Tag Archives: child custody

Review Your Parenting Plan for Holiday Arrangements

holiday, DuPage County family law attorneyIn about two weeks, families throughout the United States will get together to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. As you might expect, traditions often vary from one family to the next, but for most people, the most important part of the holiday season is the opportunity to visit with friends and loved ones—many who have traveled a great distance to be part of the festivities. If you are a divorced parent, however, planning for the holidays can be difficult as you most likely will need to coordinate your plans with those of your child’s other parent.

Rotating Holidays?

Illinois law provides that a parenting plan following a divorce must include a parenting time schedule. Must parenting plans also include provisions that indicate where and how the child will spend certain holidays, depending on which holidays are a priority for which parent. For example, if Thanksgiving is a major holiday among your extended family but not so much for the other parent’s family, your agreement could stipulate that your child is to stay with you each year at Thanksgiving. In other situations, an alternating or split holiday schedules may be more appropriate.

It is also possible for your parenting plan to be silent on the issue of holidays or leave such considerations to be determined by mutual agreement each year. If this describes your parenting plan, you will need to make your plans soon.

Travel and Other Considerations

Each year, millions of Americans travel significant distances to spend holidays with friends and family in other states. If travel will be part of your holiday plans and you want your child to come with you, you may need to carve out several days day to make it happen. Communicate with your ex-spouse about taking a few days to celebrate Thanksgiving in another state. Let him or her know that you have a safe, comfortable place to stay and that you will be a positive role model for your children throughout the trip.

In return, you may need to offer a similar consideration in the future—another holiday, for example. Alternatively, maybe you would be willing to sacrifice an upcoming weekend with your children in exchange for the extra time to allow your child to travel with you.

Be Flexible

You should also be ready to keep an open mind if the other parent approaches you regarding traveling with your child. While it may not be your ideal situation, being accommodating and flexible can allow your child to make the most of the holiday season. It also can help create trust between you and the other parent that can last far beyond Thanksgiving and Christmas.

If you have concerns about how to exercise your rights to spend holidays with your children, contact an experienced DuPage County family law attorney. Call 630-871-1002 for a free consultation with a member of our team today.




What Is a Guardian ad Litem?

guardian ad litem, Wheaton family law attorneyDivorce does not only affect you and your spouse. It can affect your extended family, and most certainly, your children. Sometimes, especially if your divorce is drawn out and complicated, it can be useful to have a person who is specifically invested in protecting your children’s interests, as they can occasionally get lost in the shuffle. This is the role of a guardian ad litem (GAL).

GALs in Illinois

A GAL’s role differs in different states. In Illinois, they are essentially advocates for children who the subject of parental responsibilities proceedings. In most cases, such proceedings are part of the divorce process. However, GALs do not concern themselves with questions of property or fault. Their aim is entirely to obtain enough information to make a recommendation on what outcome would be in the child or children’s best interests, though they may not advise the child directly. They do this through interviews with the children and parents and accessing records which might shed light on each parent’s financial, physical, and mental situation.

Many states permit only GALs to advocate for children’s interests in divorce cases. However, Illinois also recognizes what the court calls a child representative. A court may also simply provide an attorney for a child, who then owes the exact same duties of confidentiality, respect and competent representation as they would to an adult client. The primary difference between the roles is that a GAL may be called to testify in divorce court about their recommendations and the information they used to make that recommendation, while a child representative or attorney may not testify or be cross-examined. They may only present arguments and evidence in accordance with the Rules of Civil Procedure.

A GAL is not partisan; his or her aim is to serve the best interests of the children, not to obtain a more favorable result for either party. As such, any recommendation he or she makes is public record, and none of the associated communications are privileged, unlike those of a representative or attorney.

Which Is Best for Your Case?

With these specifically defined roles for advocates, it might be confusing and difficult to determine if your child needs the services of one, and if so, which role would suit your situation best.

Generally, in Illinois, judges will appoint the advocate whose role best fits the situation on a case by case basis, though in some courts, representatives are appointed as a matter of course. Child representatives are often deemed the most useful because their role can be flexible, serving both as an advocate and fact-finder. However, guardians ad litem may be preferred in cases where a child is very young, or when the parents are untrustworthy (such as in cases of suspected abuse). If a child is old enough to comprehend the nature of the proceedings, and engage meaningfully with a lawyer, the court may appoint an attorney for the child.

Be advised that in rare cases, you and your spouse may have to ask the court for a guardian ad litem to be appointed. Most judges will do so of their own volition if they feel it is necessary, but it is possible for parents to make such a request, though it usually means they may be responsible for more of the associated costs.

A Legal Professional Can Assist You

If you are in the midst of a child-related legal battle and you want to make certain your children are protected, contact an experienced family law attorney in DuPage County. Call 630-871-1002 for a free consultation with the Andrew Cores Family Law Group today.




Back to School Co-Parenting

back to school, DuPage County family law attorneysThe stores are filled with sales on pencils, notebooks, folders, and backpacks. This could only mean one thing: it is back-to-school season! If you are a parent, you have probably been buying supplies, meeting new teachers, and getting back into the swing of the school year. Things may be especially chaotic if you have recently split from your spouse. How can parents manage school schedules and responsibilities while sharing parental responsibilities with their ex? There is no perfect way to co-parent but experts do have some advice for newly divorced parents helping their child go back to school.

  • Do not be afraid to involve the school staff. If you are worried about how your child will deal with the strain of school on top of dealing with a changing family, you are not alone. Many families have found themselves in a similar position. The teachers, counselors and other school staff have probably helped dozens of students through such family changes. Do not be afraid to reach out and let your child’s teacher know what is going on at home.
  • Check the school’s website for valuable information. As technology becomes a greater and greater part of our everyday lives, many schools are utilizing the internet in order to communicate with parents. Make sure you get on any email or text lists your child’s school may use and check out the school’s website for information. Many schools even post grades online so that parents can see how their children are doing in their classes.
  • Get on a consistent schedule. Parenting experts agree that children thrive when their lives are predictable and scheduled. If it is possible, talk to your ex and work out when the child will wake up and when he or she will go to sleep. Will he or she finish homework before or after dinner? Try to have a similar schedule and rules as the child’s other parent.
  • Avoid burdening your child with adult worries. As tempting as it is to “trash-talk” a deadbeat ex, doing so will only burden your child with information that they are not equipped to handle. Even if you do not get along with the child’s other parent, remember that they are still an important part of your child’s life. If you need to have a tough conversation with your ex, stick to the facts, and keep the details between the adults.
  • Communicate with the other parent. Those who share a child with an ex-spouse are in a different situation than those who do not. Divorced couples who do not have children are able to make a clean break from each other. Once a divorce is finalized, they can move on with their lives. Couples who share a child do not have this ability. Even though you have decided not to be in a romantic relationship with your child’s other parent, you will still have to communicate with him or her regarding your child’s well-being. It can be a difficult process but your child will be happier and healthier for it.

We Can Help

If the back-to-school season has revealed issues that need to be addressed in your parenting plan, contact an experienced Wheaton family law attorney. Call 630-871-1002 for a free consultation with the Andrew Cores Family Law Group today.