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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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Naperville Legal Separation AttorneyComing to the decision to get a divorce does not happen suddenly. It often takes couples months or even years to reach the point where they no longer want to be married. In the time between the start of marital trouble and the signing of divorce papers, couples often live apart from one another and lead separate lives. During this time, a couple may file for a legal separation, allowing them to address certain issues while they live separately. Following a legal separation, a couple will remain married in the eyes of the law. However, at any point, either spouse may decide to move forward with their divorce.

What Is a Legal Separation?

A legal separation is the “official” way of saying that you and your spouse are taking a break from one another. To get a legal separation in Illinois, there are a few requirements that you must meet. One of the most basic terms requires either you or your spouse to be a resident of Illinois for at least 90 days. Then, you will need to file a petition for legal separation in the court of the county that you or your spouse lives in. The petition will contain specific personal information, but most importantly, it will contain proof that you and your spouse currently live separately from one another and are not financially dependent on each other. During the process of legal separation, you will create a separation agreement that addresses how you will handle issues such as child custody, child support, spousal maintenance, and the division of marital property while you are living separately.

Can I Benefit From a Legal Separation?

Many people think that getting a legal separation will end their marriage. While it is true that a legal separation and a divorce have many similarities, they are not the same. A legal separation is a good stepping stone for couples who are contemplating the possibility of a divorce. A separation is not permanent, so it can sometimes allow a couple to reconcile and get back together. It may also allow spouses to maintain some of the benefits of being married, such as insurance coverage, while living separately, and it may be an option for ending a relationship while avoiding divorce for religious, cultural, or family reasons.

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