Category Archives: Children

Kane County family law attorneyWhen you are a divorced parent, figuring out how to divide holiday parenting time can be very difficult. It is especially challenging if you and the other parent are not able to communicate effectively. Any parent who has a healthy relationship with their child, however, will want to spend time together during important family holidays like Christmas. Doing so is possible with some advance planning and cooperation between you and your ex-spouse.

You and your former partner may already have an agreement in place regarding where your child will spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. A holiday parenting schedule is often included in a court-approved parenting plan. In many situations, parents—especially those who live relatively far from one another—will enjoy Christmas parenting time in alternating years. For example, your child may spend Christmas with you this year and, next year, he or she will spend Christmas with the other parent.

If you and the other parent live close enough, however, your child may be able to spend part of the holiday with each of you. Of course, this may be more complicated in terms of transportation and scheduling meals with extended family, but the time with your child on Christmas is worth the extra trouble.

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Kane County family law attorneyWhen a couple gets married, it is not at all uncommon for a spouse—usually a woman, but not always—to take her partner’s last name as a symbol of their union. Some partners choose to hyphenate their surnames so as to keep their own identity while adding their spouse’s name to theirs. When a marriage comes to an end, it is relatively easy—and usually part of the standard divorce paperwork—for a spouse who changed her name to change it back during the proceedings. But, what about the children of a divorcing couple? It turns out that changing the name of a minor child in Illinois may be more complicated than most people realize.

What the Law Says

While most of the legal details surrounding marriage and divorce are governed by the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (750 ILCS 5), name changes are typically made in accordance with the Illinois Code of Civil Procedure (735 ILCS 5). The statute provides that a name change for a minor child is possible if the court finds “by clear and convincing evidence that the change is necessary to serve the best interest of the child.” A separate provision in the Illinois Parentage Act of 2015 (750 ILCS 46) allows for a child’s name to be changed if both parents agree, though this law is typically utilized in cases of unmarried parents or when parentage is in question.

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Kane County family law attorneyAlthough same-sex marriage is legal throughout the United States and Illinois law was recently amended to allow same-sex parents to become legal parents to any child born or conceived during their marriage, there are still certain issues that same-sex parents can face that do not affect heterosexual parents or, if they do affect heterosexual parents, do not affect them as widely or as profoundly. In the divorce process, same-sex couples are treated identically to heterosexual couples – or ideally, should be. Sometimes, a biased judge can make unfair rulings, requiring the couple to take time to appeal the ruling in order to receive fair treatment. If you are a parent in a same-sex relationship who is divorced, preparing to divorce, or working through another legal issue like adopting a child or modifying an established court order, discuss any specific issues you might face with your family lawyer before your proceed.

Legal Parentage of Your Children

In 2015, the Illinois Parentage Act was altered to be more inclusive of same-sex couples. Now, any child born or conceived during a couple's marriage, regardless of the couple's genders, is legally the child of both parents.

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Illinois child custody attorney, Illinois family law attorneyIf you have been divorced for many years, you are probably fairly comfortable navigating the world of parenting after a divorce. If you are recently divorced, you might still be trying to determine what works and what does not work in this field. Co-parenting is a collaborative effort and the decisions you and your former partner make are generally driven by your child's academic, social, and medical needs. For many Illinois families, a young adult attending college after high school is one of the events that requires careful planning and cooperation between divorced parents.

Although your son or daughter is legally an adult at this age, it is not uncommon for you and your former partner to continue to support him or her financially. In fact, there may be a clause in your divorce settlement requiring one or both of you to contribute to his or her college expenses. But even if the financial aspect of your roles as parents in your child's college education is squared away, there are other issues you need to clarify. Who will drop your child off to campus? In which home will he or she stay during school breaks? How will expenses outside tuition and fees that your child incurs be handled?

Remember, Your Child Is an Adult

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Illinois family law attorney, Illinois divorce lawyerFor many Illinois children and teens, summer is a season of outdoor adventure. Swimming, biking, hiking, and nights spent around the campfire become cherished memories and when summer is over, children often spend the colder months reminiscing and looking forward to their next summer vacation. For some families, summer also means family vacations and extended stays at summer camp. These, as well as everyday activities back home, are not without their risk of injury. Children can suffer life-changing injuries in accidents and all sorts of summertime scenarios, especially when they are not adequately supervised. To prevent an injury this summer, speak with your former spouse about safety rules for outdoor activities, vacations, and summer camp. Working together is part of your parenting agreement and as parents, it is your job to keep your child safe.

Summer Safety Topics to Discuss with Your Former Spouse and Your Child  

  • Pool and water safety: On hot days, your child will probably go swimming in a pool or a lake. On vacation, he or she might even have a chance to swim in the ocean. Discuss boundaries to enforce when swimming, such as requiring that an adult be present at all times when your child is in or near the water or requiring that he or she wear a life jacket while on a boat;
  • Fire safety: If your child's summer will involve campfires, talk to him or her about safe procedures around fires. Stress what to do if he or she catches on fire: stop, drop, and roll on the ground to put the fire out;   
  • Safe boundaries: Your child might go hiking or bicycling with friends this summer. Discuss how far he or she may venture from home and certain areas he or she is not to go, such as crossing highways or beyond a certain point in your neighborhood; and    
  • What to do in the event of an emergency: At summer camp and while out with friends, your child could potentially suffer an     accident like a bicycle collision or a fall from a dock or raised platform. Discuss what to do in such as situation with your child.   

Your discussion with your former spouse should be about which rules to relax for the summer, such as an appropriate bedtime for your child, as well as your expectations for how he or she will be supervised while doing outdoor summer activities.

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Goostree Law Group

Goostree Law Group

 555 S. Randall Road, Suite 200
St. Charles, IL 60174

 630-584-4800

 400 S. County Farm Road, Suite 300
Wheaton, IL 60187

 630-407-1777

Our Illinois divorce attorneys represent clients in Kane County, DuPage County, Kendall County and DeKalb County, including Geneva, Batavia, St.Charles, Wayne, Wasco, Elburn, Virgil, Lily Lake, Aurora, North Aurora, Elgin, South Elgin, Bartlett, Crystal Lake, Gilberts, Millcreek, Maple Park, Kaneville, LaFox, Yorkville, Oswego, Plano, Sugar Grove, Big Rock, Bristol, Newark, DeKalb, Sycamore, Naperville, Wheaton, West Chicago, Winfield, Warrenville, Downers Grove, Lombard, Oak Brook, Streamwood, Hoffman Estates, Barrington, South Barrington, Lake Barrington, Schaumburg, Big Grove, Boulder Hill, Bristol, Joliet, Kendall, Lisbon, Minooka, Montgomery, Plainfield, Sandwich, Yorkville and many other cities.

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