Divorce is always an emotional process, but it can become increasingly difficult if children are involved. Parents who are unhappy in their marriage will often stay together for the sake of the kids, without realizing that this is actually not always best. Exposing your children to a contentious, unhappy marriage can leave longer-lasting effects than ending your marriage and putting your own happiness first. If kids see their parents suffering through an unhappy marriage, they are more likely to follow in their footsteps and remain in an unsatisfying relationship themselves.
Illinois divorce law mandates a number of areas that must be addressed by parents during the divorce process. These parenting details will be outlined in a parenting plan, which will be legally enforceable until the child turns 18. If you are going through divorce in Illinois, a Naperville divorce lawyer can help address topics that should be included in your parenting plan and work with you to reach an agreement that will provide for your child’s best interests.
Things Parents Should Know When Filing For Divorce in Illinois
Within your parenting plan, you will need to determine the role and responsibilities of each parent moving forward. In some cases, both parents will continue to play an active role in their children’s lives, while in others, one parent takes on the primary parenting role. If you are pursuing divorce litigation, a judge will make these determinations in the best interests of the child, but if you and your spouse are able to work together to make decisions, you may be able to reach an agreement through negotiation, mediation, or collaborative law.
Divorcing parents who decide to share their parenting responsibilities will need to specify who has the authority to make decisions regarding the kids’ education, healthcare treatments, religion, and extracurricular activities. It does not have to be only one parent or the other who can make these decisions, and in many cases, one parent will be required to receive explicit permission from the other before making any major decisions.
Also known as physical custody or visitation, parenting time refers to the time that children will spend in the care of each parent. You and your spouse will need to create a schedule that divides your children’s time between the two of you. This schedule will outline who the child will be staying with each night of the week, as well as during holidays or school vacations.
Parenting schedules can vary greatly depending on your personal schedules and the roles you have played as a parent during your marriage. Your divorce attorney will be able to provide you with examples of common parenting schedules or help you and your spouse create a unique schedule that works best for your family.
In most cases, one parent will be considered the custodial parent, and this is typically the parent who has the majority of the parenting time. The other parent will typically be responsible for paying child support on a monthly basis. This support is meant to provide for children’s basic needs, and parents may also need to divide the costs of other child-related expenses, such as medical insurance, educational costs, or extracurricular activities. The amount of child support will be determined by the court using the guidelines defined in Illinois law. Factors that are included in the calculation of child support include both parents’ incomes, the number of children, each parent’s amount of parenting time, and other financial circumstances that may affect the parents and children.
Some divorcees choose to move to a new location to have a fresh start after their divorce is finalized. Others may need to move based on their job requirements. If you are a parent, relocating is not as simple as picking a city and packing your things. Illinois law requires a parent to receive permission from the court if they will be relocating with their children to a new home that is a certain distance away from their current home. If the other parent objects to a relocation, a parent will need to demonstrate that the relocation would be in the child’s best interests. In some cases, you may be able to address how you would like future relocations to be handled in your parenting plan to avoid conflict or confusion in these matters.
The complexities of divorce law exist whether children are involved or not. However, these cases can become more complex and taxing once kids get added to the mix. It is imperative that you find a divorce attorney who has experience working with families to ensure that you, your co-parent, and your kids are given trustworthy guidance throughout the divorce process. Gaps in your parenting plan can leave you unsure of how to handle circumstances when they arise in the future. By working with a DuPage County family law attorney, you can be sure all issues have been addressed properly, and you can prepare for success as a parent once your divorce has been finalized.
Tricia D. Goostree knew she wanted to be an attorney when she was 10 years old. After being accepted to the John Marshall Law School with a Dean’s Scholarship, Tricia added excellent writing skills to her love of working in the courtroom. Tricia is the founder and managing partner of the Goostree Law Group, P.C. in St. Charles, Illinois. www.familydivorcelaw.com