Tag Archives: children of divorce

Why Was a Guardian ad Litem Appointed to Our Case?

guardian ad litem, Wheaton family law attorneysWhen you are involved in a dispute over parental responsibilities or other concerns related to your children, it can be difficult to maintain objectivity, especially if the relationship between you and the other party is not ideal. Divorce situations are especially prone to acrimony and contentiousness, and unfortunately, the best interests of the child can be somewhat lost among the myriad of other considerations. A court-appointed attorney known as a guardian ad litem, however, can help refocus the proceedings on the child’s well-being, thanks to provisions offered by Illinois law.

What is a Guardian ad Litem?

Unlike other types of guardianship, such as those covered by the Illinois Probate Act, which provide far-reaching authority over another person’s interests for an indefinite period of time, the guardian ad litem, or GAL, is appointed for the specified proceeding. In fact, the Latin phrase “ad litem” translates to English as “for the suit.” While GALs may serve similar purposes in other areas of law, they are most commonly utilized in family law situations on behalf of a child’s interests. In Illinois, a GAL is required to be a licensed attorney, properly trained and qualified to serve in such a capacity.

The Duties of the Guardian ad Litem

The most important thing for parents to keep in mind when a guardian ad litem has been appointed to their case is that the GAL works as extension of the court. He or she has no interest in who “wins” or “loses,” but is instead focused on determining the outcome that would best serve the child. The GAL is required to conduct an investigation into the child’s living and family situation to identify best practices and area of concern. In doing so, he or she may interview the child, parents, and other relevant family members or individuals, review previous court proceedings, and observe the child’s home, school and community environments.

Based on the results of the investigation, the GAL utilizes his or her training and experience to develop a best-case recommendation regarding the outcome of the case. The recommendation is provided to the court as expert witness testimony, either in writing or in person, and is subject to cross-examination according to the rules of court procedure. The court is expected to give substantial weight to the GAL’s findings, as it is presumed that the GAL will have reasonably considered all relevant factors.

Protecting the Interests of Children

If you are going through a divorce and are concerned about the well-being of your child, we can help you petition the court to appoint a guardian ad litem. Contact a knowledgeable DuPage County family law attorney today for more information on meeting your child’s needs throughout the process. Call 630-971-1002 for a free consultation at Andrew Cores Family Law Group.

 

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?DocName=075500050HArt%2E+XI&ActID=2104&ChapterID=60&SeqStart=12100000&SeqEnd=14300000

https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/guardian_ad_litem

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=075000050K506

Review Your Parenting Plan for Summer Vacation

summer, Wheaton family law attorneyIn just a matter of weeks, children throughout Northern Illinois will be done with school for the summertime. If you have children, you have probably seen signs of excitement. They may be ready to sleep in later than usual and to spend time outdoors with friends. You, the parent, may be eager for summer to arrive as well, but if you are divorced, the extended break may bring a few additional concerns. If you are currently subject to any type of shared parenting arrangement or custody order, it is time to begin making plans for the summer months ahead.

Know What Your Plan Says

The most important thing you need to do before summer break arrives is to review your existing parenting arrangements so that you are refreshed on your rights and responsibilities. Your parenting plan likely contains at least a bare-bones parenting time schedule. In some cases, the schedule may actually be quite detailed.

Many parenting plans offer the majority of the summer parenting time to the parent who gets less time with the children during the school year. This is especially common when that parent lives in another city or state. Other agreements maintain a schedule that is largely similar to the one used during the rest of the year with allowances for summer holidays, planned trips, or other special occasions.

Once you know what your parenting plan says, you can begin to make plans and to start negotiations with the other parent, if necessary. For example, if you want to take your children on a week-long vacation in July, doing so may require the other parent to give up a few days of scheduled parenting time. While this is not an unreasonable request, you should be prepared to give up some of your parenting time on another occasion to facilitate plans by the other parent.

Communication Is Key

If you and the other parent intentionally left your parenting arrangement rather vague regarding summer parenting time, you will need to communicate and work together. It is better to begin the planning process now rather than to wait until the last minute. Planning ahead allows you to know what will soon be happening, and it gives you the chance to keep your children informed as well. Your children cannot get excited about a planned event if they do not know about it.

Regardless of what has occurred between you and the other parent, do your best to remain flexible this summer—at least to a certain extent. Summer is the perfect setting for spontaneous day trips, baseball games, and picnics. Your children’s other parent may ask for an extra day to offer them an impromptu surprise, or you may have a similar idea of your own. Be willing to extend such a courtesy, as doing so can allow your children to get the most out of this summer’s break.

If you are struggling to come up with a summer parenting time schedule or your existing arrangement needs to be amended, contact an experienced DuPage County family law attorney. Call 630-871-1002 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation at Andrew Cores Family Law Group today.

 

Sources:

http://coparently.com/co-parenting-through-summer

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs5.asp?ActID=2086&ChapterID=59

How to Tell Your Children About the Divorce

children, Wheaton divorce attorneysWhen married parents decide to end their marriage, often their biggest concern is not for themselves, but for their children. While the changes that come with divorce can be a challenge for any child to overcome, studies show that children are more than capable of adapting to a two-home family. One thing parents often worry about when they come to the realization that their marriage is over is how they will tell the children about the split. There is no perfect way to tell your kids that you and their other parent are getting a divorce, but there are some things you can do to minimize confusion and distress during the discussion.

Have the Conversation Together as a Family

Even if you and your soon-to-be-ex cannot stand to be around each other, it can be incredibly beneficial for parents to tell children about the divorce at the same time. Presenting a united front in this way shows children that although you may be ending the marriage, you are still parents and will work together to care for the children. Using words like “we” and “us” can help reassure the children that neither parent is going to abandon them. Make sure to tell the children that this decision was made by the adults and was not the result of anything the children did.

Allow Children Space to React to the News

There is a wide variety of ways that children respond to the news of the divorce. Some children will have known that this conversation was coming while others will be completely surprised. Some children will cry or get angry when they hear of the divorce while others paradoxically have little to no visible reaction. Children may feel relieved, happy, anxious, afraid, angry, or confused when they are told that their parents are getting a divorce. After the conversation, allow your child space to feel their feelings and then follow up with them later about any loose ends or clarifications.

Be Open to Questions But Be Selective

It is always good for parents to be open to questions from their children. After the conversation about the divorce, children will probably have follow-up questions. Questions like “will we still have birthday parties?” will be easy to respond to while other questions may be more difficult to answer. Do not feel like you have to answer every question your child asks. Children do not need to know details about how or why the marriage ended, but instead, need to be reassured that their parents still love them will provide for them.

Considering Divorce?

If you and your spouse have decided to end your marriage, the experienced DuPage County family law attorneys at the Andrew Cores Family Law Group can help. To arrange a free, confidential consultation, call us at 630-871-1002 today.

 

Sources:

https://www.parents.com/parenting/divorce/children/how-to-tell-your-kids-that-you-are-getting-a-divorce/

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/26/what-you-need-to-know-bef_0_n_5615228.html