Tag Archives: DuPage County family law attorney

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.




Visitation for Non-Parents in Illinois

visitation, Wheaton family law attorneyFor many families, it is considered a blessing to have large numbers relatives interested in visiting one another and helping raise children in a loving environment. In other situations, however, the family relationships may be strained, and a person with children may choose to limit his or her child’s interaction with other members of the child’s family. If you have been prevented from seeing or interacting with a child in your own immediate or extended family, it is important to understand how the law applies in such situations.

Stepparent Visitation

Under Illinois law, stepparents have no inherent rights to visitation if the child’s biological parent (at least one) does not consent. However, since 1998, there has been some movement toward changing this. After a series of decisions involving the question of stepparents seeking visitation from parents who were still in the proverbial picture, Illinois courts essentially recognized that stepparents might have standing, or the legal capacity to bring suit over a specific alleged wrong. However, even with standing, most stepparents are not able to obtain visitation without a significant fight.

A stepparent may only ask for visitation, assuming the biological parent does not consent, if the biological parents are disabled, deceased or otherwise unable to consent. If one or both parents are deceased, then a stepparent may petition for either parenting time or full allocation of parental responsibilities. Certain criteria must be met, including the stepparent having been married to the biological parent for at least 5 years, as well as the child being at least 12 years old and wanting to have a relationship with the stepparent.

Grandparent and Sibling Visitation

Siblings and grandparents of minor children occupy a slightly different position under Illinois law. They must prove that there has been an “unreasonable denial” of visitation, which can be difficult, but not impossibleAt least one of the following conditions must be met, as well as the child’s parent unreasonably denying the visitation:

  • The other parent of the child in question has been out of the picture (either deceased or missing) for at least three months;
  • One or both of the child’s parents have been declared legally incompetent;
  • One or both parents have been incarcerated for at least three months prior to the petition;
  • The child’s parents are in the middle of a divorce and at least one parent does not object to the visitation; and/or
  • The child was born out of wedlock (to parents not living as a couple) and the petitioner is a sibling or grandparent. Legal paternity is required for paternal grandparents or siblings to have standing.


Be advised that “visitation” can mean not only in-person visits, but also reasonable electronic communication, if it is ordered. This may be easier for some, and more parents are likely to consent to it if the child can remain with them while interacting electronically with other family members.

Ask an Attorney

If your grandchild, sibling or stepchild is in a situation where you would like obtain visitation privileges, an experienced DuPage County family law attorney can help you explore your available options. Call 630-871-1002 for a free consultation today.




The Legality of Destination Weddings

wedding, DuPage County family law attorneyTravel sites estimate that approximately 20 percent of all U.S. marriages involve destination weddings. They can be an extremely attractive option for many couples, especially if the climate in your hometown is not ideal for the wedding you imagine. However, there can be legal pitfalls if you do not properly research the law in your chosen destination. Symbolic ceremonies are common, but if you plan for your marriage ceremony to be binding and it is not, problems could develop down the road.

What Is Required?

While the specifics will obviously depend on the country in question, many countries require documents which prove that both parties have the ability and the agency to marry. For example, officials may ask for your passport, birth certificate, and a copy of any relevant divorce decree from a previous relationship. It is also possible that they will ask for an Affidavit of Eligibility to Marry or an affidavit of single status. While there is no universally accepted form for this, many consulates do have their own, so it is important to plan ahead.

It is also common in many countries, especially in Europe, to require a residency period before any marriage conducted there is held to be valid. For example, France mandates that one or both participants in the wedding must be resident in France for at least one month before they can marry. However, Italy has no requirements of this sort. Checking beforehand can save untold amounts of time and money.

Can My Embassy Help?

In the area of marriage, there is not much that the U.S. embassy or consulate is legally able to do to help with your marriage or to rescue you from the consequences of an oversight. As a general rule, no marriages may be performed by Foreign Service personnel, on or off the premises of the embassy. If you require information, local authorities are often the best to ask rather than U.S. consular personnel. The legality of a marriage is not based on whether the Foreign Service is present or not, but rather on whether you have followed the relevant laws of the country in question.

One area where the U.S. embassy may be of assistance is in authentication or notarization of documents. Some countries request relevant documents, but will only accept them if they have been notarized by U.S. consular officials to ensure authenticity. With sufficient notice, you are generally able to have your documents authenticated at your embassy or consulate in time for your ceremony.

Ask a Legal Professional

Faced with what can be stringent requirements, many couples simply elect to have a symbolic ceremony in an exotic destination, saving the actual legal marriage for when they are back in the United States. If you decide you still want your memorable wedding to be the legal one, contact an experienced DuPage County family law attorney. Call 630-871-1002 for a free consultation at Andrew Cores Family Law Group today.