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High Point Plaza, 4415 West Harrison Street, Suite 213
Hillside, IL 60162

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Oak Park divorce attorney parenting time

The period immediately following your divorce can be among the most challenging times of your and your family members’ lives. If you are a newly divorced person who shares children with your former spouse, you and your kids may be entering into uncharted waters over the next few months. Both you and your children are likely to be experiencing a sense of grief, though this emotion arises differently for different people. There is no “one size fits all” approach to overcoming your post-divorce emotions, but how you handle the transition period can help your kids move forward into your new future as a family more resilient than before.

Build a Unified Gameplan

As previously mentioned, there are no cookie cutter means by which to make this transition feel natural. You and your co-parent should, however, have a clear understanding of how you will proceed in terms of caring for your kids and maintaining a civil, if not amicable, relationship. You should have a specific plan of action before notifying your children that divorce is your next step as a family. Who will live where? How often will they stay with their other parent? Where is their other parent moving to? You should have answers to all of these questions so that you are prepared to present your kids with a unified front moving forward. This will reassure them that despite your impending divorce, both of their parents will continue to be actively involved in their lives.

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Hillside divorce attorneyWhen the thought of divorce becomes a real possibility, couples can face a few different options: try to make things work with some additional help, separate to see if divorce is the right decision, or move forward with the divorce. Many couples will actually go through each of these options before determining that divorce is in fact the right choice moving forward. No one is expected to know that divorce is the right choice from the get-go, which is why many marriage counselors and professionals will suggest a trial period of separation before starting a divorce case. Whether you and your spouse decide to try a trial separation, or sign legal separation documents, there are some things that you should know.

Update to Illinois Law

Before 2016, those filing for divorce in Illinois were required to provide a reason for their divorce, such as infidelity, and to live apart for a certain period of time before filing. The law was updated four years ago to reflect the most accurate ground for divorce: irreconcilable differences. This term means that there has been an irretrievable breakdown of the marriage, and that neither spouse wishes to be married any longer. Irreconcilable differences is now the only ground for divorce available in Illinois. The updated law also no longer requires couples to be separated for a specific period of time before filing for divorce. If, however, one spouse does not agree to the divorce, six months of separation is considered enough evidence of irreconcilable differences in an Illinois court of law. 

Why Separate?

Even though separation is no longer required, many couples will continue to live separately for months, or even years, before going through with their divorce. Living separately can typically give couples the clarity that they need regarding their relationship. Do they prefer living on their own or do they miss their partner? Are their arguments inconsolable or did they just need some space to realize that the fights are not that important of a problem? Living on your own can give you perspective on what life will be like once your divorce is finalized, and your feelings during this trial period can often tell you about your true desires for the future.

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Hillside guardianship attorneyEvery child deserves to live in a loving household, with the ideal goal being two loving parents who can care for them. In today’s world, however, this is not always the case. Some families have single parents, others have blended households, and some children lose their parents at a young age. If a child’s parents die unexpectedly, and a Will that outlines those parents’ wishes was not  prepared,,  a  court will need to determine what the next best course of action will be regarding who will take care of the child. Throughout the U.S., anyone under the age of 18 is considered a minor and must have a legal guardian caring for them. For some children, this  could require another family member taking care of them , while for other children, foster care may be their only option. 

Determining Legal Guardianship

Older children who have a younger sibling will often seek to become their legal guardian and thereby keep their brother or sister outside of the foster care system. While this is an admirable goal, it is not always feasible, and it is ultimately up to a  court to make this decision. It may seem like the obvious choice to keep siblings together, but there are a number of circumstances that must be considered before the court will allow this arrangement to become legally enforceable. According to Illinois law, a legal guardian must meet the following criteria:

  • At least 18 years of age;

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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 guardianship attorneyTaking on the responsibility of becoming another person’s legal guardian is laudable, but it can also be very difficult. This is especially true for children who are becoming their parents’ legal guardian. Having to take on the role of caregiver to your own parent can be physically and emotionally taxing, and some people may not even know if their parents meet the criteria for needing a legal guardian. Before taking legal action on behalf of your loved one, review your ability to become a legal guardian, as well as the common signs that show they need this additional support.

Who Can Be a Guardian?

When petitioning to become a legal guardian, there are a few minimum requirements that you must meet, before a judge can even determine if you are the right person to fulfill this role. Under Illinois law, legal guardians must: be at least 18 years of age, be of “sound mind,” have never been convicted of a serious crime, and be deemed a suitable guardian by the court. In addition, those who wish to become a legal guardian must demonstrate their ability to provide a suitable plan in their role as guardian. 

Is My Loved One in Need of a Guardian?

Most adult children can recognize the signs that their parents need additional assistance in one form or another. This may be physical help, financial guidance, or just assistance in making decisions in general. The state of Illinois provides a list of questions to consider for those who think that their loved one may be on the path towards needing guardianship; if you are in this situation, consider the following questions before seeking legal help to secure guardianship:

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