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Very few divorce agreements ever remain totally unmodified, and some of the most common modifications involve parenting time. For a variety of reasons, parenting time divisions are extremely likely to change, though in some cases it is possible to successfully oppose the change. Regardless of which side of a proposed change you are on, knowing how the law around parenting time works can always be helpful.
Parenting Time and Parental Responsibilities
The law surrounding child custody in Illinois has recently undergone significant modification. In January 2016, a revamped Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) took effect, and made major changes to the issues of child custody and support (among others). The new terminology reflects the fact that sole or joint custody is no longer awarded to either parent. Instead, the “allocation of parental responsibilities” reflects the state’s wish for a more cooperative parenting approach. Rather than ceding custody to one parent or the other, responsibility for making various decisions on the child’s behalf is apportioned. The amount of parenting time does not necessarily mirror the amount of parental responsibility granted to you, though it may.
There is no question that divorce is already a difficult and painful process. Couples with children have an even more challenging road ahead of them. Parents must not only come to terms with the end of their marriage, but also need to figure out how to move forward as mothers and fathers. How will they raise their children now that they are no longer married?
Attitudes regarding the roles of parents after a divorce have changed dramatically in the last 50 years. There was a time when mothers were almost automatically considered a child’s main or only parent. Mothers were generally tasked with raising children both within a marriage and after a marriage ended in divorce. Eventually, society began to recognize the dramatically important role a father plays in a child’s life. However, today’s mothers are still more likely to be awarded custody of their children than fathers are. According to a new study, this maternal favoritism may not be in the best interest of children.
Children Do Better in Life When Both Parents Are Involved
While it may not be an ideal situation, some parents may be not at a place in their lives where they are equipped to properly care for their children. In some cases, parents may recognize this reality early enough so that they can take steps to ensure their children have appropriate parental figures or guardians to guide them as they grow. The process of establishing the guardianship of a minor is fairly straightforward, though it can be technical and time-consuming.
The Illinois Probate Act is the law governing guardianship of minors, and it lays out the requirements for anyone wanting to act as a guardian. A guardian must:
Divorce is a painful process for the families who go through it. Children can especially be affected, as their entire world is changing. During or after a divorce, it is difficult for many to hold their tongues regarding their ex-spouse, and parents may be tempted to make a snide remark about their ex. Such emotions are understandable and even tolerable, to a small extent, but in extreme cases, vindictive parents directly attempt to alienate a child from the other parent. This is called parental alienation, and it can create serious problems for both the child and the offending parent.
Parental alienation often includes manipulative or destructive behavior on the part of the adult and is meant to weaken or break the relationship between the child and his or her other parent. A father telling his children lies about the mother so that they will prefer staying at his house would be an example of parental alienation. It could also involve a mother who refuses to let her children see their father by falsely claiming he does not want to be a part of their lives. When a parent tries to change a child’s perception of the other parent in an unethical way, parental alienation is occurring. This manipulative behavior is also sometimes referred to as “aggressive hostile parenting.”
Consequences of Parental Alienation
In a previous post on this blog, we talked about the importance of keeping both parents active in a child’s life. Sharing custody of your children with an ex, however, can be complicated and stressful. Fortunately, in the digital age, help exists in the form of apps and websites which can help you align schedules, plan, organize and stay on the same page as your ex-spouse.
Every family is different and what works for some may not work for others. If you are a person who uses technology to organize your life, you may benefit from apps such as: