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Posted on in Child Custody

guardian ad litem, Kane County family law attorneyWhen it comes to making decisions regarding child custody—now called the allocation of parental responsibilities in Illinois—a family court judge is an unenviable position. He or she is tasked with making arrangements that will affect the lives of not only the child or children in question but also the both parents and extended families on both sides. In any child-related legal matter, the law in Illinois requires the court to keep the child’s best interest as its highest priority. To ensure that the child’s well-being is fully protected, the court may appoint a duly trained lawyer to serve as a guardian ad litem during the proceedings.

What Is the GAL’s Role

A guardian ad litem, or GAL, is an attorney who has participated in a county-specific training and certification program so that he or she may serve the court in such a capacity. When appointed, the GAL does not represent the child or serve as counsel to any party; rather, he or she operates as an extension of the court itself and is expected to testify as an independent expert witness.

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Posted on in Child Custody

first refusal, St. Charles family law attorneyWhen a couple with children elects to end their marriage, they will need to create a parenting plan for the future. A parenting plan is a formal agreement that specifies the rights and responsibilities of each parent regarding the child, serving as a foundation for the couple’s co-parenting efforts. Illinois law provides more than a dozen considerations that a parenting plan must address, such as the child’s primary address for school enrollment purposes and a schedule for each party’s parenting time. In addition, a parenting plan may include other, optional provisions including the right of first refusal. If your parenting agreement gives you the right of first refusal, you need to fully understand what that right entails.

Additional Parenting Time Opportunities

When it is part of a parenting plan, the right of first refusal may be invoked when one parent needs alternate arrangements for child care during his or her normal parenting time. Depending upon how the right of first refusal is structured, it could apply when a parent has an evening obligation, or the right may be reserved for longer periods of needed care—such a weekend-long business trip on a parent’s scheduled weekend with the child. The right of first refusal, when it applies, requires the parent needing alternate care to notify the other parent and offer him or her the opportunity to care for the child.

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Posted on in Child Custody

parenting plan. Kane County family law attorneyIt is not easy to raise children, even under the best of circumstances. For parents who are divorced, separated, or unmarried, the situation can be much more difficult. In Illinois, the law encourages a divorcing couple with children to develop a comprehensive parenting plan so that each parent can fully understand his or her rights and responsibilities regarding the child. As time goes on, it is very important for both parties to remain compliant with the parenting plan and to keep the best interests of the child as their top priority.

Components of a Parenting Plan

According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, any parent involved in a proceeding for the allocation of parental responsibilities—previously known as child custody—is expected to prepare and submit to the court a proposed parenting plan. Each parent may create a separate proposal, or the parents can develop one together. The law provides more than a dozen considerations that are to be included in any parenting plan, including but not limited to:

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moving, Kane County family law attorneysToday’s world is, in many ways, more connected than ever before. Thanks to the rise of digital and online technology, it has never been easier to look for new employment or educational opportunities that may exist far from your current home. For some people, it is also relatively easy to pick up and move to a new city or state in search of a better life, but this is not the case for everyone. If you are divorced, separated, or unmarried and you and your child’s other parent share parental responsibilities, moving to a new area can be rather complicated.

How Far Is Too Far?

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act provides that any move that qualifies as a “relocation” must be approved by the court in advance. A relocation is any move by a parent with half or more of the parenting time with the child that exceeds a certain radius from the current home. If you currently live in Kane County—or Cook, DuPage, Lake, McHenry, or Will County—an in-state move of more than 25 miles is a relocation. If you currently live in any other county, a relocation is any in-state move of over 50 miles. Finally, if you live anywhere in Illinois and move more than 25 miles to a new out-of-state home, the move is considered a relocation.

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Posted on in Child Custody

other parent, Kane County family law attorneySharing custody of your child—now formally known as parental responsibilities under Illinois law, can be challenging under the best of circumstances. Effective co-parenting requires communication, cooperation, and, in many cases, letting a few little things go in order to facilitate a more agreeable situation.

Protecting Parenting Time

When you are a divorced, separated, or unmarried parent, you most likely treasure the time you get to spend with your children. While this may be especially true if your parenting time is less than that of the other parent, most parents recognize that time with their child is special and should be treated as such. The realities of life, however, often create additional difficulties for a divorced parent. For example, what if a PTA meeting or other school-related function falls on a night when your children are supposed to be with you?

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