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Schaumburg family law attorneyThere are a wide variety of reasons why you and your child’s other parent may not live in the same home. Following your break-up or divorce, you and the other parent will need to develop a cooperative parenting plan that outlines each of your responsibilities regarding your child. As part of your plan, you will also need to include direction over the time that each of you will get to spend with your child. Once known as visitation, the law in Illinois now refers to this as parenting time and recognizes the importance of quality parenting time in helping to foster a strong relationship between the child and both parents.

Get It in Writing and Get It Approved

If you are or were married to the other parent, Illinois law mandates that your divorce agreement will need to account for your child. The court will not enter a finalized divorce judgment until there is an approved parenting plan in place or, if necessary, an order for the allocation of parental responsibilities has been issued.

But what if you and the other parent were never married? While children born outside of marriage are far from uncommon, there are often more complex considerations needed to be sure that each parents’ rights are protected. Presuming paternity is not in question, and you have voluntarily acknowledged your parentage, the two of you will need to develop a parenting plan and a schedule for parenting time. No matter how rocky your relationship with the other parent may be, you are entitled to reasonable rights of parenting time.

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visitation, child custody rights, Inverness family law attorney, non-parent custody, non-parent visitationProtecting a child from the harshness that life sometimes brings is a primary goal for parents, which requires exercising control over the things and people a child experiences. Parents are granted a lot of leeway in determining who has access to their child as individuals who legally and naturally hold child custody rights. This deference is based upon the presumption that parents are best suited to decide whether exposure to specific individuals is detrimental to their child. In practice, this means relatives and other significant adults may be blocked from communicating and/or seeing a child. Moreover, in most circumstances, Courts will not question this decision absent certain specific facts.

A parent’s decision to block or limit the access of another person often has much to do with the relationship the two persons share, as well as the parenting style used to raise the child. The question of whether a non-parent has the right to ask for visitation or custody rights depends on whether he or she has standing — a legal concept related to a party’s ability to ask a Court to settle a dispute.

Illinois law permits some non-parents to petition for custody or visitation if the natural parents are divorced or otherwise share parental responsibilities. These cases tend to be contentious because attempts to assert rights normally reserved for parents are frequently viewed as over-stepping well-established bounds, and put a parent in the role of having to defend his or her child rearing decisions.

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Arlington family law attorney, parenting responsibilitiesRaising a child is no small task, and includes an incredible amount of responsibility. Most parents try, and have a vested interest in, basing their decisions on what is best for their child. This selfless tendency is part of the reason why the law favors awards of shared parenting time between parents in divorce or paternity proceedings.

Children thrive most when both parents play a large and consistent role in their lives; though in practice, one parent usually provides the majority of the childcare. However, Courts have the authority to deviate from the shared model when circumstances warrant such a decision, including and up to giving one parent sole physical and legal parental responsibilities of the child.

Even if one parent is given sole responsibility, the other is usually granted some degree of visitation and communication with the child to prevent the total loss of a parent. This type of restricted visitation is used when the child's safety or development is threatened, but the parent with primary responsibility for the child cannot impose or deny visitations without a Court order, even if his or her concerns are legitimate.

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Palatine family attorney, custody ordersBalancing work and family following divorce is bound to involve many challenges and tradeoffs, particularly when child custody is shared. The logistics of transferring a child between parents and households is often tricky, especially as the needs of the child change over time. These difficulties exist when parents live in close proximity to one another. However, they are greatly magnified by distance.

Once state lines are crossed, visits may become less frequent. Visits may also last for days or weeks on end instead of just one weekend. When distance is a factor in visitation, one concern that either parent may have is enforcing the terms of the parenting plan. If a parent decides to withhold visitation, limit communication, or refuse to return the child as agreed upon, then the other parent will likely need to initiate legal action to force the other parent to comply. Still, with parents accessing Courts in different states, the possibility exists that Courts could issue conflicting custody orders resulting in the child pinging back and forth between parents. This situation is not in the child's best interest, and 49 states, including Illinois, have passed a uniform law that governs how Courts should treat custody disputes that cross state lines.

What Are Courts Allowed to Decide

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Palatine family law attorney, rights of grandparentsChildren of divorced parents must deal with losing the stability of a two-parent home, potentially moving away from friends and family, and adjusting to living in multiple households. Losing friends and family is often the most difficult part of the divorce process. One family member that would be particularly hard to lose is a grandparent.

Grandparents commonly play a large role in a child's life, and have a large impact on a child's development. In fact, some grandparents find themselves raising their grandchildren. More commonly, though, is the grandparent trying to stay in the good graces of both parents in hopes of avoiding a reduction or termination of contact with his/her grandchild.

Parents may choose to cut ties with an ex-spouse's family, particularly if there are issues of domestic abuse or protracted, high-conflict custody disputes. However, the end result is the grandparent and child losing this relationship. Legally, parents are given broad latitude in deciding who is permitted to see their children, and this authority extends to grandparents. Thus, if a parent decides to block communication between a grandparent and grandchild, there is typically little the grandparent can do. However, many states, Illinois included, are starting to recognize the value a grandparent brings to a child by passing laws that grant grandparents some visitation rights following a divorce.

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child custody order, child custody enforcement, Illinois child custody, Palatine lawyer.The divorce is finalized; child custody agreed upon, and a visitation plan set in place. Thankfully, you can move on with your life.

Or so you think, until your ex-spouse violates the visitation agreement, not once, not twice, but numerous times. Unfortunately, some parents continue to use their children long after the marriage has ended. If this is happening in your life, you need the guidance of an experienced Palatine child custody attorney.

Enforcing Child Custody in Illinois

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