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Wheaton child custody lawyer pregnancyWhile there are many legitimate reasons to postpone or cancel a divorce due to pregnancy, a person may have some compelling reasons to get divorced while pregnant. As difficult as it may be to end your marriage when you are already dealing with the stresses and expectations of impending parenthood, divorce may be the best overall choice for your family. Here is a closer look at the potential benefits of getting a divorce while you or your spouse are pregnant:

Reasons to Divorce While Pregnant

If you are considering a divorce while pregnant and are worried about the consequences, consider these positive aspects of taking such an action:

  • Your Child Will Not Have to Live Through the Divorce Itself—If you get a divorce while pregnant, you do not have to worry about the difficulties your child may face when shifting from having two parents in the same home caring for him or her to receiving care from parents in two separate homes. Researchers estimate that it can take children about two years to fully adjust to a divorce, on average. If your child is born into a single-parent home, or if you and the other parent will be sharing parenting time from the beginning of the child’s life, he or she will not need to make this adjustment.

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Wheaton, IL custody lawyerWhen parents get divorced or separated, they must decide how to split time with their children. Traditionally, for shared child custody agreements, the children live with one parent part-time and go with the other parent on the weekends, every other week, or however the parenting plan is structured. This requires the children to move from one home to the next, every week, for years, until they are old enough to be out of the house.

Another option for parents who have shared custody has gained in popularity. Birdnesting, or just nesting for short, keeps the child in one home while the parents come and go. This requires the parents to each have their own separate living situation, or to share a separate home together; birdnesting parents do not have to ever sleep under the same roof or spend time with one another, however.

Birdnesting Offers Children More Stability

We know much more about child psychology and development today than three or four decades ago when mothers were almost always given full custody. Children of divorce or separation do best when they spend regular, daily time with both parents, not just one. Children also do better when they have stability in their lives. Stability offers predictability, routine, and consistency, which are all paramount to child development. Birdnesting offers the best of both of these worlds — spending equal or close to equal time with each parent while living in the most stable environment possible. Continually packing, unpacking, being driving to dad’s house on odd weeks and mom’s house on even weeks, sleeping in different rooms half the time, not having access to certain toys and other comforts — this all reduces a child’s sense of stability.

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Posted on in Child Custody

first refusal, Wheaton family lawyersWhen you share parenting time of your child with your ex-spouse, your ability to control what the other parent does with his or her time is limited. Unless the child is being placed in danger, your former partner is essentially free to parent as he or she sees fit. For the most part, as long as your child is happy and safe, you are probably able to accept this particular aspect of post-divorce co-parenting. However, what about the times when the other parent needs to hire a babysitter or make other childcare arrangements during his or her parenting time? Do you have any say in the matter? Depending upon the terms of your parenting plan or parental responsibilities order, you may, in fact, have certain rights.

First Refusal

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act provides that divorced, separated, or unmarried parents may include the right of first refusal in their parenting agreement. As such, it important to understand what that right entails. According to the law, the right of first refusal means that if a parent intends to leave his or her child with a “substitute child-care provider for a significant period of time,” the parent must first offer the other parent the opportunity to care for the child. In other words, if the right of first refusal is included in your agreement and you need a sitter for a significant period of time, you must first ask the other parent if he or she wants to care for your child.

Reaching an Agreement

The law is intentionally vague regarding what constitutes a “significant period of time,” because such a determination is best made by the affected parties. If you want the right of first refusal, you and the other parent must decide how and when the right will be invoked. For example, you may decide that if one of you needs to find childcare for a single evening, hiring a sitter or asking a family member is acceptable, but if you need substitute care for a whole day or more, you will need to ask the other parent first. You will also want to discuss transportation arrangements and any other potential concerns so that they can be addressed before problems arise.

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