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Hillside, IL 60162

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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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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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Illinois divorce lawyerIt used to be said that children were resilient, and they could recover easily from divorce. We now know this is not true. Recent studies suggest that children may experience a host of problems both during and after divorce, from emotional, behavioral and mental health problems, to maladjustment and developmental issues. Thankfully, parents can mitigate against such problems. The following information explains how.

Strive for a Child-Centered Divorce

It might not have felt this way, but your child has always been separate from your marriage. Yes, you and your spouse may have conceived and parented together, but the relationship that each of you has with your child is individual, special, and unique. Though the marriage is ending, the bond between the child and each parent will remain. Parents who remember this and strive to protect not just their own relationship with the child, but also the child’s relationship with the other parent, often see fewer negative issues in their children during and after the divorce process. So, put away the team shirt, watch what you say around your child, and avoid oversharing details about the divorce and you may successfully protect your child’s need for unconditional love, time, and attention from both of their parents.

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Oak Park family law attorneyMost divorce information sources highlight the benefits of cooperative parenting, but this model is not right for every family. In fact, some parents and children may benefit more from the parallel parenting model. The following outlines the parallel parenting model and explains what it is, when it may be the most appropriate solution, and how parents can make it work for their family.

What is Parallel Parenting?

Like cooperative parenting, the overall goal of parallel parenting is to ensure the child has a close and healthy relationship with each parent, but the method by which parallel parents reach their goal is nearly the opposite to that of cooperative parents. One of the biggest differences is the level and type of interaction between parents; cooperative parenting encourages active communication, but parallel parenting strives to reduce contention by minimizing contact. It essentially encourages each parent to work on their relationship with the child, rather than their relationship with one another.

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