Tag Archives: DuPage County family lawyers

What Role Does a Guardian Ad Litem Play in an Illinois Divorce?

Naperville divorce attorney guardian ad litem

Divorce can be a stressful and lengthy process. When children are involved, it can get even more complicated. If both parents cannot agree on child-related issues such as the allocation of parental responsibilities or parenting time, the final decision in these matters may need to be made by the court. In some cases, a judge may require the help of a neutral party who will not argue on behalf of either parent. Under Illinois law, a guardian ad litem (GAL) is defined as a lawyer appointed by the court in a divorce case who will help determine the best interests of a child. A GAL can be appointed if one parent is concerned about their child’s safety or well-being, or if a judge decides a GAL is needed during the negotiations.

What Does a Guardian Ad Litem Do?

In some divorce cases, one parent may wish to relocate to another state with the child due to a job transfer. Other cases may involve suspected child abuse or neglect by one of the parents. In these types of cases, or in other cases involving contentious disputes between divorcing parents, one parent may request that a GAL be assigned, and in other instances, a judge will automatically assign a GAL. A GAL is sometimes referred to as a “Child Representative,” since their primary concern is determining what is in the best interests of the children involved in the case. Judges respect the opinion of a GAL, his or her understanding of the law, and what is best for the child’s welfare. In a way, the GAL acts like a second judge on the case.

The judge will ultimately decide who should have parental responsibilities of a child, but often, the judge has no prior knowledge of the facts of a case. The GAL can provide the judge with details of the case, and they will typically file a report with the court. This report can include descriptions of issues between the parents or between the parents and the child.

The GAL can investigate the family’s history and events or incidents that might have led to the current disputes, and they may predict the future needs of the child. In certain cases, it may be necessary for the GAL to talk to teachers, relatives, neighbors, or physicians to get a better understanding of the child’s behavior or emotional state as a result of the divorce or one parent’s actions. The GAL will usually visit both parents’ homes to interview all family members who live there, and they will meet with each parent and the child. This is referred to as a home study.

The GAL’s main purpose is to investigate and give a recommendation to the judge as to which parent should be allocated parental responsibilities, whether joint or sole parental responsibilities should be allocated, and the amount of parenting time each parent should receive. A judge is not required to follow the GAL’s recommendations, but the judge will typically place a lot of weight on the GAL’s opinions.

Contact a Wheaton, IL Family Law Attorney

Divorces that involve children can be contentious, but one of the most important aspects of a divorce case is determining what is in the best interests of the child. Disputes between the parents or other factors that affect the child may lead to the appointment of a guardian ad litem. A compassionate DuPage County divorce lawyer can help you understand the best way to deal with a GAL, making sure your parental rights are protected during your divorce. To schedule a free consultation, call Andrew Cores Family Law Group today at 630-871-1002.





Co-Parenting with Your Ex’s New Spouse or Partner

Wheaton, Il Family Law AttorneyDivorce is one of the hardest decisions anyone can make. Unfortunately, the adjustments do not end as soon as the divorce agreement is finalized. Eventually, life does move forward, and both parties will begin new relationships that may result in marriage.

When children are involved, starting a new relationship means inviting someone else into their lives, something that should not be taken lightly. Here are some tips to help you co-parent with your ex-spouse’s new significant other:

Keep Your Feelings in Check

Effective co-parenting is essential for the well-being of your child. Although it is natural to experience moments of jealousy, anger, sadness, or regret, it is essential not to allow that to interfere with the task at hand: effective co-parenting. If you recognize these emotions within yourself, use your support system to work through them. Take this time to lean on your friends, family, or a therapist so when it comes time to interact with your ex’s new partner, you can maintain a cool, calm, and collected demeanor.

Kids Are Not Your Support System

Although we all want to be close with our children by being the person they choose to confide in, your problems are not their burden to bear. They love both you and your ex equally, and will likely soon grow to love your ex’s new partner. Luckily, children have the innate ability to love unconditionally and without end. There is room in their life for all of you. Do not let any personal insecurities you might experience allow you to speak poorly of the new person in their lives. No one can replace you in your child’s life. Using your parenting time with your child to foster ill-feelings is a poor use of this precious time and only tarnishes your relationship with them. Instead, spend time creating new memories they will cherish forever.

Support Your Children

Your children may be confused and slightly uneasy about the transition. It is important to remember this throughout the change. Consistency helps create stability, so do not miss your engagements on the schedule. Be on time or early to every pickup. Reduce as many disruptions as possible. Communicate directly with your ex, and their new spouse, to ensure everyone is on the same page and that your children always come first.

Ask a DuPage County Divorce Attorney

If your spouse remarried or is in a new relationship and a legal adjustment is necessary, a Wheaton, IL child custody modification lawyer can help. The knowledgeable attorneys at Andrew Cores Family Law Group understand the emotional impact of these transitions and will work to alleviate some of the stress. Let us help you find the best solution. Call our office today at 630-871-1002 to schedule your free initial consultation.




How Substance Abuse Could Affect Your Parenting Time

substance abuse, Wheaton divorce attorneysPrior to 2016, the excessive use or abuse of alcohol or illegal drugs by one spouse was a valid grounds for divorce in Illinois. When all fault grounds were eliminated in the state in 2016, irreconcilable differences became the only official reason for which a couple could seek a divorce. The reality, however, is that substance abuse is a real problem in many marriages, especially if the couple has children together. In the wake of a divorce, drug abuse can and may continue to affect parental responsibilities and each parent’s right to parenting time.

Dividing Parental Responsibilities

When you, as a parent, get divorced, you and the other parent are expected by law to come up with a reasonable agreement regarding parenting your child. Before your agreement will be approved, the court will read it over and decide whether the terms reflect the child’s best interests. If the court does not approve the proposal, or if you the parents cannot reach an agreement, the court will determine how parental responsibilities will be allocated. In doing so, the court must consider many different factors and create an arrangement to meet the needs of the child.

It is at this point that you should bring up any concerns related to your former partner’s drug or alcohol use. If you can show that the other parent’s drug abuse—including prescription drugs—or excessive alcohol use presents a physical, emotional, or moral danger to the child, the court will take that into consideration. The same is true if alcohol or drugs prevents the other parent from carrying out his or her assigned parental duties. In most cases, this would result in fewer parental responsibilities being given to parent with a substance abuse problem.

Limiting Parenting Time

Parenting time—formerly known as visitation—can be dramatically affected by one parent’s substance abuse problems. When drug abuse is a known concern, the law gives the court the authority to order the offending parent to abstain from drugs and alcohol during and immediately prior to his or her scheduled parenting time. The court also has the discretion to place other limits on the offending parent’s parenting time, including third-party supervision or restrictions on where the child may go with the parent in question. The court could even order the offending parent to participate in drug or alcohol abuse programs as a condition of restoring parenting time or parental responsibilities.

Call a Wheaton Family Lawyer

Sharing parental responsibilities with a former partner can be difficult under any circumstances. Sharing them with a former partner who has problems with drugs or alcohol can be even more challenging. Contact an experienced DuPage County parental responsibilities attorney to get the help you need. Call 630-871-1002 for a free consultation at Andrew Cores Family Law Group today