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joliet child custody lawyer Divorce is difficult for everyone in a family, and children face unique challenges. They will have to adapt to life between two homes in many cases. When a couple with children is divorcing in Illinois, they must develop a court-approved parenting plan that addresses how responsibility for decisions about their children will be shared and a plan for the children’s living arrangements. When developing this second part, also known as the allocation of parenting time, some decisions must be defined. 

Parenting Time Schedule

Parents getting divorced will need to address:

  • How parents will share parenting time - If the children’s time between the parents is split relatively equally, with each parent having at least 40 percent of the nights each year, they are considered to have shared parenting arrangement. This split can influence how child support is calculated but does not change any other rights or responsibilities of the parents.

  • What the schedule for parenting time looks like - This will cover which specific days each child is residing with each parent. It can be determined on a formula basis or day-by-day on a calendar.

  • How the basic logistics of splitting the children’s time will work - It is helpful for the parents to work out details like transportation between homes, the preferred method of communication between them, and other essential details. This will help avoid future conflicts.

  • What happens if the plan needs to change - Unless there has been a significant change to the circumstances of either parent or the children, you are required to follow the original court-approved plan. However, your plan can include room for flexibility and allow for certain types of changes if both parents approve them.

Parents are encouraged to work together to develop the entire parenting plan, but the court must approve it. If they cannot agree, they may each develop their own plans, which are then submitted to the court for consideration, resulting in a court-developed plan.

Trust a Will County Family Law Attorney

If you need assistance through your divorce, including the development of a parenting plan and the allocation of parenting time, the Joliet parenting plan lawyers of Law Offices of Tedone and Morton, P.C. can help. Our experienced attorneys will keep the needs of you and your children first. Call our office today at 815-666-1285 for a free consultation.


b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_85725289.jpg Divorcing your spouse presents many complex situations such as division of assets, determining financial responsibilities, and, when children are involved, agreeing upon child custody arrangements. Dealing with children during a divorce is difficult for all family members. Typically, parents and the court try to remain neutral and make arrangements that are in the children's best interests when determining custody. However, there are circumstances where parents are not awarded the custody or parenting time they would like with their children. Extenuating circumstances from the parent's past may present a hurdle when fighting for child custody.

Having a Criminal Record While Fighting For Custody

When judges determine custody during a divorce, they will consider many different factors. As mentioned, the court wants to create the best environment for the children. The judge will take into account:

  • Which parent is remaining in the marital home

  • Where each parent will be living 

  • The amount of parenting time a parent already dedicates to the children 

  • The family dynamic 

  • The wishes of the children 

  • Any circumstances that could be harmful to the children 

These circumstances are evaluated to determine a parent's fitness in having custody. Parental fitness includes a parent's ability to be responsible and keep the children safe. If a parent were to have a criminal record, the court would consider the type of crime, when it occurred, and whether the crime involved children.  

How the Type of Crime Affects You

If a parent fighting for custody has a criminal record, the type of crime will be considered by the court. Typically, non-violent crimes affect parenting time, visitation, and custody much less than violent crimes. Violent crimes that may affect your ability to retain custody of your children include sexual offenses, assault, or battery. For example, a previous conviction for child sex abuse would be much more likely to influence the court’s decision than a single conviction for drunk driving. 

Once the type of crime has been analyzed, the court will consider when the crime took place and how the parent turned their life around since then. A crime that occurred many years ago is less likely to hinder your ability to have custody than a criminal record from a few months ago. 

Adjusted Custody and Parenting Plans

If the court deems a parent unfit to have custody due to criminal behavior, there are still options available. The court may put the parent on a sort of probationary period — a parent may have to attend drug or alcohol classes and take drug tests to remain in the child's life. As a parent continues to prove their ability to follow the law, more and more parenting time can be awarded. Individuals can modify their parenting plans as new information becomes available.

Speak to a Will County Child Custody Lawyer

At the Law Offices of Tedone and Morton, P.C., our Will County family and divorce lawyers have the experience to help represent clients in child custody disputes. If you are a parent looking to retain custody, we have the resources to help you understand your situation and prepare you for the future. Please reach out to us at 815-666-1285 to schedule a free consultation with our 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.



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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.



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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.


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