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Dealing With Custody Evaluations in an Illinois DivorceAs times have changed, so have laws concerning divorce and child custody, which Illinois now calls the allocation of parental responsibilities. Rather than just assuming the mother is the obvious caretaker for the children in a marriage, the state of Illinois believes that children will thrive and do their best when both of their parents have an active parenting role in their lives. Because of this, it is assumed that it is in the child’s best interest to spend time with both parents unless there are other reasons why a shared parenting time arrangement would not be in the child’s best interest. If the court has reason to suspect that such a restriction on parenting time may be warranted, they can order a professional evaluation of the situation to be completed.

Basics of a Professional Evaluation

If a professional evaluation is ordered by the court, often, a mental health professional will be hired. These professionals may be psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists or counselors trained in family disputes. Depending on the information the court is looking for, the evaluation can be focused on the parents, the child or a combination of the parties. 

The evaluator’s job is to observe and gain an understanding of the relationships and interaction between the two parents, the child and any other family members, such as siblings. The evaluator will likely use multiple methods to conduct his or her study, which can include:

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Four Tips For Successful Co-Parenting After Your Illinois DivorceWhen you have children, one of the hardest aspects of life after a divorce is figuring out how to be a successful and effective co-parent. This can be especially difficult for couples who no longer get along with one another or who had a very contentious divorce. Though you may wish you were rid of your spouse, having children with them prevents that from being possible. It is your job to work together with your ex to make sure you can provide a secure and loving childhood for your kids. Co-parenting after your divorce is one of the toughest things you will learn to do, but it is also one of the most important. Here are a few tips to help increase your chances of co-parenting success:

  1. Put Your Feelings Aside: This is perhaps the most important tip of all. You and your spouse need to make sure you are putting your feelings to the side and focusing on the wellbeing and happiness of your children. Your children should be the most important part of your life, and ensuring their happiness is more important than the issues you have with your ex.
  2. Work on Communication With Your Ex: Though it may be tough, communication is key when it comes to co-parenting. You should be aiming for peaceful and purposeful communication between you and your ex, all for the benefit of your children. You should keep your ex in the loop when it comes to your child and you should make sure you are including them in any major decisions involving your child.
  3. Stay as Consistent as Possible: It is also important to keep a sense of consistency between the two households for the sake of your children. Obviously, not everything will be the same at both your and your ex’s homes, but general routines and rules should stay the same so your child has a sense of consistency and familiarity.
  4. Remind Your Children That You Love Them: This is also important because it is common for children to blame themselves for the divorce. You should reassure your children every now and then that both you and their other parent still love them very much and that your issues have nothing to do with them.

Hire a Compassionate Will County Family Law Attorney 

At The Foray Firm, we understand that it is often difficult for divorcing parents to transition to life as a single parent, while still taking into account the other parent. Our skilled Joliet family law lawyers can help you and your spouse have a solid and comprehensive parenting plan in place to help reduce any uncertainties after the divorce. Call our office today at 312-702-1293 to schedule a consultation.

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Setting the Record Straight: Common Divorce Myths and Their TruthsMost of the public perception of divorce is just what people have seen in movies and television or what they have heard from family and friends. While Hollywood does a good job of making intriguing entertainment, it can be partially to blame for some of the misinformation that has been spread about divorce. Divorce myths and misinformation can not only confuse you, but they can also be detrimental if you base your divorce decisions off of them. If you are considering filing for a divorce, you should be thoroughly informed of what you are getting yourself into before you do. Here are a few common divorce myths and the truths behind them:

1. Proving that your spouse committed adultery will help your case.

This might have been true 50 years ago, but most divorce courts no longer give any weight toward claims of adultery. In fact, most divorce courts do not care what the specific reason for divorce is. In Illinois, the only type of divorce that is recognized anymore is a “no-fault” divorce. Instead of choosing a reason for getting the divorce, you now only have to prove that there were irreconcilable differences that resulted in the inevitable breakdown of the marriage. The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act also specifically states that decisions will be made “without regard to marital misconduct.”

2. Mothers always receive custody of the children.

This one was also somewhat true for a long time. Now, the state of Illinois does not care whether it is the mother or the father who receives a majority of the parenting time. The only thing that Illinois courts are concerned with is the best interest and the wellbeing of any children who are a part of a divorce. If that means that it is in the children’s best interest to spend most of their time with their father, then that is what the court will decide on.

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Creating a Solid Illinois Parenting PlanDivorces can be tough on everyone in the family. For children, a divorce can be especially stressful. Many parents worry about their children when they decide to get a divorce, but children are unique. They may not initially react well to the change, but children are adaptable and will get used to their new living situation quickly. One of the best things you can do to help your child transition easily is making sure there is a sound parenting plan in place before you finalize your divorce.

What is a Parenting Plan?

In Illinois, all couples who have children and are filing for divorce must create a parenting plan before the divorce can be finalized. A parenting plan is a written agreement that outlines most things pertaining to the children of the marriage, including allocated parenting time and significant decision-making responsibilities.

Elements of a Parenting Plan 

Illinois courts urge couples to try to come up with a parenting plan between the two of them before any intervention happens. If the parents cannot agree on a parenting plan, they will be sent to mediation. If mediation still does not produce a parenting plan, then the judge will make decisions about the children that will go into the parenting plan. 

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