Staying in Your Children’s Lives When they Do Not Live With You Full Time

Staying in Your Children's Lives When they Do Not Live With You Full Time

St. Charles Family Law Attorneys

Wheaton divorce attorney parenting planIllinois courts are required to make parenting plan determinations without regard to the parents' genders. The criteria they do use to create parenting plans include each parent's history of being involved with the children's day-to-day lives and their individual relationships with the children. Despite strides toward more equal parenting efforts between mothers and fathers in recent years, the reality for many Illinois families is that the children's mother often handles many of these aspects of childrearing, and that often means that it makes more sense for the children to spend the bulk of their time with their mother after their parents' divorce.

As a father, it can feel like you are being shut out of your children's lives. You might even feel like the court is biased against you because of your gender or that there is no reason to try to pursue an equal parenting plan, because courts favor mothers. This last point is based on a misconception, but this nonetheless drives many men to simply accept the parenting plans their spouses and the courts handling their cases put forth, rather than voicing their interests and fighting for more equal arrangements.

If your parenting plan has your children living primarily with your former spouse, you may be able to modify it to give you a more equal amount of time – but you must show that having more time with your children is in their best interests. Modifications to child custody may be made if there has been a significant change in the circumstances of one of the affected parties, such as adjustments to your schedule that will free up time when you will be available to care for your children. If you feel the court was biased against you because of your gender when it created your parenting plan, talk to your lawyer about your options for modifying the order. You should never accept discriminatory treatment from the court.

Make an Additional Effort to be Part of Your Kids' Day-to-Day Lives – Even in Ways You Were Not Involved Before

In many American families, the mother handles most or all of the day-to-day aspects of raising the child, such as communicating with the child's teachers, taking him or her to doctor appointments, managing extracurricular activities, and managing the child's social life. If you have never held this role before, now is the time to step up and become more involved in your child's daily life. You might have to rearrange your work schedule to accommodate your new role as a more engaged parent. That is the cost of being a day-to-day, primary caregiver.

Communicate With Your Children Frequently

Communication is at the core of any relationship. Talk with your children regularly to maintain your presence in their lives. There is no need to make your communication a formal event like a weekly phone call or daily check-in; instead, communicate with your children in ways that feel natural for you and for them, such as text messaging, via social media, or on gaming apps.

Create New Ways to Engage With Your Children During Your Parenting Time

Look at your life after divorce as the next chapter in your relationship with your children. Make the most of the time they spend in your home, which could mean creating new family traditions or starting a new hobby you can share with your children. Find ways to connect with them that make your time together special.

Do Not Be Afraid to Assert Your Legal Rights as a Father

Do not allow your former partner or anybody else try to diminish your role in your children's lives. Your parenting plan details your parenting responsibilities and the exact details of your parenting time schedule. If your former partner consistently undermines your parenting choices or disrespects the terms of your parenting schedule, note specific instances in which they have violated your court order and discuss them with your lawyer. If your former partner continually disregards your parenting plan, he or she can be held in contempt of court.

Work With an Experienced Wheaton Divorce Lawyer

Sometimes, taking a larger role in your child's life means having to assert your legal rights with the aid of an experienced Kane County family law attorney. Contact our team at Goostree Law Group today by calling 630-584-4800 to set up your free, initial legal consultation with us and learn more about your parental rights and how to assert them. Depending on the situation, we could potentially help you modify your parenting plan to give you more time with your child or more parental rights, or we can advise you on the best ways to assert existing parenting boundaries with your former spouse.

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