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Naperville, IL parenting time lawyerGetting a divorce brings about many changes to your everyday life, which can be especially true if you are a parent. One of the biggest and most difficult changes to cope with for many Illinois divorcees is how much less time they get to spend with their children. In Illinois, the default is to allow both parents to have unrestricted parenting time with the child, unless there is strong evidence that unrestricted parenting time would be harmful to the child’s physical or emotional and mental well-being. If restrictions are required, a common example is requiring the parenting time to be supervised.

What Does Supervised Parenting Time Look Like?

According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), supervision during parenting time simply means that there is a third party present during the parenting time of the parent in question. Typically there are two types of “supervisors” or third parties that are often used in supervised parenting time cases:

  • A court-approved professional, such as a therapist, psychologist, social worker, counselor or other professional

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Wheaton divorce attorney child custody

People get divorced for every kind of reason under the sun, from basic incompatibility to simply wanting different things in life. Many times, these reasons for a divorce stem from a basic inability of the couple to effectively communicate and cooperate with one another. Just as this spelled trouble during the marriage, this can also spell trouble during the divorce. Divorcing with children can be especially complicated as child-related issues tend to be very emotionally fueled, but they must be settled before the divorce can be finalized. Illinois courts urge parents to come to an agreement about parenting time and decision-making responsibilities on their own or with the help of a mediator. However, if that is unsuccessful or would be detrimental to the well-being of the family, the case must be brought before a judge.

Understanding Child Custody Evaluations

If you and your spouse appear before a judge without a consensus as to what your parenting plan agreement is, the judge will most likely order a custody evaluation to take place before any further decisions are made. If the court orders a custody evaluation to take place, the evaluator is then hired, which is typically a mental health professional, such as a psychologist. The evaluator’s job is to study and record the interactions between the child and each of his or her parents, siblings, and any other relevant family or household members.

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DuPage County divorce lawyerFor many divorcing couples, children are a part of the picture and must be properly handled before the divorce can be finalized. Getting a divorce when you have any children at all increases the complexity and difficulty of the legal process, but doing so when your children are in their teenage years can provide for rather unique and interesting issues. If your children are still minors, you and your spouse must have a parenting plan approved and in place before you can have a judge finalize your divorce agreement. Creating a parenting plan can be straightforward in some situations, but when you are creating a parenting plan for teenagers, there are some things you should keep in mind.

Flexibility is Important

When you have a child who is a teenager, they are just beginning to blossom into young adults. Their lives are no longer revolving around you and the family. They have other things going on in their lives, such as school, friends, extracurricular activities, sports, jobs and significant others. A strict parenting plan will only cause stress for everyone and can put a strain on the relationship between you and your teen. Having a flexible parenting plan is important for successfully co-parenting a teenager.

Be Prepared For Them to Spend a Lot of Time With Friends

As your child grows, they will naturally want to spend more time with their friends and will gravitate away from the family setting. This is normal and actually helps prepare them for a few years down the line when they will be surrounded by peers and no longer living with parents. You should try not to place too much pressure on your teen for wanting to spend time with his or her friends in the midst of your divorce.

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DuPage County divorce attorney parenting plan

When parents get divorced, they cannot just go their separate ways and say goodbye — they will forever be connected by their children and will have to continue communicating with one another until their children reach the age of 18. Co-parenting with one another in the same city can be difficult enough. When one parent moves away, it can pose an entirely new set of challenges related to parenting. Whether you need to create an original parenting plan to facilitate the distance between you and your co-parent or you need to update your existing parenting plan, here are some tips that can help:

  • Coordinate with your co-parent as much as possible. It has been said before, but when it comes to long-distance co-parenting, communication really is key. Ideally, you should have your visitation schedule pre-planned and ready for reference. At a minimum, you should coordinate with your former spouse and determine which holidays and school vacations your child will be spending with each of you.

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DuPage County parenting time lawyerWhen it comes to child custody, the court has one goal: to protect the child’s best interests. To do this, there are a variety of factors that are considered when allocating parenting time and decision-making responsibilities. Some of these factors include things such as the level of cooperation between the spouses, the child’s adjustment to their home, school, and community, and even the stability of each parent and their ability to facilitate a loving relationship with the other parent. Another factor that has come up in Illinois courts more recently is whether or not a parent’s legal marijuana usage can (or should) affect that parent’s child custody rights.

The Legality of Marijuana in Illinois

Prior to the beginning of 2020, marijuana use was only legal for registered medical marijuana patients. On January 1, 2020, recreational marijuana became legal in the state of Illinois. Under the new law, adults who are over the age of 21 are permitted to purchase and consume marijuana legally. Even though many states have decriminalized or legalized marijuana, the drug still remains illegal under federal law.

Marijuana Usage and Parenting Time

Within the Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, the act that legalized and decriminalized marijuana in Illinois, there is a section entitled “Discrimination Prohibited.” This section specifically states that parents, legal guardians, or any other person who is responsible for the welfare of a child cannot be discriminated against because of their lawful use of marijuana or cannabis products. This means a court cannot limit your parenting time or decision-making responsibilities because of marijuana usage, as long as you use it in a lawful and responsible manner.

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