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The Stogsdill Law Firm, P.C.
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DuPage County child custody attorneyIn Illinois family law cases, the terms “child custody” and “visitation” are not referred to as “allocation of parental responsibilities” and “parenting time.” When divorcing parents cannot agree on an arrangement for dividing parental responsibilities and parenting time, the court may need to intervene. Custody-related legal proceedings can be stressful for both the parents and the children. If you are in a legal dispute with your child’s other parent, you may have concerns about your child’s involvement in the case. Child testimonies are sometimes, but not always, used in Illinois child custody disputes. Fortunately, Illinois courts have several methods for conducting child interviews in a way that minimizes the stress on the child.

Will My Child Be Put on the Witness Stand?

If you and your child’s other parent cannot agree upon a parenting arrangement, a judge will be tasked with making a custody determination that serves the child’s best interests. You may wonder whether this means that your child will be forced to testify in court. Typically, children are not required to testify in court; however, the judge may use a child interview to gather information regarding a custody case. 

Because court hearings can be very overwhelming and frightening for children, Illinois courts do everything possible to gather children’s testimonies in a child-friendly way. Rarely are children placed on the witness stand. If the judge wishes to hear the child’s testimony in a custody case, he or she will most likely speak to the child privately in the judge's chambers. The judge may ask the child questions about his or her thoughts, feelings, and preferences. Unless otherwise agreed upon, the parents’ respective attorneys will typically be present for the child interview. A court reporter will transcribe the child’s testimony word-for-word so that this testimony can be used in future child custody hearings.

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DuPage County divorce attorney for co-parenting

If you are a parent who is considering divorce, or if you have already started the process of ending your marriage, you probably have concerns about how you will share parental responsibilities and parenting time with your ex-spouse. Understandably, it can be very difficult for newly-divorced parents to jointly raise their children. It takes a great deal of teamwork, patience, and creativity to find a co-parenting strategy that works for your unique family situation. Fortunately, experts have several pieces of advice that may help divorced parents share parenting roles in a way that decreases stress for everyone.

Embrace Technological Assistance  

There are a good number of applications, websites, and other resources that divorced parents can benefit from. Some parents find that sharing a Google calendar can help them stay on track with parenting time schedules. Others use an app such as Cozi, Coparently, or OurFamilyWizard to organize parent and child schedules, keep track of school events, share information about expenses, and more. Often, the most difficult part of co-parenting is communicating with your ex. Using technology to connect can make the process easier and more organized.

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Lombard parenting plan modification lawyerWhen a couple makes the decision to pursue a divorce, the process can be incredibly complicated. When children are involved, the decisions made during divorce will affect their lives for years to come. However, people’s circumstances may change, and a modification to your divorce decree may be necessary in order to reflect changes in how you and your ex-spouse handle parental responsibilities and parenting time. If you plan to ask for a change to your child custody agreement, it is important to take the proper steps as you prepare for this request.

Preparing for a Parenting Plan Modification

You may petition for a modification to the parenting plan created in your divorce decree, but when considering these requests, a judge will base their decision on what is in children’s best interests. In order to show that your proposed changes will be in children’s best interests, you can take the following steps:

  • Remain Cordial With Your Former Spouse: The easiest way to modify your parenting plan is through working cooperatively with your ex-spouse to devise a plan that works for all parties involved. If you can show your former spouse that you can work together with them to provide a safe and loving home for your children, they are more likely to work with you in modifying the plan. On the other hand, any aggressive or insensitive behavior is likely to significantly impact their willingness to modify the plan. 
  • Be an Engaged Parent: If your former spouse is unwilling to work with you to modify your plan, even with the help of a mediator or family law professional, you may need to argue your case for a modification in a custody hearing. The best way to convince the court that you deserve more parental responsibilities or parenting time is through being a great parent. Be highly engaged in your child’s life, including staying informed of their academic performance and attending their extracurricular activities. You should also ensure that you have ample space in your home for your child to live, sleep, and play. 
  • Pay Child Support: Proving that you are a responsible parent is incredibly important as you look to modify your parenting plan. If you are responsible for paying child support, it is important that you make each payment in full and on time. Meeting your child support responsibilities can also encourage your former spouse to work with you in developing a mutually-beneficial modification to the parenting plan. 

