Wheaton, IL complex child custody lawyerIn Illinois, the term “child custody” was replaced with “allocation of parental responsibilities” and “parenting time” several years ago when lawmakers did a complete overhaul of the state’s family law statutes. Regardless of what it is called, the reality is that determining how divorced parents will share in the raising of their child is often one of the most acrimonious parts of a divorce.

It can be difficult enough to come up with a fair parenting time schedule that addresses holidays, birthdays, school breaks, summer vacations, and more. But when there are other issues that impact parenting time, having a skilled family lawyer representing you can make all the difference in the outcome. The following are some of the issues that can make a parenting time schedule even more complex.

When One Parent Has Moved Away

It is not uncommon for a spouse to move a long distance away, even to another state, after a divorce in order to get a fresh start or start a new job. Regardless of why the parent has moved, when there are children involved, a long-distance parenting time schedule is needed. Some of the factors that the court may consider include:

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dupage county parenting time lawyerThe divorce is finally over and life is easy again. Right? Maybe not so fast. Although you no longer share a house with your ex, if you have minor children, you are likely still dealing with extensive communication around planning for the upcoming school year.  While the kids are probably excited (and you might even be looking forward to having them occupied during the day), preparing for the first school year after an Illinois divorce can take some serious work. Here are five suggestions for how to get ready for school. 

Budget for School Supplies

Generally speaking, the parent with the majority of parenting time is receiving child support that already factors in the paying parent’s contribution towards school supplies and extracurricular activities. This means the parent with the majority of parenting time is usually responsible for school shopping. You can ask the other parent for help paying for supplies, but he or she is not obligated to send more money. 

Arrange Before and After School Care

Depending on your job and the age of your kids, you may need help getting them out the door and taking care of them after school before you get back home. Having a good relationship with your ex can help make this part easier, especially if there is a crisis. But if flexibility with your former partner is not an option, be sure to have a rock-solid plan for childcare and let your children know exactly what it is. 

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wheaton divorce lawyerThe world becomes a different place for most people once kids enter the picture. The natural instinct is to protect your children at all costs, and when the threat is coming from your child’s other parent, the stress may feel like more than you can bear. Unfortunately, child abuse is fairly common and in the heat and stress of divorce, child abuse may be even more prevalent. If your child is telling you that they are suffering at the hands of your co-parent, listen to them and take their allegations seriously. Then take action by meeting with a family law attorney who has experience handling matters of custody in Illinois. 

Signs Your Child May Be Abused

Managing cases of abuse or neglect is easier when a child is able to speak up about their treatment, but sometimes this is not possible. You may need to keep a close eye out for signs that your child is being abused. These include, but are not limited to: 

  • Sudden or unusual difficulty sitting, walking, or laying down

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IL divorce lawyerDivorce is difficult for everyone involved, but for parents and children who are separated by long distances, adjusting to life after divorce can be exceptionally challenging. But thanks to fast internet and inexpensive devices, staying in touch with far-away family members is now easier than ever. While there is no substitute for spending time with your little one in person and getting to hold them, helping them get ready for school, or watching them change from day to day, electronic parenting time may be the next best option.

What is Virtual Visitation or Electronic Parenting Time?

Just like in-person parenting time, electronic parenting time is court-ordered time that a parent gets to spend with his or her child via phone call, video call, texting, or another form of electronic communication. And just like in-person parenting time, both parents are responsible for ensuring electronic parenting time happens. This means the parent who has in-person parenting time must keep tablets or phones charged, ensure the child has openings in their schedule, and take other steps so the parent with electronic parenting time can communicate with their child.

Can My Ex Deny My Electronic Parenting Time?

Neither parent can alter a parenting plan without permission from the court. This means one parent cannot allow a child to become “too busy” to schedule electronic communication with the other parent. Not even failing to pay child support can prevent one parent from allowing the other parent to have electronic parenting time. If your parenting plan includes electronic parenting time and your ex is preventing you from contacting your child, you can take action through the court to try to enforce your ex into compliance.

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Il family lawyerEven after parents have finalized their divorce and settled on a court-ordered custody arrangement, concerns can linger. Parents often get divorced because of significant differences of opinion regarding appropriate parenting methods, and these differences do not simply go away once parents are no longer living in the same home. Often, parenting styles simply come down to differences in character or preference; one parent may view the other as irresponsible, uncooperative, or frustrating, but as long as the children are cared for and safe, these differences are mostly harmless.

Sometimes, however, parental behavior crosses a line into abuse. Because you are not in the home with the other parent, and because children cannot always clearly communicate what is happening, it can be difficult to know whether your child is at risk of being abused. But if you have concerns about their safety or wellbeing, it is better to be safe than sorry.

Signs of Child Abuse at a Co-Parent’s Home

Children handle abuse differently and sometimes the classic symptoms of abuse may not be present. However, some signs that a child may be being abused include:

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