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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 divorce lawyerGetting a divorce brings so many major life changes that you may find yourself looking for comfort and stability in things that can stay the same. This mindset may have led you to prioritize keeping your marital home in the division of property so that you do not have to worry about moving along with ending your marriage. However, keeping the home is not always the best decision, and it is important to consider your answers to the following questions as you decide how to proceed.

Are You Raising Children?

If you have kids under the age of 18 who are still living with you, especially if you are expecting a greater share of parenting time, staying in your home may be important to help the children adjust and allow them to continue attending the same school. If your children are already grown, however, a divorce may be a good opportunity to sell the home and downsize to a residence that is more affordable and easier to maintain.

Can You Afford the Mortgage?

If you and your spouse have not finished paying off your mortgage, keeping the home in the divorce will likely also mean that you become fully responsible for the debt. Homeownership also comes with other substantial costs, including insurance, property tax, utilities, and repairs. If all of these expenses fit into your post-divorce budget, keeping the home may be a good idea, but if you cannot pay them, it may be best to let the home go.

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Joliet child custody lawyerAs a recently divorced parent who puts your children’s wellbeing first, you may understand the importance of co-parenting with your former spouse, both for the sake of maintaining a consistent routine and ensuring that your kids continue to have strong relationships with both parents. However, when it comes to actually communicating with your ex to make this possible, you may be struggling, especially if the emotional pain of the divorce is still fresh. Learning how to communicate effectively with your co-parent can be one of the most challenging responsibilities you have as a parent, but it is also often one of the most important.

Tips for Better Co-Parenting Communication

Some of the details of your co-parenting strategy will be laid out in your parenting plan, while others develop with time. Communication is a skill that takes work, and the following tips can help you continue to improve.

  • Find the right method of communication. Some co-parents are able to communicate face-to-face without a problem, but it is okay if this does not work for you. Talking on the phone or communicating through text or email are perfectly acceptable. Written communication may even be better in some cases, like when you have important plans to share with your co-parent.
  • Know when to communicate. You should also know when communication with your former spouse is appropriate. Your parenting plan likely specifies situations that require communication, like an emergency, upcoming travel plans, or significant decisions for which both parents should provide input. Communication surrounding parenting time exchanges is also often important. However, texting or calling your ex at all hours is rarely necessary, and it could even interfere with his or her parenting time.

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Will County divorce attorneyThough getting a divorce is often the right decision for personal reasons, you may find yourself at risk of financial hardship without your spouse’s income, especially if your own earning ability is limited. Petitioning for spousal maintenance can help you meet your needs after the divorce, but these support payments usually have an end date, and they can terminate earlier than expected under certain circumstances. With this in mind, it is a good idea to start planning for your future as soon as possible.

How Long Will Support Payments Continue?

When an Illinois court determines that spousal support is appropriate, it will often be ordered for a fixed term, the length of which is figured using a calculation based on the length of the marriage. In general, a longer marriage means a longer duration of spousal maintenance payments, though the court may decide to deviate from the calculation depending on the specific circumstances. In any case, the end date of support payments will be included in the divorce decree. However, alimony payments can terminate before the expected end date if the receiving spouse remarries or moves in with a new partner, or if the paying spouse dies.

Getting Ready for Alimony to End

Even if the end date of your spousal maintenance payments is set for several years in the future, you should start preparing for that eventuality early on. An important first step is to create a budget that factors in all of your monthly and yearly income, including from spousal support and possibly child support if you are a parent, as well as your expenses. During this process, you may find opportunities to cut costs that can make your financial obligations more manageable.

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