Tag Archives: parental responsibilities

When Is Supervised Parenting Time Appropriate in an Illinois Divorce?

Wheaton-supervised-parenting-time-lawyerDuring and after a divorce, the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act allows both parents to have reasonable parenting time with their child. In some situations, if a parent is worried about his or her child’s physical or mental well-being when spending time with the other parent, he or she can request a hearing to ask for supervised visits. The parent requesting this supervision needs to show evidence to support this request. If you are ordered to have supervised parenting time with your child, an experienced family law attorney can help you determine the best way to proceed.

Factors that May Require Supervision

Many factors are considered when deciding if parenting time will be supervised or not. In general, Illinois courts prefer to promote a healthy parent-child relationship, even during disputes over parental responsibilities (child custody). For a parent to have supervised parenting time, the court must consider the child to be in serious danger if he or she were to be left alone for a period of time with that parent. The court also has the right to modify an existing parenting time order if needed.
If two ex-spouses have an argument, or if one parent does not like the other parent’s new partner, that typically does not qualify as seriously endangering the child mentally, physically, or emotionally. On the other hand, if the other parent (or his or her new love interest) is physically or verbally abusive to the child, that is grounds for seeking supervised parenting time. In some cases involving domestic abuse to the other parent or the child, the court may issue an order of protection to limit or restrict an allegedly abusive parent’s access to the child entirely.
If one parent is diagnosed as mentally ill or is found to be abusing drugs or alcohol, those would be valid reasons for supervised parenting time. After a certain amount of time, supervised parenting time orders can be reviewed to determine if they should be reversed or modified. This could happen in cases where an alcoholic parent becomes sober, or if they are under the care of a physician and are seeking treatment or therapy for a mental disorder.

Who Can Supervise Parenting Time?

Once supervised parenting time is ordered, the court can appoint another family member, a friend, or a third party to supervise the visits between a parent and child. Supervised parenting time centers can provide a neutral meeting place where trained staff or social workers can observe the visits. In most scenarios, there is no fee for low-income families to attend these centers.
In Illinois, courts can place other types of restrictions on parenting time if they determine it is necessary or in the best interest of the child, including specifying certain locations for visits,  denying parenting time when the parent is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or restricting overnight parenting time.
Normally, only parents have a legal right to parenting time. In certain situations, however,  grandparents, great-grandparents, step-parents, and siblings can request a visitation order from the court if they so choose.

Contact a DuPage County Parenting Time Lawyer

Divorce can be difficult in many ways. If certain events lead to you being required to have supervised parenting time with your child, you should speak to a diligent Wheaton family law attorney. We can review your case to determine if the order can be reversed or modified. Call our office today at 630-871-1002 for a free consultation.

Sources: http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?ActID=2086&ChapterID=59&SeqStart=8300000&SeqEnd=10000000

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/documents/075000050K603.10.htmhttps://www.ourfamilywizard.com/blog/making-most-supervised-visitation

 

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

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.

 

Source:

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