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Joliet Child Custody Lawyer

Children are growing up in a world that bears almost no resemblance to the world in which their parents grew up. From smartphones to remote learning, it can seem as if everything is different. If you are a parent and you plan to share custody with your ex, you may worry about how you and the other parent will manage child-related matters as divorced or separated co-parents. There is no way to completely eliminate parenting disagreements. However, many co-parents find that they can avoid future conflict by discussing child-related matters and making a parenting plan before these issues arise. As you and your child's other parent start building your parenting plan, make sure to consider the following technology-related matters.

Screen Time Limits

Many parents worry about the effects of too much "screen time," or time in front of a television or computer screen, on their children. Excessive screen time is associated with obesity, reduced social skills, sleep problems, and even developmental delays. It will be easier to enforce screen time limits if you and your child's other parent are on the same page about the amount of time your children should spend on computers, tablets, and other electronic devices.

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What to Consider When Allocating Parenting Time

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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.

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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

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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.

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How Is Child Custody Determined in an Illinois Divorce?

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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.

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