Contact a Wheaton Family Law Attorney

At the Stogsdill Law Firm, P.C., we understand the difficulties that parents and children face when struggling to adjust to the reality of divorce. If your family’s situation has changed, our attorneys will work with you to modify your parenting plan and help you reach an outcome that is best for you and your family. To schedule an initial consultation with a knowledgeable DuPage County child custody lawyer, contact us today at 630-462-9500. 

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DuPage County divorce and child custody attorneyFiling for divorce can represent an opportunity to begin a new life. Leaving a loveless marriage or an unhealthy relationship can oftentimes be the best decision a person can make. Still, the divorce process can quickly become complicated, especially when children are involved. Custody battles can be lengthy and stressful, and winning sole custody of children can be especially difficult. If you are filing for divorce and looking to address issues related to child custody, you need quality legal guidance. 

Preparing for a Custody Battle

Every year, thousands of Americans file for divorce. Many people seeking a separation from their former spouse do not prepare for the divorce process in a proper manner. Listed below are a few steps that every person should take if they are looking to secure custody rights for their children:

  • Devise a Strategy: As you approach the divorce process, it is important to strategically plan for all important aspects of the separation. For parents, nothing is more important than their children. In order to secure custody, you and your legal team need to present a compelling case to the judge. Speaking with your attorney about what areas you want to focus on can be key to your case. Has your former spouse been absent in crucial parenting moments, or have they struggled to maintain steady employment? Have there been any instances of domestic violence or abuse, and can you provide evidence of risks to your children? Presenting your legal team with as much information as possible is critical to building your strategy. 
  • Prove Yourself as a Parent: While your legal team works on your case, there are steps you need to take in order to prove that you are capable of handling independent parenting. Make sure that your house or apartment has space for your children to live, play, sleep, and do homework. Avoid heavy drinking or other forms of substance abuse. If you are relocating, conduct research on your area’s school system and the extracurricular activities available. Demonstrating that you are the best person to care for your children is key to winning custody. 
  • Secure Child Support Payments: Parenting as an individual can be incredibly financially difficult. As you speak with your legal team regarding custody, it is important to have a discussion about securing child support payments from your former spouse. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, only 45.6 of single custodial parents throughout the United States were provided with full child support payments. A quality legal team can ensure that you receive full payments both now and in the future. 

Contact a DuPage County Family Law Attorney 

At The Stogsdill Law Firm, P.C., our legal team fully understands how stressful the divorce process can be, especially when children are involved. We have decades of experience in divorce cases involving children, and we can help you present a compelling case to a judge as you seek to secure sole custody of your children. Our team is also prepared to aggressively fight for child support payments from your former spouse. If you are filing for divorce, you need the legal assistance of a team you can trust. To schedule a consultation with a Wheaton divorce attorney, contact us today at 630-462-9500. 

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After a divorce, one's life changes in many ways. In addition to learning a new dynamic with an ex-spouse, it often requires learning a new dynamic with children. For many people, part of adjusting to these changes is relocating. Sometimes people relocate to be closer to family or to begin a new career. Sometimes relocation helps to "start over" or seek new opportunities in a new place, and sometimes those new opportunities are out-of-state. Those looking to relocate out of state with children have a hurdle between themselves and a big move-they are required to get an order of removal.

What Is an Order of Removal?

An order of removal is a court order that provides permission for a parent to remove his or her child from Illinois. An order of removal is not required for short trips, such as vacations, so long as the other parent agrees. It is also not required for relocation within the state; however, if a relocation within the state disrupts the custody and visitation arrangements, a judge may not allow the child to relocate.

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