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Naperville family law attorneyStarting a new life after divorce can be tough for everyone, but for children, the adjustment can be especially challenging. Kids are accustomed to having both parents constantly in their lives and any change can be difficult. They thrive off of stability and permanency, which is why co-parenting arrangements can sometimes be disruptive to children. One alternative solution to the traditional co-parenting structure is called a “nesting” plan. This type of plan does not work for every family situation, but it is an option worth considering.

What is a Nesting Plan?

A nesting plan is a type of alternative co-parenting arrangement in which the children remain in the family home and the parents take turns living in the home with them. This type of arrangement allows children to have minimal disruptions in their everyday lives and continue to live under the same roof at all times. Rather than requiring the children to pack up and move between two households, the parents take on that burden for the benefit of their children. 

Considerations for Nesting Plans

As with anything, there are pros and cons to a nesting plan. Many families believe this alternative arrangement is beneficial because it takes a more child-centered approach to co-parenting. The children remain in the family home longer and continue to see both parents within that home, just not at the same time. Nesting plans are typically temporary, but they provide a secure way for children to transition into life with two unmarried parents.

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DuPage County parental relocation lawyerFor some, relocation can be a necessary step after divorce. There are many reasons why divorcees would want to move after the divorce is finalized. Some wish to be closer to family members, while others move for a new job. Regardless of the reason, a parent must have primary or equal custody of the child in order to submit a relocation request. In Illinois, relocation includes any move that is at least 25 miles from the child’s current home for those that live in Will, Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake or McHenry County or moves outside of Illinois state borders. If the child lives in a different county than those listed above, relocation boundaries increase to 50 miles from the current residence to any other part of Illinois. Moving with your child can be stressful, especially if your ex-spouse does not approve of the relocation.

Notice of Relocation

Before you are able to do anything, you must provide your former spouse with notice that you intend to relocate with your child. In the notice, you must include the date of your intended relocation, your new address, and whether or not the relocation is permanent. If the other parent signs the notice, it can be filed with the clerk of the circuit court, and if the judge agrees that the proposed move is in the child's best interests, the parenting plan will be modified. If the other parent does not agree to the relocation, the parent seeking to move must file a petition with the court requesting to relocate.

Deciding Factors

If the parents are unable to come to an agreement on their own, they must take the issue to court. A judge will review the petition for relocation and the other parent's objections to the planned relocation to determine whether the move is in the child's best interests. When the judge is making the decision about the relocation, he or she will consider a variety of factors. These include:

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DuPage County family law attorneyWhen you get a divorce, everyone is impacted. In many cases, children are the ones who are most affected, because they may not always understand what divorce means. Illinois courts believe that a child flourishes when both parents are in their child’s life and play an active role. Even if a person does not have a personal relationship with their child, parents have a responsibility to provide for their child financially. This is where child support comes in. Both parents are expected to contribute to the financial needs of the child, and they must provide a basic amount of child support, which is determined using a formula defined in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. However, this basic child support obligation does not always account for all of the expenses that are involved in raising a child. Parents may also be required to divide other costs.

Extra Expenses

  • Medical Expenses: Medical care is expensive, which is why it makes sense to require both parents to contribute to these costs. The court can require either parent to add the child to his or her insurance plan. The court can also require both parents to split the out-of-pocket costs associated with medical care.
  • Childcare: The courts will divide the reasonable costs of employment-related childcare between the parents based on the percentage of the basic child support amount that each parent is responsible for. The costs will be added to the basic child support obligation, and payments may be paid to the other parent or to the childcare provider directly.
  • School and Extracurricular Costs: A child’s upbringing can be greatly supplemented by extracurricular activities. Because of this, Illinois courts can order either or both parents to pay for reasonable costs of extracurricular or school activities that are meant to enhance the child’s educational, athletic, social, or cultural development.
  • College Expenses: Attending college or receiving post-secondary education is often a key part of ensuring that a child will have success in life. Because of this, Illinois courts can also order one or both parents to contribute to the costs associated with college. These costs can include tuition, room and board, books, supplies, or other materials.

A Naperville, IL Child Support Attorney Can Help You Get Your Child the Financial Support They Deserve

Not only are both parents expected to contribute to the financial responsibility of raising a child, but they are required by law to do so. Illinois courts will order both parents to pay for costs related to their children, and if they do not, they can face penalties. If you are going through a divorce or are looking to collect child support from your child’s other parent, you should contact a knowledgeable DuPage County child support lawyer. At Goostree Law Group, we can help you figure out an appropriate figure for basic child support and also calculate the appropriate costs to add to that figure for extra expenses. Call our office today at 630-364-4046 to schedule a free consultation.

 

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Naperville divorce attorneyDivorce is full of difficult situations. Even making the decision to get a divorce can seem impossible. Perhaps one of the hardest situations that you will have to deal with during your divorce is breaking the news to your children. Depending on your circumstances, your children may already suspect that something is awry. If there has been constant fighting in the house, your children are likely aware of the fact that you and your spouse are unhappy. There is no way to predict how your children will react to the news of a divorce; each child processes and copes with the news differently. Though this can be a difficult time for everyone, here are a few tips to help you tell your children that you and your spouse are getting divorced:

Act as a Team

This may be difficult for some couples, but telling the children about your decision as a team can make a world of difference. Even if the decision to divorce was not mutual, it is important that the children see that you and your spouse can still work together. After all, you will always have a common connection -- your children. 

