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

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Oak Park, IL divorce order modification lawyerIn some divorce cases, a couple may change their minds or disagree about certain issues even after the divorce is final. For example, if a person believes his or her ex-spouse violated the divorce decree, he or she can file a “post-decree motion” to enforce the terms of the divorce decree. Similarly, a change in one or both of the former spouses’ circumstances, such as a job loss or relocation, may require amendment or modification of the divorce decree, especially if a child is involved. These modifications or post-decree matters must be approved by a judge and should be fair to each spouse and in the best interests of the child.  

Parental Responsibilities and Child Support

The majority of post-decree matters deal with disputes over child-related issues. Parental responsibilities (formerly called child custody) and parenting time (formerly known as visitation) are determined during the initial divorce proceedings. However, changes may be necessary in some cases, such as when one parent would like to have more parenting time with his or her child. 

In any case that involves children under the age of 18, the court in which the original divorce decree was issued maintains its authority to decide future child-related matters. The parent requesting a change in the allocation of parental responsibilities or parenting time must prove to a court all of the following:

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Hillside stepparent adoption lawyerMany people who get divorced often find love and happiness again in second marriages. A step-family, sometimes called a “blended” or “bonus” family, is a family in which at least one parent has children from a previous marriage or relationship. Blended families can be wonderful, especially when step-parents wish to adopt the children of their spouse as a way of making their family more “complete.” This is referred to as a related adoption, since one of the adoptive parents is related to the child who is being adopted. In fact, this is the most common form of adoption in North America. 

A step-parent who adopts his or her stepchild agrees to become that child’s legal parent and to be fully responsible for the child until the child is an adult. Once the adoption is final, the other biological parent’s name is replaced with the adopting parent’s name on the child’s birth certificate. In some cases, the child’s name may also be changed on the birth certificate.

Usually, a step-parent adoption is easier and takes less time to accomplish than other kinds of adoption. While other adoptions usually involve two new parents, a step-parent adoption basically just “replaces” one parent. In addition, a court will typically expedite the adoption process when one of the parents is deceased, since it is in the best interests of the child to have two parents. In this situation, a step-parent will just need to show the death certificate as proof.

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Hillside divorce lawyer fathers' rightsEvery year, thousands of American couples make the difficult decision to pursue a divorce. A divorce can represent an opportunity to start a new and independent life. However, when children are involved, the divorce process can be incredibly tense. For fathers, a divorce can be frightening, considering the overwhelming statistical evidence that the majority of sole-custody parents are mothers. If you are looking to secure significant parental responsibilities as a father, you need quality legal assistance. 

Securing Parenting Time and Parental Responsibilities 

Due to recent changes in Illinois’ state law, child custody is now referred to as the “allocation of parental responsibilities.” While both parents will typically receive some amount of “parenting time” (as long as there are no issues regarding domestic abuse or other criminal activity), one parent may still be the primary residential parent. As a father, it is important to understand the steps you need to take in order to remain a primary figure in your child’s life, including: 

Be Engaged: Under the new state law, the courts in Illinois can grant a parent decision-making rights regarding four primary subjects: religion, education, health, and extracurricular activities. In order to have an opportunity to either reach an agreement with your former spouse or be awarded the rights in these areas, it is important for you to be highly engaged in your children’s lives. 

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Hillside parenting time attorneyWhen it comes to divorce cases, some of the most contentious issues that can arise are those pertaining to a couple’s children. Before you are able to conclude your divorce, the court will want you and your soon-to-be ex to submit a mutually-agreed-upon, written parenting plan. This parenting plan should contain information about parenting time schedules, who has what decision-making rights, dealing with the child’s school holidays, and other issues pertaining to the child. If both parents cannot come to an agreement on a parenting plan, the court will make the parenting plan decisions for the parents.

Determining Factors

Illinois family law courts start out with the presumption that each parent is a fit parent and that no restrictions should be placed on his or her parenting time, unless it is found that the parenting time would endanger the child’s physical, mental, moral, or emotional health. All decisions pertaining to the child need to be based on the child’s best interests. A number of factors are considered when determining parenting time, including:

  • The wishes of each parent;
  • The wishes of the child, taking into account the child’s age and maturity level;
  • The amount of time each parent has spent taking care of the child in the past two years;
  • The interaction of the child with his or her parents, siblings and any other person who would affect the child’s best interests;
  • The child’s adjustment to his or her home, school, and community;
  • The mental and physical health of all involved;
  • The child’s needs;
  • The ease of the child transitioning between parents;
  • The willingness of each parent to place the needs of the child before his or her own needs;
  • The ability of each parent to facilitate a loving relationship between the child and the other parent;
  • Whether or not there is a history or possibility of abuse in either household.

An Oak Park, IL Parenting Time Lawyer Can Help

It is never easy to get a divorce, and especially when there are children involved. Usually, it is best for everyone if you and your spouse can come to an agreement on a parenting plan before you go to court. This can be accomplished in meetings with your spouse and their attorney or through mediation. However, in the event that you must have the judge make decisions pertaining to your child, a highly-experienced Hillside divorce attorney can greatly help you. At the Law Office of Vincent C. Machroli, P.C., we can help you protect your parental rights and your child’s interests. Call our office today at 708-449-7400 to schedule a free consultation.

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Hillside child support attorney divorce paternityWhen an unmarried couple has a child but later splits up, or when a married couple gets a divorce, or when a couple was not in a relationship to begin with, it is typically necessary to set up child support in which one parent makes a recurring payment to the other parent for the benefit of the child. While this is often achieved without difficulty, that is not always the case.

Child Support for Divorced Parents 

During the divorce process, child support is one of the most important child-related issues to resolve, along with the allocation of parental responsibilities (formerly referred to as custody) and parenting time (previously called visitation). In 2017, Illinois adopted what is known as an “income-sharing model” for calculating child support, in an attempt to allow children to maintain the same standard of living as they would have if their parents were married.

Child support amounts are determined from a table provided by the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (IDHFS), which takes the combined monthly net income of the parents and assigns a corresponding support figure which increases according to the number of children the parents share. Each parent is responsible for a portion of this amount based on how much they contribute to the combined income.

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