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The Stogsdill Law Firm, P.C.

wheaton divorce lawyerGetting sole custody of a child is difficult in Illinois and many fathers who have tried would argue that it is even more difficult if you are not a child’s mother. Judges are reluctant to keep a child away from a parent without a compelling reason, and although many parents dislike their ex’s parenting style, few behaviors are serious enough to warrant giving full parental responsibilities and parenting time to just one parent. 

In genuine cases of abuse or neglect, Illinois courts can and do restrict the abusive parent’s access to a child, either by heavily limiting contact or curtailing it entirely. Yet the difficulty of bringing such a case before a judge should not dissuade fathers who are concerned their children are suffering. If you find yourself wondering whether you may be able to get full custody of your children in Illinois, read this blog and then contact a custody modification attorney who can help. 

When is a Parent Unfit in Illinois? 

Because Illinois law recognizes that children do best when both parents play a substantial role in their lives, parents are rarely deemed unfit even when their parenting style leaves much to be desired. However, there are some parental behaviors that do merit either significant restriction or complete termination of parental rights in Illinois. This include: 

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wheaton child relocation lawyerMany reasons compel parents to move out of state with their children after divorce. A new job, living closer to family, and a desire to move away from the midwest’s infamous winters all give families good reasons to relocate. But for divorced parents, there are certain procedures that must be followed before they can move children out of state. Parents who share parenting time and parental responsibilities must get permission from each other and/or the court before moving the children outside certain parameters. 

When Does Moving With Children Require Permission? 

Parents with the majority of parenting time who want to move with their children may do so without getting permission from the other parent or the court if their move is less than a certain distance from where they currently live. For parents living in Will, McHenry, Lake, Kane, DuPage, or Cook counties, they may move 25 miles or less from their current residence without obtaining permission. For parents in any other county, they may move 50 miles or less from their previous home, as long as the new residence is in Illinois. If the new residence is not in Illinois, such as over the state line into Indiana, the distance is shortened to 25 miles from the current residence. 

Notifying an Ex-Spouse

Often the easiest way to move out of state is for the parent who is moving to just get permission from the other parent. There are two ways to do this. First, the parent with the majority of parenting time who wishes to move the children out of state can send a notice to the other parent. If the other parent does not object within 21 days, the move is allowed. The second way is by the parents simply talking to each other. If both parents consent to the move, then it is important to put the agreement in writing in case the consenting parent changes their mind. 

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wheaton child custody lawyerUnfortunately, some divorces are so fractious and bitter that parents cannot decide upon a parenting plan that works for everyone. Sometimes, both parents are struggling with personal issues that get in the way of their parenting capabilities. Perhaps one parent will make accusations about another parent’s behavior, and a judge is unsure whether the accusing parent is telling the truth. 

These are just a few examples of situations in which a court may decide to appoint a custody evaluator. Formally, these situations are known under Illinois law as “604b Evaluations” – when the court asks an outside representative to investigate and make a report or recommendation regarding how parental responsibilities should be allocated. 

What is a Custody Evaluator? 

A custody evaluator is almost always a mental health professional, such as a psychologist or a psychiatrist. They complete an extensive investigation into a child’s environment to create a report about what they believe to be in the best interests of the child. Custody evaluators can be very expensive, and parents are often required to pay for the services of the custody evaluator themselves. 

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wheaton divorce lawyerWith June just right around the corner, the days have been getting longer and sunnier as summer encroaches upon Illinois. For many people, summer is a time when things begin to slow down which allows you to spend more time with your family. For parents who are divorced or no longer together, however, summer can be a source of stress. The change in pace and in schedules can be nice, but it can also lead to confusion if your parenting plan does not describe your summer parenting schedule in detail. Ensuring your parenting plan contains information about summer vacation can help save you from major stress in the long run.

Preparing Your Summer Parenting Plan

There are various elements that must be included in any parenting plan when it is created. Usually, there is some form of basic summer planning done and included in your parenting plan, but basic terms can leave room for confusion. Depending on when you first entered into your parenting agreement, it may also need to be updated to accommodate your current circumstances. Summer is coming quickly, so now is the time to review your parenting plan. Here are a few things to keep in mind when planning for summer co-parenting:

  • Discuss your parenting time schedule with your ex. First, you should talk with your ex and determine whether or not a change in your current schedule is needed. Summer often brings changes in the parenting time schedule to allow the parent with the least amount of parenting time during the school year to have more time with the child. Other parents may choose to keep the parenting time schedule the same and adjust other schedules to suit it.

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wheaton divorce lawyerNearly all divorces will involve some degree of disagreement between the couple, however, some divorces involve more disagreement than others. Sometimes, all of that resentment can also affect the way the couple parent their children. Most of the time, couples will set up a co-parenting plan that they will follow after the divorce. However, when parents do not get along with one another very well, co-parenting may be the wrong choice. Co-parenting success depends on both parents being willing to communicate and cooperate with one another to raise their children. In situations where parents are unable to do this, parallel parenting can be more effective and provide an overall more peaceful environment for everyone involved.

What is the Difference Between Co-Parenting and Parallel Parenting?

There is no “one size fits all” solution when it comes to parenting. What may work for some families after a divorce may not work for another family. When it comes to co-parenting, parents usually have to be on somewhat good terms for this parenting style to work. Divorced parents who co-parent are able to attend functions at the same time, help their child transition between households without issue, and solve issues with the other co-parent when needed. Not all parents can do this, which is why some parents may find more success with parallel parenting.

In parallel parenting, parents disengage from one another on a day-to-day basis. Limiting the amount of communication between one another also limits the amount of conflict that may arise. Parents who parallel parent do not get along with one another and may even schedule separate days for certain functions and holidays. Each parent is responsible for making most everyday decisions for their children and only consult with the other parent if an issue arises, or for certain topics, like the child’s medical care. Parallel parenting can provide many benefits to families that have contentious parents and reduce the amount of stress that the children feel because of it.

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