DuPage County Family Law AttorneyParents of young children often have bitter or hostile feelings towards each other after divorce. Although Illinois is a no-fault divorce state, meaning parents can get divorced for any reason, anger over issues like infidelity, emotional unavailability, abuse, or neglect can often linger long after the divorce proceedings have ended. If you fear that bitterness over the divorce is causing your ex to interfere in your relationship with your child, an experienced Illinois family lawyer may be able to help. 

What is Parental Alienation? 

One way some parents deal with their negative emotions towards each other is by trying to get revenge through certain behaviors with their children. Some parents may not even do this on purpose; they may simply be so angry towards their ex that it comes out in every aspect of their lives. Regardless of the reason, children can suffer tremendously when one parent tries to alienate them from their other parent. When this reaches the point that a parent is trying to interfere with a parenting agreement or causing serious disruption to the parent-child relationship, it may be time to take action. 

Although there is some controversy about what, exactly, parental alienation entails and whether there should be an official term for it, there is no question that malicious behavior from one parent towards the other can negatively affect that parent’s relationship with a child. Alienating behaviors can come in many forms, but some of the most common include: 

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DuPage County Family Law AttorneyMany divorcing parents find the prospect of splitting time with their children to be frustrating and difficult. Oftentimes, parents get a divorce in the first place because they differ so significantly on how they believe children should be raised. Even with the best intentions, sharing parenting time and parental responsibilities is a daunting task. 

When parents first begin the divorce process, they will likely encounter some terms that are unique to them - especially because Illinois no longer uses the term “custody,” but rather “parenting time” (formerly visitation) and “parental responsibilities” (formerly custody). While parenting time is fairly straightforward, the term parental responsibilities means significant decision-making responsibilities; but what exactly are those? To find out, read on. 

What are Significant Decisions? 

Illinois law defines “significant decisions” as those related to issues involving long-term importance to the life of the child. Although these can change slightly depending on the circumstances, the most common of these issues are: 

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DuPage County Family Law AttorneysMany parents will go out of their way to avoid making child support payments. Sometimes, they will work even harder to avoid meeting their legal obligations than they would if they simply took a job and made the payments. Unfortunately, for the parent who needs the child support, this can mean many trips to see a judge to try to get the child support order enforced. Sometimes, judges can find the non-compliant spouse, hold them in contempt of court, and give them fines or jail time. 

However, in extreme cases, some parents will actually flee the country because they do not want to make child support payments. Leaving the United States does not relieve a parent of their child support obligations, but it can make recovering payments much more difficult. If you have a former partner who owes you child support and who may have fled the country, this blog may be helpful to you. 

Recovering Child Support From a Parent Who Has Left the Country

Before child support can be recovered from anyone, there must be a legally enforceable child support order from an Illinois family court. Usually, these are established during divorce proceedings, but they can also be made for unmarried parents once paternity has been established. Under certain circumstances, a person may be determined to be a child’s parent and ordered to pay child support by default - especially if he or she avoids location or fails to respond to court summons.

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Posted on in Family Law

DuPage County Parenting Plan LawyerMost parents feel that having children around for the holidays makes these special days even more magical. For parents who are going through a divorce, the prospect of not spending all the holidays with their children can be difficult to even think about. Figuring out a parenting plan that divides parenting time during the holidays might seem all but impossible. 

Parents who are struggling with this situation can take heart in knowing that many people before them have successfully managed to create parenting plans and new traditions that work well for everyone. Children will appreciate the predictability of a consistent parenting-time schedule and parents generally find that children adjust surprisingly well. If you are navigating holidays for the first time during or after a divorce, here are some tips to help ease the transition. 

Strive for Simplicity

Many parents find that it is simply easier to alternate years rather than trying to move children repeatedly from house to house for each separate holiday. The most important thing is to reduce stress for parents and children, and to adjust when necessary. Creating a schedule that is predictable and easily workable is often more helpful than trying to get exactly what you want. 

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Posted on in Family Law

IL family lawyerCouples based in Illinois often decide to live together before, or instead of, getting married. There are many reasons for this, and each couple’s circumstances are unique. Regardless of why a couple decides not to get married, living together for a long period of time presents challenges that are commonly dealt with by married couples or couples in civil unions. However, couples who are legally bound together have certain protections provided to them by law while couples who are only living together generally do not.

That is why many couples choose to create a cohabitation agreement. Cohabitation agreements are legally binding and address issues regarding property rights, including how individual and shared assets will be handled if the couple breaks up. Although everybody has high hopes when they move in with their partner, the truth is that not all relationships last forever. A cohabitation agreement created now protects both partners in the future.

What Can a Cohabitation Agreement Do?

Illinois does not recognize common-law marriages, so no matter how long someone lives with their partner, they are not afforded the same rights as married spouses. While married spouses can enshrine certain financial protections in a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement, unmarried spouses will need to create a cohabitation agreement to obtain similar protections. Cohabitation agreements often include:

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