Caretaking Functions Define Parental Responsibility in IllinoisSince 2016, Illinois has used the term “allocation of parental responsibilities” instead of “child custody.” The name reflects that parenting after a divorce or separation is a shared responsibility, not just a determination of who gets to keep the kids. Each parent must fulfill his or her assigned responsibilities when the children are with him or her. If one parent is incapable or unwilling to assume those responsibilities, then a court may give sole responsibility to the other parent.

Caretaking Functions

Illinois’ Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act has a list of parental responsibilities, which it calls “caretaking functions.” There are eight functions that parents are expected to provide for their children during their parenting time:

  1. Attending to a child’s nutrition, health, safety, and hygiene;
  2. Guiding a child through his or her maturation, such as developing motor and language skills;
  3. Teaching proper behavior and providing discipline;
  4. Ensuring that a child receives an education;
  5. Helping a child develop interpersonal skills;
  6. Taking a child to medical appointments;
  7. Instilling a sense of morality in the child; and
  8. Arranging for others to take care of the child when the parent is not available.

The caretaking functions do not include “significant decisions” related to the children’s education, health, religious beliefs, or extracurricular activities. Parents can make routine decisions when they have the children but must discuss major decisions with their co-parent unless it is an emergency situation.

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Surviving Divorce as a TeacherTeachers have a lower divorce rate as compared to other professions, but those who do get divorced face unique challenges. As a teacher, your primary concern is usually for your students. Your caregiving nature likely extends to your home life, as a spouse and parent. During your divorce, you may be focusing on your own needs more than you are accustomed to doing. It is important to take care of yourself during your divorce and plan how you will balance your teaching career with your personal needs.

Taking Time Off

Most divorcees use occasional personal days in order to attend meetings or court hearings. Teachers must also be aware of their emotional state and how it may affect their students:

  • You must be able to make it through the school day without emotionally breaking down in front of your students; and
  • Being distracted by your divorce may make you less attentive as a teacher.

Now is the time to use your sick and personal days if you have accumulated them over several years. If you do not have many days available, ask your human resource department about your options if you need additional time off. Your students need a teacher who is able to be fully engaged in their education.

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Law Prohibits Electronic Eavesdropping on SpouseIt should be obvious that you are not allowed to break into your spouse’s locked filing cabinet in order to obtain his or her personal documents during your divorce. The same concept applies to digital information. You are not allowed to snoop through your spouse's computer or other electronic devices to find private communications and documents. The evidence you find would be inadmissible in your divorce case, and you could face criminal charges for violating eavesdropping laws. However, you can use digital information that your spouse makes available to the public.

Electronic Eavesdropping

Eavesdropping is the act of obtaining information that a person can reasonably expect to remain private. There are several methods someone could use to eavesdrop on his or her spouse’s electronic communications or access digital documents:

  1. Unauthorized Log-In: Many computers and email accounts require a user name and password in order to access them. You may know or be able to guess your spouse’s log-in information, but you are not allowed to log in to his or her private accounts without permission.
  2. Hacking: Someone with technical savvy may be able to remotely access a person’s private digital information. Hackers can breach digital security by exploiting system weaknesses or sending an email with malicious software. Hacking into your spouse’s digital devices is a major violation of his or her privacy.
  3. Monitoring: One goal of gaining access to someone’s digital device is to install software that can track and record private conversations. If someone’s spouse was previously allowed to use a device, he or she could have installed spyware. Monitoring your spouse’s emails, texts, phone calls, and video chats is a definite violation of the eavesdropping law.

Public Information

Social media has become the big exception to the eavesdropping laws that restrict access to personal information. Your spouse cannot expect information to remain private if he or she posted it publicly on Facebook or another platform. It is legal for you to watch your spouse’s public social media activity to see if he or she says anything that may be relevant to your divorce.

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Rebuilding Your Self-Confidence During DivorceGetting a divorce can ultimately lead to a more fulfilling life, but the immediate effect can be a blow to your self-confidence. It is common to feel like you failed in your marriage and question whether you can create other meaningful relationships. While you may struggle to move beyond this self-doubt, there are ways that you can boost your confidence during and after your divorce:

  1. Remember Your Strengths: You are dwelling on the failures in your life, ignoring the many successes you have had, both professional and personal. Try writing out a list of your accomplishments to remind yourself that you are a strong and capable person. Successes could be getting a college degree, starting a job, or raising your children. Even the fact that you were married was an accomplishment because your positive qualities were enough for someone to want to marry you.
  2. Talk to Your Support System: Your depression during your divorce can skew your memories of your past accomplishments and your sense of self-worth. A family member or close friend can tell you about the things they love about you. A divorce coach or therapist can help you look at your life more objectively and realize that you are being too hard on yourself.
  3. Forgiving Yourself: You want to be able to blame someone for your divorce in order to understand why it happened. Though you may be angry at your spouse, you likely blame yourself for not being able to save your marriage. Part of you may also feel guilty because you believe you quit your marriage. Divorce is a common practice and does not make you a failure. You may have made mistakes, but you understand them and can avoid repeating them in future relationships.
  4. Planning Ahead: If you are not satisfied with your life, then your divorce is your chance to change it. Set career goals and figure out how you will reach them. Commit yourself to a healthier lifestyle with more exercise and a better diet. Become the best parent that you can at a time when your children need your support. There is life after your divorce, and you can plan for how you will be successful.

Contact a St. Charles Divorce Attorney

The process of rebuilding your confidence starts during your divorce. Working with a Kane County divorce attorney and divorce coach at Goostree Law Group will help you feel confident and have a clear understanding of what you need from your divorce. To schedule a free consultation, call 630-584-4800.

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What Happens to Child Support After Remarriage?Getting remarried is an exciting event because it signifies a resolution to your divorce in many ways. You have proven that you can find a new relationship. If you were receiving spousal maintenance, you can break that financial tie to your former spouse. However, your obligation to provide child support will remain, regardless of whether either of you gets remarried. There are limited circumstances in which the child support payments can be modified after one parent gets remarried.

Principles of Child Support

Divorced parents pay child support because they share a financial obligation to care for their children. That obligation will always remain with the two legal parents of the children and not with any new spouses. Your new spouse cannot become the legal parent of your children unless your co-parent relinquishes his or her parental rights and your new spouse adopts your children. Thus, courts have traditionally not considered the income of a new spouse when determining child support payments. However, an Illinois court ruling in 2014 broke with that tradition when it found that:

  • A parent’s financial resources can help determine his or her appropriate child support obligation; and
  • The income of the mother’s new husband counted as an increase in her financial resources.

Courts will not directly include your new spouse’s income when calculating your child support obligation. Instead, it will reasonably consider whether your current share of child support is fair if your new spouse’s income decreases the percentage of your income that you use for other expenses.

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Goostree Law Group

Goostree Law Group

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

 630-584-4800

 1770 Park Street, Suite 205
Naperville IL 60563

 630-364-4046

 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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