Plan What You Will Say

This is one conversation that you do not want to make up as you go along. You and your spouse should sit down and plan out some talking points that you want to get across when you tell the kids that you are getting divorced. You both should be sure that your child understands that the divorce is not their fault, but rather a matter between you and your spouse. You should also remind your kids that you both love them very much, regardless of your marital state.

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Naperville guardian ad litem lawyerUnfortunately, divorces do not often involve much amicability, especially on issues related to children. Divorcing parents may not see eye to eye on what is best for a child of the marriage. This can result in major disagreements that do not have a clear solution.

During a divorce, a child’s best interests can be put on the back burner or forgotten altogether. In order to avoid this, a judge may appoint a guardian ad litem (GAL) to the case to help understand the situation and determine what solutions would be in the child’s best interest.

What is a GAL?

A GAL is an attorney who has been trained and certified to handle child-related issues. A GAL can be appointed in any case that involves child support, child custody, allocation of parental responsibilities, parenting time, parental relocations or the general welfare of a child. Though the GAL is a licensed attorney, he or she does not act as an attorney for either side. Rather, the GAL’s role is to examine the circumstances of the case and act as an advocate for the child’s best interests.

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Wheaton paternity lawyerThe number of babies born to unwed mothers has dramatically increased in the past 50 years or so. According to the Pew Research Center, around 5 percent of births in 1960 were to unmarried women. Today, the number of babies born to unmarried mothers is somewhere around 40 percent. While the acceptance of birth outside of marriage has grown, many mothers now find that they must go about other ways of establishing paternity for their children.

In the state of Illinois, paternity can be established in one of four ways: through assumed paternity, through a signed and completed Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity, through an Administrative Paternity Order or through an Order of Paternity.

Assumed Paternity

One of the most common ways of establishing paternity is through assumed paternity. The state of Illinois assumes that when a child is born to a married mother, the husband is the father of the child. If the mother was married or in a civil union when the child was born or within 300 days before the child was born, the husband is legally presumed to be the father of the child. If the mother was not married during that time, she must go about establishing paternity through one of the other ways.

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DuPage County Parenting plan attorneyGetting a divorce when you have children is much different than getting a divorce when you do not have children. Couples who divorce and have children often face a more complicated and stressful situation than couples who do not have children. With the addition of children, there are many different things that must be addressed before you can finalize your divorce. In the state of Illinois, couples are required to have a parenting plan in place before their divorce can be completed. A parenting plan is a document that details the agreement between the couple and outlines many of the issues and procedures relating to the children, including how parenting time will be allocated and how decision-making responsibilities will be handled.

Before you go to court about your parenting plan, you must first attend mediation. Illinois courts believe that families benefit from the use of mediation when issues need to be settled, but they also understand that mediation does not work for everyone. If you and your spouse cannot come to an agreement during mediation, you will have to take your case to court where a judge will make determinations about your case.

Components of a Parenting Plan

In your parenting plan, there are certain elements that must be present before the court will approve the plan. At a minimum, the parenting plan should contain information about:

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DuPage County parenting time lawyerWhen it comes to divorce cases and issues involving children, the Illinois court system places the needs and well-being of the children above all else -- including the parents. Child custody can be a contentious issue in divorce cases, but the job of the judge assigned to your case is to ensure that the child is safe, well cared for and loved, no matter the custody situation. Illinois courts understand that children do their best when both parents are present in their lives. The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act specifically states that “it is presumed that both parents are fit and the court shall not place any restrictions on parenting time.” A judge will, however, place restrictions on parenting time if he or she feels the child would be in danger by spending time with one or both parents.

Considering Parenting Time Restrictions

It is widely understood by most people that a child not only deserves to have both in his or her life, but that they also thrive when they form a relationship with both parents. In most divorce cases, there will be an equal or nearly-equal allocation of parenting time. Unless a parent petitions to have the other parent’s parenting time restricted or the court learns of a danger to the child, parenting time will not be restricted. Before any decisions are made, a hearing will be conducted to determine whether the child’s mental, emotional, physical or moral health would be in danger if he or she were to spend time with the parent.

Types of Parenting Time Restrictions

Once you have attended the hearing, the courts will determine whether a parenting time restriction is appropriate. The court will examine all aspects of each parent’s life, such as his or her living arrangements or work schedules. If the court finds any of these aspects to be questionable, then they may place restrictions on the type, duration or supervision of the parenting time. Restrictions on parenting time can include:

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DuPage County divorce attorneyOne of the things that holds back many couples from divorcing is the children. Many parents worry and wonder what kind of effects the divorce would have on their children, even if they know that a divorce would be best for their personal wellbeing. In reality, many parents do not know that staying in an unhappy marriage can actually be more detrimental to a child’s wellbeing than divorce. Here are a few ways as to how staying in an unhappy marriage could harm your children:

Chronic Stress and Tension

If you are feeling the stress at home, then your children probably are too. Constant fighting or bickering can mean chronic tension in the home and that is not good for anyone. Your children will feel it and will feel uneasy in their own home.

Low Self-Esteem

Children absorb everything around them. When their surroundings are full of fighting and rejection, children tend to internalize that, which turns into low self-esteem. Constantly being at odds with your spouse can cause your child to feel uncertain and rejected.

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