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Joliet child custody attorneyChild custody matters can be complicated for anyone. However, custody and co-parenting concerns can be especially difficult to navigate for same-sex couples.

If you are getting divorced and you have children, you may wonder how the state defines each parent’s right to parenting time and parental responsibilities. You may wonder if homosexual couples are treated differently under the law than heterosexual couples. You may worry that you will not have a right to spend time with your child if your same-sex relationship ends. Concerns like these are valid, and the best way to know how best to handle child custody and parentage issues is to work with a skilled family law attorney. Additionally, it is important to understand how Illinois law determines child custody with same-sex parents in a divorce.

Same-Sex Parents and Divorce

The Illinois divorce process is generally the same for same-sex spouses as it is for opposite-sex spouses. However, the details can vary slightly when children are involved, especially when it comes to the allocation of parental responsibilities.

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Will County divorce lawyerFor both parents and children, a divided parenting time schedule is one of the most difficult adjustments to make after a divorce. While Illinois courts tend to prefer arrangements that allow both parents to spend time with their children, this still means that each parent will spend significant time away from them. In many cases, the parenting time balance is at least slightly skewed toward one parent, and this can make the situation even more difficult for the parent with a lesser share.

If you have been granted less parenting time in your divorce resolution, it does not necessarily mean that you are a lesser parent. Often, such an arrangement is simply best for your children so as to provide stability and minimize interruptions to their routine. While maintaining your relationships with your kids under these circumstances may require a little more effort, it is certainly possible.

Keeping Your Relationships Strong

Here are some suggestions that can help you maintain a strong bond with your children, even if you do not see them as often:

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Will County family law attorneyFor divorced and unmarried parents in Illinois, a parenting plan is crucial to establish the terms of the co-parenting relationship and ensure that the children’s best interests are protected. Like many other family law orders, the terms of a parenting plan are legally binding once they are approved by the court. Parents should be sure to abide by them, both for their children’s sake and in order to avoid legal consequences. If your child’s other parent has violated your parenting agreement, you can take action to enforce the order.

Parenting Plan Violations in Illinois

Illinois parenting plans must be fairly comprehensive when it comes to addressing parenting time, decision-making responsibilities, and communication between co-parents. As such, there are many ways that a parent could violate the terms of the agreement. For example:

  • Keeping the children beyond the end of their scheduled parenting time

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Will County family lawyerAfter a divorce, most parents want to ensure that they can spend as much time as possible with their children. However, parents who work or attend school will need to balance their parenting responsibilities with these other demands on their time. This can be especially difficult for single parents who may not be able to rely on the other parent’s assistance as they did when they were married. As you prepare for a divorce, you should be sure to understand your child care needs and consider how to address them in your divorce resolution.

Strategies For Managing Your Child Care Needs

You may think of providing for your children’s care as a personal responsibility that has little to do with your divorce proceedings. However, there are several aspects of the divorce process through which you can address child care. These include:

  • Creating a thoughtful parenting time schedule. If you and your spouse can cooperate, the court will allow you to work together to create a parenting time schedule that addresses the days and nights your children will stay with each parent, as well as plans for exchanges between homes. As you iron out a schedule that meets your needs, you should keep your work schedule in mind and try to reach an arrangement that minimizes overlap between your parenting time and your work responsibilities.

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Joliet family law attorneysIn many cases, a move to a new location after a divorce can be an important step in starting a new life, especially if it comes with a major change of scenery or a promising career opportunity. However, parents who plan to move with their children after divorce may need to consider not only their children’s best interests, but also the impact of the move on their former spouse. Whether your relocation happens with the other parent’s consent or you need to seek approval from the court, you will also need to prepare to update your parenting plan to account for the change.

What Parenting Plan Modifications Will I Need to Make?

In an ideal scenario, a relocating parent can work with the other parent to modify the parenting plan in a way that protects both parents’ relationships with the children and allows the other parent to feel comfortable with the move. However, it is not always possible for parents to reach such an agreement. When the parents are in conflict, an Illinois court will need to decide on appropriate modifications that are in the children’s best interests. Some of the most important factors the court will consider include the opportunities for the children in the new location and the impact of the move on the children’s relationships with both of their parents.

Regardless of how the modifications come about, here are some ways that your parenting plan may need to change to accommodate for the relocation:

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