Tag Archives: allocation of parental responsibilities

How Can I Set Rules For Raising My Children After My Divorce?

Wheaton parenting plan attorneyThe American Academy of Pediatrics recommends zero screen time for children under two years old, and it encourages “consistent limits” on screen time for children six years old and older. However, the average child between the ages of 8 and 18 spends seven hours a day in front of a screen, and too much screen time can be detrimental to children’s physical health, development, and motor skills. As a parent, you only want the very best for your child, and you may choose to set limits on their screen time in order to ensure their health and well-being. But what if your ex-spouse does not agree with these or other rules?

It can be extremely difficult for a divorced parent to deal with a former partner who, in their opinion, does not have the best interests of their child in mind and demonstrates this by allowing their child to spend unlimited time watching TV or bent over a smartphone. Parents may be able to address these concerns during divorce and in the years after by creating a parenting plan that works for the children first and the parents second, with a focus on open communication and compromise between the parents.

Addressing Different Parenting Styles

Divorced parents may have different parenting styles, and this should not necessarily be seen as a negative. In fact, it is a great asset for children to have both a mother and a father actively involved in their lives, and this is something that should be preserved unless there is serious reason to believe that one parent is negligent or abusive.

Unfortunately, it is common for parents to disagree on certain things, such as bedtimes, curfews, the types of food served, and technology use, including cell phones, TV time, and video games. To ensure consistency, a parenting plan can put a structure in place that provides for children’s best interests, ensures that children’s needs will be met, and provides parents with some reassurance that their children will be cared for correctly. It can also address how parents can resolve disagreements that may arise regarding the decisions they make when raising their children.

What Rules Should Be Set in a Parenting Plan?

It is important to pick one’s battles wisely when creating rules for your children that you want to be enforced at the other parent’s house. Typically, you can take one of two approaches. The first is to include specific rules within the parenting plan that both parents must agree upon. This is only a good option if both parents can compromise or want the same things for their children. This method may be beneficial if a parent is concerned about specific matters, such as the methods of discipline, the need for children to complete homework on time, or the diets children should follow.

The second option is for each parent to keep their own set of rules at their respective houses. This requires a certain level of trust between parents, but it can be beneficial for children, since they will eventually learn the rules at each home and adjust accordingly, falling into a predictable routine and feeling at ease no matter which house they are in. This method helps avoid unnecessary conflict and arguments between parents.

A Wheaton Divorce Lawyer Can Help

Ultimately, a combination of the two approaches to setting rules may be best. Parents may be able to agree on certain rules that will be followed while trusting each other to meet their children’s needs and provide for their best interests. A skilled attorney can help you create a fair parenting plan that addresses your concerns and your children’s unique circumstances. If necessary, an attorney can assist with modifying your parenting plan to meet your children’s changing needs. Contact the dedicated DuPage County family law attorneys at Andrew Cores Family Law Group today at 630-871-1002 to schedule a free consultation.




Parental Responsibility and Fathers’ Rights in Illinois

DuPage County father's rights attorneyOld stereotypes paint fathers as less interested and less capable of providing the care and attention a child needs to thrive. As a result, when a father seeks to establish rights to see a child following a divorce or paternity suit, some think the mother should receive the bulk of the parenting time, with the father entitled to just a handful of days every month. This dynamic can make it difficult for a father to have a significant relationship with his child, and while courts are moving away from this model of dividing responsibilities, fathers still experience more pushback when seeking equal time.

In Illinois, part of this shift toward more equal parenting is reflected in the elimination of the terms child custody, custodial parent, and visitation to describe parenting structure. This is designed to facilitate an arrangement that emphasizes cooperative parenting over strict lines of accountability and authority. Fathers, in particular, need to understand the system in place that regulates the division of parental responsibility, because this is the best way to ensure their interests are fully represented.

Paternity in Illinois

When paternity is in question, which most frequently occurs when a child’s parents are not married, the purported father has no rights until specific action is taken to establish him as the legal father. Until paternity is determined, the mother, who is always a presumptive legal parent, can legally deny the father access and information about the child, and the father would have no legal recourse.

