Tag Archives: divorced parents

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.




Understanding Significant Decision-Making Responsibilities

responsibilities, Wheaton family law attorneyOne of the most challenging aspects of being a divorced or unmarried parent is the idea of sharing parental duties with your former partner. Each person often has an idea of how a should be raised, and these ideas may vary—even when both parents are reasonable and have good intentions. Conflicting parenting ideas can lead to confusion and uncertainty on the part of the child, so it is important for parents to cooperate in creating a parenting plan that lays out each parent’s role in regard to making significant decisions that affect the child.

Defining Significant Decisions

According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), significant decisions include those related to “issues of long-term importance in the life of the child.” The IMDMA offers several examples of concerns that are considered to be significant decisions, including:

  • The child’s education, including the choice of school and tutors;
  • Health and medical care, including physical and mental health care and choice of doctors;
  • Religious upbringing, if appropriate, based on the wishes of the parent and past conduct regarding matters of faith or worship; and
  • Extracurricular activities, including clubs, sports, activities, music lessons, and others.

Depending your circumstances, other issues may be considered significant as well.

Decision-Making Authority

In your parenting plan, you and the other parent must decide who will be responsible for significant decision-making. If you cannot reach an agreement, the court may step in and allocate the responsibilities based on your child’s best interest. You and the other parent could choose to make all significant decisions together. Similarly, you could also agree that each decision should be discussed between you with one of you retaining final decision-making authority in case of an impasse.

Another option would be for each of you to take on the responsibility for a different significant area. If one parent is a teacher, for example, that parent could take care of  educational decisions while the other parent handles health care decisions. The last option is to give all significant decision-making authority to one parent alone, who could choose to seek the other parent’s input if he or she wishes.

The Effect on Parenting Time

It is important to remember that significant decision-making responsibilities and each parent’s parenting time are separate issues. While one may affect the other to a certain extent, the amount of parenting time that a parent has does not automatically mean that he or she has an equal amount of decision-making authority. It is possible for parents to share parenting time almost equally while all significant decisions are made by one parent. On the other hand, one parent may have substantially more or less parenting time but equal responsibility for significant decisions.

Call Us for Help

If you have questions about your parenting plan and significant decision-making responsibilities, contact an experienced Wheaton family law attorney. Call 630-871-1002 for a free consultation at Andrew Cores Family Law Group today and get the answers you need.




Judge Strikes Down Law Regarding College Expenses for Children of Divorced Parents

college, Wheaton family law attorneyFor the last 40 years, divorced parents in Illinois could be required to contribute toward the college expenses of their children, even after the children have turned 18 years old. Over the years, the law has been amended and clarified to specify that the matter is one related to the finances of the marriage and divorce rather than the direct support of the child in question. In other words, a child cannot file a legal action to get help paying for college from his or her parents, but one parent can ask the court to make the other parent help.

Illinois law does not, however, have the power to force married parents to pay for their child’s college expenses. According to a ruling by a DuPage County judge earlier this month, such a disparity is a violation of the equal protection guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

A Quick Recap

The case in question involved a divorced couple and their college-aged adult daughter. The daughter was reportedly interested in pursuing a degree in marine biology. Her relatively wealthy father supported her interests, and according to court documents, paid for dive excursions in exotic places and other related activities. The father was even allegedly willing to foot the entire bill for his daughter’s degree if she attended certain universities in either Hawaii or California—schools that offered an undergraduate degree in marine biology.

The young woman and her mother, however, determined that the she would attend a college in Florida that did not offer a marine biology major. The mother filed a petition asking the court to require the father to help with the expenses, and he was ordered to pay 40 percent of the bill.

The Petition

In August of last year, the father filed a motion in DuPage County court claiming that the order was in violation of the equal protection clause in the Constitution’s Fourteenth Amendment. He claimed that the law, as it is written, creates two separate classes of parents with different sets of rights because divorced parents can be forced to pay for their children’s college while married parents cannot be forced. He further claimed that the law does not include provisions regarding the input of the parents regarding the choice of the child’s school. A married parent, he claimed, is free to make an offer to pay for school conditional on where the child wants to go, but a divorced parent is not.

The Ruling

DuPage County Judge Thomas A. Else issued his ruling earlier this month, largely siding with the father. Else wrote in his decision that when the law was enacted 40 years ago, children of divorced parents were often at a disadvantage regarding post-secondary education compared to children of still-married parents. “There is no basis for such a conclusion today,” Else said. The judge determined that the father’s rights to equal protection were, in fact, violated by the support order, which Else subsequently struck down.

It is important to note that this ruling will not set a legal precedent unless and until it is reviewed and ruled upon by an Illinois appellate court or the state Supreme Court.

Contact Us for Help

If you have questions about how the recent ruling might affect your support order, contact an experienced DuPage County family law attorney. Call 630-871-1002 for a free, confidential consultation at Andrew Cores Family Law Group today.