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Law Office of Vincent C. Machroli, P.C.
High Point Plaza, 4415 West Harrison Street, Suite 213, Hillside, IL 60162
High Point Plaza, 4415 West Harrison Street, Suite 213
Hillside, IL 60162

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Hillside divorce attorneyIf you are a parent who is filing for divorce, there are certain aspects of your current everyday schedule which will now need to be reevaluated. For instance, your responsibilities as a parent,  which likely come naturally to you, will be reviewed and divided between you and your ex-spouse in a process known as allocation of parental responsibilities. The time that you spend with your kids will no longer be around the clock, but rather, will be scheduled and known as parenting time, or visitation. As part of the legal process, the court will be assessing your role and competency as a parent, which in some cases can lead to restrictions in the form of supervised parenting time.

What Does Supervised Parenting Time Entail?

No one enjoys the feeling of being scrutinized for their parental decisions and abilities. However,  this is a part of the divorce process if you and your spouse share children. In most cases, this evaluation will be fairly quick and the court will divide the responsibilities and parenting time fairly equally. In more contentious cases, tho, a judge may require one parent’s visitation time to be monitored by a third party. If the judge determines that you are in any way a danger to your child, or unable to fully perform your parenting duties, a court-appointed official will be present during your parenting time to monitor your parenting abilities. This is often a temporary order before the court makes a final decision, which is why the way that you handle these orders can ultimately determine your parenting role moving forward.

Tips for Dealing With Supervised Visitation

Hearing that the time you get to spend with your child will be supervised can be devastating. However, despite any frustration or anger that you may be feeling, it is critical to properly deal with the court order to present your best self to the court and quickly adjust to  this kind of stringent order. Below are some tips for making the most of your supervised visitation, while also giving the court  the best impression of you:

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Hillside parenting planNow into its eighth month of significant impact in the U.S., COVID-19 continues to be a daily concern in all areas of life. In public, masks and social distancing are required. In the workplace, many are continuing to work remotely to avoid infection. And in schools, each district has its own arrangements for how students are completing their assignments. Illinois is now in its fourth phase of the reopening process, with stay-at-home orders now ended but group gatherings continuing to be restricted. 

Since the start of the COVID-19 restrictions, divorced parents have still had to continue abiding by their existing court-mandated parenting plans. This includes each parent’s scheduled parenting time as well as their child’s dual living arrangements. Due to the unpredictability of COVID-19 and the vulnerability of particular populations, at the present time, some families may be unsure of how to navigate these unprecedented circumstances.

Key Considerations for Two-Household Families

Most children with divorced parents split their time between two households. Even if your arrangement typically works well for your family, you may feel that you now need to adjust the situation based on your health circumstances with regard to COVID-19. If you believe that adjustments need to be made in the interests of your child’s health and your health as a parent, you should consider the following questions:

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Oak Park, IL parenting plan lawyerIn 2016, the way in which Illinois courts determine child custody was changed substantially. The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA ) now calls child custody “the allocation of parental responsibilities,” and visitation is now referred to as “parenting time.” Divorcing parents must fill out a “parenting plan” document which states each parent’s parenting time and parenting responsibilities, as well as certain child-related rights and requirements. Reaching decisions about these issues can be challenging – especially in the midst of a contentious divorce. In some cases, the court will make decisions about parental responsibilities and parenting time for the parents.

Resolving Parenting Plan Disputes

Illinois parenting plans must contain a number of provisions, including provisions that address the following:

  • How significant decisions about the child will be made;
  • A parenting time schedule that explains when the child will live with each parent;
  • How any future modifications to the parenting plan will be handled;
  • Transportation arrangements;
  • Each parent’s right to access information about the child, such as medical records and school reports; and
  • Several other child-related concerns.

Understandably, many divorcing parents have strong feelings about the provisions of the parenting plan. This can make it difficult for many parents to reach an agreement. Before the case is heard in an Illinois court, the parents are typically required to participate in family law mediation. During mediation, the parents work with a neutral mediator who helps them discuss the disputed issues in a constructive, non-adversarial way.  A skilled divorce lawyer may also help parents negotiate a parenting plan, without the need for court intervention.

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Oak Park divorce attorney parental alienation

Rarely are divorces completely amicable, without any disagreements throughout the divorce proceedings. Divorce often can be an emotional, life-altering process that can be difficult for some people to deal with in a healthy manner. When children are involved, many times the disagreements can increase. Unfortunately, some divorcing parents wrongfully involve their children in their disputes with their soon-to-be-former spouse, and some parents even deliberately attempt to turn their children against their other parent. These kinds of attempts are known as “parental alienation syndrome.” If you suspect that this is occurring in your divorce, you should contact a skilled family lawyer to help protect your rights with regard to your children throughout the case.

Is Parental Alienation Diagnosable?

The term “parental alienation syndrome” (PAS) was coined in 1985 by a child psychiatrist who noticed certain symptoms in children who were exposed to parental alienation attempts. This kind of alienation can occur when one parent attempts to negatively influence his or her children’s relationship with their other parent, sometimes out of jealousy for that parent-child relationship, or sometimes as a way to supposedly hurt his or her former spouse. Whether or not the negative effects of parental alienation are actually a “syndrome” is questioned by some mental health professionals. The American Psychiatric and Psychological Associations do not recognize PAS as a mental health condition, nor can it be diagnosed by a professional; however, the damaging effects of parental alienation on children can many times be apparent.

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Oak Park, IL parenting time lawyer

If you are going through a divorce, you will need to make a variety of difficult decisions involving the separation of your life, your finances, and your property from your spouse. While this can be a lot to deal with, the situation can become even more complicated if you and your spouse have children, because both of you will need to address the allocation of parental responsibilities (formerly known as child custody in Illinois), as well as parenting time (formerly known as visitation), and the decisions about these issues will be written down in an agreement known as a parenting plan, which will be part of your divorce decree. When creating a parenting plan, it is important to work with an experienced family law attorney to ensure that your parental rights and your child’s best interests are protected.

Creating a Parenting Plan

A parenting plan is a legal document that addresses the responsibilities that each parent will have during a child’s upbringing. These responsibilities include making decisions regarding the child’s education, religion, healthcare, and extracurricular activities, and the authority to make decisions in each of these areas may be shared by the parents, or allocated to one parent. Furthermore, a parenting plan will specify where the child will live, the schedule of each parent’s parenting time, and the rules regarding transportation. It may also include the right of first refusal to ensure that a parent will be able to care for their child if the other parent is unavailable during his or her scheduled parenting time.

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