Paternity can be established voluntarily by both parents or through a court order. If it is established via a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity form, this document makes the father financially responsible for the child but does not create an equitable allocation of parenting responsibility. Only a family court judge can legally add this element, even if the parents agree a court’s approval is necessary. When parents are not married, the father is often at a disadvantage in the area of parental rights and the division of responsibilities. Having legal representation by an experienced family law attorney is key to getting the appropriate results.

Divorce in Illinois

Divorce is somewhat different because the husband is the child’s presumed father by virtue of being married to the mother at the time of birth. The father’s right to have access to the child is not in question. The biggest issues facing divorcing fathers is ensuring the amount of parenting time they receive is reflective of the amount of involvement the father needs and wants to keep a strong relationship with the child.

Illinois law does not have a presumption in favor of the mother but does consider who the primary caregiver was in the past. This is part of looking at what is in the best interests of the child. This can involve looking at the wishes of the parents and child, the child’s current environment, the proximity of the parents to one another, work schedules, the ability of the parents to cooperate, and the present relationship between each parent and the child. These are very fact-specific evaluations, and if there is a disagreement between parents, the outcome can be difficult to predict. Because fathers are less commonly a child’s primary caregiver, a court could be persuaded that alternating weekends and some holidays is a fair division. Fathers must be proactive when attempting to assert their rights and need a strong attorney to advocate for their rights.

Speak to a Wheaton, IL Family Law Attorney

Parenting issues are some of the most trying aspects of ending a marriage, and you need the help of a family lawyer to ensure the allocation of responsibilities is fair. The dedicated DuPage County family law attorneys at Andrew Cores Family Law Group understand the battle you may face and are prepared to fight for your parental rights. Contact our office at 630-871-1002 to schedule a free consultation.



What is a Parent’s Right of First Refusal?

DuPage County Custody LawyerSharing parenting time is not ideal, but is a necessary part of allowing a child to maintain a significant relationship with both parents after a divorce. Parenting time encompasses a designated period in which a parent is allocated childrearing duties and the authority to make daily decisions for the child’s care. This division of parental responsibilities is typically shared between divorced parents, and the purpose is to foster a continuing connection between the child and each parent because this support is important to the child’s development and well-being.

The expectation is that each parent will be the person who cares for the child during his or her allotted time. Of course, things come up and it is understandable that changes to schedules are necessary, including the use of a babysitter. However, if using third-party childcare during scheduled parenting time becomes a pattern, or is expected to last for an extended period of time, the other parent may be able to exercise a right of first refusal and keep the child instead.

What is the Right of First Refusal?

As noted above, parenting time allows each parent an opportunity to have a relationship with their child, and this requires being the person actually caring for the child on a regular basis. If a substitute caregiver is doing this work, the intent of this arrangement is gone. The right of first refusal gives a parent the ability to opt to keep the child if the other parent will need a third-party caregiver for a significant period of time. This right is not automatic, and a court may award it to one or both parents if it is in the best interests of the child, or the parents may agree to include it in the parenting plan. If it is ordered by the court, a judge will create a structure that addresses the following factors:

The circumstances under which the right of first refusal would apply;

  • How and when to provide notification and the subsequent response from the other parent;
  • Transportation requirements; and
  • Additional actions needed to protect the best interests of the child.

Looking at this rule, it may not seem particularly important in many shared parenting situations. However, what if a parent has a sudden schedule change that switches their shift from days to nights and weekends? Or, what if a parent is called away to care for a family member for months at a time, but still wants to exercise his or her parenting time by allowing a grandparent or other relative to care for the child? These scenarios do not work in the other parent’s favor, so having a mechanism to avoid this situation is crucial. Outside of emergency situations, the right of first refusal typically applies in the following situations:

  • When a parent is scheduled to work;
  • Business trips;
  • Significant time away to address family or personal matters; or
  • When a parent would be absent and normally hire childcare.

The right of first refusal provisions can be complicated, so working with an experienced family law attorney is essential to obtaining the desired outcome.

Get Advice from a Wheaton, IL Family Law Attorney

Spending as much time as possible with your child is the goal of any parent, and if you worry an ex-spouse will regularly farm out childcare during their parenting time, talk to a skilled family lawyer about your options. The dedicated DuPage County family law attorneys at the Andrew Cores Family Law Group know the challenges you face with shared parenting and want to help you avoid unnecessary conflict. Contact us today at 630-518-4002 for a free consultation.