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Oak Park divorce attorney parenting time

When a couple with children gets divorced, they must make several decisions regarding the children’s care and upbringing going forward. In most cases, both parents will be awarded a designated amount of parenting time (visitation) depending on the allocation of parental responsibilities (child custody) between them. A "right of first refusal" is a subject which arises when a parent intends to leave his or her child with a caregiver for a portion of his or her normal parenting time; that parent must first ask the child’s other parent if he or she can watch the child instead. Parents may reach an agreement on this subject in their divorce, but if they cannot agree, the court will consider whether to award one or both parties a “right of first refusal” in connection with caring for a child during the other parent's regular visitation time. 

Parenting Time 

A substitute caregiver for a child might be a babysitter, a second spouse, a family member, a close friend or a neighbor. Any involved parties should always consider first and foremost the child's best interest. When the court awards a “right of first refusal” in an Illinois divorce, the judge's award will typically clarify the following: 

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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 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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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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