the research says about divorce, and you can move forward with the best of intentions. You might even be able to stave off any anger, frustration, hurt, or feelings of betrayal for a while. Undoubtedly, though, you are going to have to deal with your own emotions. They may get out of hand, and likely at the worst possible moment. You might struggle one week with really missing your child. Alternatively, your spouse may make a parenting decision that really upsets you, and you may want to react. If and when you do start to feel out of sorts, it is important to first remember that you are human, and stress can make people act in ways we normally would not. Second, recognize this situation for what it is. You are going through an emotionally difficult process. You need support and time to care for yourself. Use the time your child is away to nurture yourself. Talk to friends, family, fellow divorcees, a therapist, or go to a support group. Find what helps you so that you can help your child.

Our Joliet Divorce Lawyers Can Help Reduce the Stress

If you are preparing for divorce and unsure of where to turn, The Law Offices of Tedone and Morton, P.C. is the name to remember. Able to handle the legal details of your divorce, we can help reduce your stress levels so that you can focus on everyday life. Compassionate, experienced, and understanding of the situation you are facing, we prioritize the best interests and needs of you and your child. Call 815-666-1285 to schedule your consultation with our Joliet divorce lawyers today. Source:

Posted on

relocation, new laws, Illinois child custody lawyerWhen you are subject to a child custody order, it can be difficult to make significant changes to your life without affecting your relationship with your child. This is especially true in when it comes to deciding where you want to live and pursuing out of town opportunities. The decisions of your child's other parent can also have a dramatic impact on your parent-child relationship as well, particularly if he or she attempts to move out of state with your son or daughter. Beginning in 2016, however, the law in Illinois regarding parental relocation is becoming a bit more restrictive, requiring more moves to be approved in advance by a family court.

Current Regulations

Under the existing law, a primary custodial parent looking to move with his or child is free to move anywhere in the state. While such a move may have indirect effect on a visitation arrangement, there is nothing stopping a parent from making it. This means that a parent could move with a child from northern Chicago to East St. Louis—a 300-plus mile move—and there would be little the non-custodial parent could do about it.

On the other hand, any move out of state by the custodial parent must be approved by the other parent. If the other parent refuses, the matter could be presented to the court, which, based on the best interest of the child, could allow the move to proceed despite the objection. By law, approval would be required for a ten-mile move from Calumet City, Illinois, to Gary, Indiana.

Coming Changes

Beginning in January, a new law in Illinois will require the permission of the other parent for any move deemed to be a “parental relocation.” The statute defines a parental relocation as any move with a child:

  • From a residence within Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, or Will Counties to a new residence within Illinois more than 25 miles away;
  • From a residence outside of the six above-listed counties to new residence within Illinois more than 50 miles away; or
  • From a residence anywhere in the state to a new residence outside of Illinois and more than 25 miles away.

The goal of the new law is to limit a primary custodial parent from creating undue challenges to the other parent's continued relationship with the child. It is not intended to prevent a parent and child from moving, necessarily, but by requiring consent or court approval for a parental relocation, the child's best interests may be better protected in the process.

If you are considering a move and are unsure about how the new law may affect your decision, contact an experienced Will County family law attorney. At the Law Offices of Tedone and Morton, P.C., we will work with you in understanding your options and can help you take the necessary steps toward a better future. Call today to schedule a consultation in one of our two convenient office locations.


  • Badges and Associations
  • Badges and Associations
  • Badges and Associations
Back to Top