110 E. Schiller Street, Suite 320, Elmhurst, IL 60126

Weiss-Kunz & Oliver, LLC312-605-4041

CHICAGO
 ⚫ PARK RIDGE
 ⚫ ELMHURST -

IL divorce lawyerWhen you have children with another person, you will forever be connected to that person, whether you like it or not. Divorcing couples who have minor children must figure out some sort of agreement for how they will divide their parenting time and how they will allocate their parental responsibilities. Most parents will opt to agree to co-parenting, meaning you work together with your child’s other parent to raise them. However, co-parenting requires a specific degree of communication and cooperation, which not all couples have. For some high-conflict couples, a parallel parenting agreement is a much better option.

What Is Parallel Parenting?

In a normal co-parenting relationship, both parents are able to communicate and are willing to cooperate with one another as they raise their children. In some situations, however, that is not possible. Couples who have exhibited an inability to get along with one another may do better in a parallel parenting situation. Parallel parenting is similar to co-parenting, but with parallel parenting, the parents are disengaged from one another and have limited communication with one another. This style of parenting is meant to reduce the conflict between the parents and the tension that the children may feel.

Benefits of Parallel Parenting

Though it is not necessary for all couples, there can be many benefits to parallel parenting for couples who need it. The basis of parallel parenting is to reduce the amount of interaction between the parents, which in turn reduces the likelihood that you and your spouse will fight or argue in front of the children. Studies have shown that children do not respond to conflict well and can actually suffer long-term consequences if they are constantly exposed to it. In cases where parents cannot seem to get along, parallel parenting is in the best interests of the children.

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Il divorce lawyerFor many couples who are divorcing with children, much of the stress present during the divorce accumulates because of child-related issues. It can sometimes feel like you are fighting tooth and nail to ensure your children are getting what is best for them. The issue is that your spouse also thinks that he knows what is best for the children and most of the time, that idea does not line up entirely with yours. Most parents will have some sort of an argument or disagreement at some point during the process, but when the situation gets too out of hand, the judge might intervene and order you and your spouse to work with a parenting coordinator.

The Role of a Parenting Coordinator

A parenting coordinator, also known as a PC, is a highly-trained professional who helps parents that are separated or divorced settle their disputes about child-related issues. PCs are used in situations in which the parents of a child just cannot seem to get along or cooperate with one another. The PC’s main task is to help couples make decisions without having to make multiple court appearances. A PC may also:

  • Make recommendations to the court concerning approaches that are aimed at reducing the conflict between parents and stress on the children
  • Mediate disputes between parents
  • Recommend other resources such as psychotherapy, drug counseling and/or testing, or parenting classes
  • Serve as a line of communication between parents
  • Give the couple tools and practices to help facilitate healthy communication

When Would a Parenting Coordinator Be Appointed?

Most of the time, parenting coordinators are appointed to couples by a judge. Parents are permitted to hire a parenting coordinator of their own will, but both parents must be in agreement, making it a rare occurrence. A parenting coordinator is usually used as a last resort and is appointed if:

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IL divorce lawyerEven though a divorce technically just involves you and your spouse, the two of you are not the only ones who will be affected by the divorce. Getting a divorce affects the whole family, especially if you have children. Having children also means there is likely a greater chance that there will be disagreement during your divorce proceedings. When it comes to child-related issues, it is not uncommon for parents to be unable to see eye-to-eye. In cases in which there is extensive disagreement, a judge may appoint a guardian ad litem (GAL) to your case to help your children’s voices be heard.

What Is a GAL?

In Illinois, the default procedure is to encourage parents to come to an agreement on child-related issues. The court will try to get the parents to use various methods of negotiation, including mediation, to settle disagreements. If the judge determines that the parents are unable to work together or put their children’s needs ahead of their own, they may appoint a GAL to help keep the children’s best interests in mind. A GAL is a highly-trained professional, often an attorney, who is appointed to basically be the attorney for the children and protect their best interests.

How Will a GAL Impact My Case?

To accomplish their job, a GAL will employ a variety of methods for gathering information so they can make their recommendations. Many times, a GAL will conduct interviews with each of the children, the parents, and other people that are present in the family’s lives, such as teachers or psychologists. The GAL will also likely conduct a home visit during which they will observe the interactions between the family members.

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IL divorce lawyerGetting a divorce is an extreme life change. Nearly every single aspect of your life is affected when you make the decision to get a divorce. And not just your life -- the lives of your family members are also affected. Even though your children are not the ones getting divorced, divorces do not discriminate and affect everyone around them. It is not uncommon to seek a change in scenery after a divorce. For some people, moving allows them to be closer to family, closer to a job opportunity, or simply just offers a fresh start. Children are often a point of contention throughout divorce, but they can also be a point of contention when it comes to relocating.

Petitioning for Relocation

If you were assigned the majority of parenting time or an equal amount of parenting time during your divorce, you can ask the court to allow you to move with your child. To do this, you must first notify your child’s other parent in writing at least 60 days before the intended move. Your notice should include your date of relocation, the new address where you and the child will live, and how long the relocation will last if it is not permanent.

If your child’s other parent signs the notice, then you can move with your child without further court intervention. If the child’s other parent objects to the relocation, you must then file a petition to relocate with the court.

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IL divorce attorneyGetting a divorce has many ramifications, especially when it comes to familial relationships. Not only are you splitting up with your spouse, but you are also splitting up your family unit, which in many cases includes extended family such as grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. In many families, grandparents have a close relationship with their grandchildren, especially if they helped care for them. Unfortunately, divorce can bring out the worst in people and a parent can interfere with the relationship between the child and a grandparent for whatever reason. Illinois laws address this issue in the Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act.

Visitation Rights of Certain Non-Parents

The state of Illinois has recognized that extended family members often play a large role in a child’s life. In some families, grandparents take care of the children while the parents are at work. In other families, the child spends a significant amount of time with his or her step-parent. The law allows certain family members to petition for visitation or electronic communication when a parent “unreasonably” denies visitation or communication and the denial has caused undue mental, physical or emotional harm. These family members include:

  • Grandparents
  • Great-grandparents
  • Step-parents
  • Siblings
  • Step-siblings

Granting Visitation

If visitation for the child is contested, the court’s presumption is that the parent denying the visitation is acting in the child’s best interests. This means the burden to prove otherwise lies with the person who is petitioning for visitation. Typically, a judge will not grant visitation to a non-parent unless that person can demonstrate that the denial of visitation would cause harm to the child’s emotional, physical, or mental wellbeing.

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