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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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child-custodyFor parents going through a divorce, one of the steps in the process is formulating parenting schedule. Formerly known as “visitation”, parenting time arrangements legally lay out your schedule for parenting and spending time with your child. Oftentimes the custodial parent will remain living in the marital home with the children while the non-custodial parent will move into a new apartment or house and care for the children from that location. This allows each parent to have their own space while still caring for their child. However, there is another option that many families have never heard of known as nesting.

What Is Nesting?

Nesting is an alternative arrangement that some divorcing families use to help their children with the transitional period of the divorce. For those with a nesting arrangement, the children will remain in the marital home regardless of who is caring for them. Rather than moving from one parent’s home to another, the parents come to them. This can help children, especially those of a young age, become accustomed to their parents splitting up. It can be difficult for young children to live between two homes and some parents decide to take additional steps to keep their life as “normal” as possible.

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Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, Illinois parenting time and responsibilities lawyer,Divorce proceedings can get ugly very quickly, especially when children are involved. Rarely do child custody cases go as planned and both parents usually do not get the custody arrangement that they were hoping for. Regardless of the parents’ marital relationship, many couples get used to co-parenting and can find it difficult to have to “take time off” from parenting their kids. Things can become even more complicated if the parenting relationship is contentious.

What Situations Warrant Visitation?

In order for the court to require supervised visits between a parent and their child, a serious situation must have happened between the parent and child or the two parents. The bad blood between divorcing spouses may prompt one or both parents to try and seek full custody or supervised visitation requirements for the child’s other parent. In order for the court to take this request seriously, one of the following situations must be proven:

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