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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



Terminating a Domestic Partnership in Illinois

Wheaton civil union attorneyPrior to the 2015 Supreme Court case Obergefell v. Hodges, which legalized same-sex marriage in the United States, many same-sex couples entered into a domestic partnership. However, this term has been sunsetted in Illinois, meaning the laws regarding these relationships have been terminated. Both same-sex couples and opposite-sex couples now have a choice between civil unions and marriage.

If you hold a Domestic Partnership Certificate, you do not automatically qualify for the rights that married spouses enjoy, such as benefits, survivorship, or ownership rights. Your domestic partnership is still a matter of public record, thus maintaining its validity; however, no future Domestic Partnership Certificates will be issued. The term “domestic partnership” now refers to an informal, long-term, committed relationship rather than a legally binding union.

Entering into a Civil Union or Marriage

While same-sex marriage is now legal throughout the United States, some couples do not want to enter into a marriage and opt for a civil union instead. The option is available to same-sex couples and opposite-sex couples alike. The primary difference between civil union and marriage is that a civil union is solely recognized within the state of Illinois, while marriage is federally recognized. According to the Illinois Religious Freedom Protection and Civil Union Act, once you enter into a civil union, you are granted many of the same rights in Illinois as those offered to married spouses. If you opt to enter into a civil union or marriage, any existing domestic partnership automatically terminates without further documentation.

Dissolving a Partnership

If, however, you would like to end the relationship altogether, you may dissolve the existing domestic partnership by completing an Affidavit of Termination. The form does not need to be completed by both parties, but if only one party is present, the absent party must be notified by mail. In addition to filing the form with the County Clerk’s Office, a $30.00 fee is required. Termination is valid 30 days after the official filing date. Unfortunately, a domestic partnership does not offer any of the protections provided through marriage or civil unions.

Dissolution of a Civil Union

As with marriage, you may legally terminate a civil union through dissolution or a declaration of invalidity. The procedure to dissolve a civil union is the same as divorce, with the only difference being the wording. Previously, domestic partnerships did not have the same legal protections.

Ask a DuPage County Domestic Partnership Lawyer

The lines between the domestic partnership, civil unions, and marriage are blurry, and the laws surrounding these type of partnerships continue to evolve each year. If you have questions regarding your rights in any of these relationships or the process of dissolving them, a Wheaton family law attorney can help. At Andrew Cores Family Law Group, we will clarify any questions you may have and aggressively defend your interests should you choose to terminate your relationship. Call our office today at 630-871-1002 to schedule your free, confidential consultation.





3 Tips For How to Strengthen Your Child Custody Case in Illinois

Wheaton, IL child custody attorney parenting time parental responsibilityf you and your ex-spouse find yourselves unable to reach an agreement when it comes to child custody during your divorce, a judge will create an arrangement for you. An “allocation of parental responsibility” judgment created in court is based primarily upon Illinois law and what the judge considers to be in the best interests of the children, but it will not always work with the lifestyle of your family. When arguing your case in court, your goal is to represent beyond any doubt that more time with you is what is best for your children. Use these tips to help strengthen your case:

1. Educate Yourself

It is essential to understand that every state has a unique set of laws surrounding child custody. To best prepare your case, you should thoroughly investigate the laws and the factors a judge will use to make their decision. In Illinois, judgments of how to allocate parenting time and parental responsibility are based entirely on the best interests of the children, and the factors a judge will consider include:

  • The wishes of everyone involved.
  • The quality of each parent-child relationship.
  • The mental and physical health of all parties.
  • The willingness of each parent to facilitate a relationship with the other parent.
  • Which parent has provided care for children in the past.
  • The ability of a parent to provide a stable and loving environment.
  • The level of adjustment the child has to the current situation.

2. Evaluate Your Positives

Your first instinct may be to tear down the other parent in order to bolster your own good qualities. However, this thinking does not always result in a positive outcome, and it can cause you to lose points when a judge is considering the “willingness of each parent to facilitate a relationship with the other parent.” Instead, focus on your positives. Start with a basic list of why you best meet the criteria described above. Then, begin accumulating hard evidence to support your claims. This may include:

  • Character reference letters from those who know you.
  • A log of hours spent volunteering at your children’s school.
  • Photographic evidence of field trips you have chaperoned.
  • A thank-you note from a parent whose child you coached on a sports team.

3. Get Legal Help from a DuPage County Family Law Attorney

If you are having trouble reaching an agreement on a parenting plan during your divorce, a Wheaton child custody lawyer can help. At Andrew Cores Family Law Group, we will carefully assess your situation, identify your strengths, and use them to your advantage to help you achieve the best possible result in your case. We have guided families to success through even the most tumultuous divorce and child custody cases for more than a decade. Find out how we can help by scheduling your free personalized consultation at our office. Call us today at 630-871-1002.