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Divorcing Parents Disagree on Jurisdiction in International CaseDetermining which state’s court has jurisdiction in a divorce case is tricky when the spouses reside in separate states. State jurisdiction is particularly important when deciding the allocation of parental responsibilities because the parent living in that state has an advantage in receiving a majority share of parenting time. Courts use the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act to determine state jurisdiction, which favors the child’s home state. However, parents often debate which state is a child’s home.

Recent Case

The home state in a child custody case can also include states or provinces in other countries. In the case of In re Marriage of Milne, a divorcing father residing in Canada argued that Ontario should have jurisdiction in their case instead of Illinois. The spouses had met and married while living in Illinois. The husband adopted the wife’s child from a previous marriage, and the couple later had their own child. The family relocated to Canada in August 2015, after which:

Do Courts View Free-Range Parenting as Child Neglect?Parents commonly disagree on how much supervision and protection their children need. While many parents seek a balance between freedom and control, some parents skew heavily towards one side. Helicopter parents believe their constant involvement protects their children and guides them towards the right path. Free-range parents believe that giving their children independence teaches them self-sufficiency. Both parenting styles have some merit, but laws favor helicopter parenting over free-range parenting because allowing a child to roam freely can be viewed as neglect. A divorcing parent who believes in a free-range style may also be at a disadvantage when a court determines the allocation of parental responsibilities.

Definition of Neglect

Parents in a divorce may accuse each other of neglect as a reason why they should be the children’s primary parent. Illinois has a legal definition of child neglect that includes:

Planning a Family Summer Vacation After DivorceAfter the stress of completing your divorce, you deserve a summer vacation to help yourself relax and find some enjoyment. Just as importantly, your children need the positive experience of a summer trip as a consolation for the turmoil in their personal lives. However, it is different to plan a family vacation as a single parent after divorce. You must consider the rights of your co-parent and your own financial limitations when deciding on a trip.

Parenting Schedule

Before you plan a long vacation with your children, you should remember that the parenting schedule from your divorce dictates when your children must be with their other parent. The schedule may conflict with vacation plans because:

How Dads, Kids Can Cope with Father's Day ApartFather’s Day can have added significance for both a dad and his children after divorce. Fathers are more often the parent that receives less parenting time after the divorce. So, the holiday is a time dedicated to reaffirming the relationship between a divorced father and his children. Unfortunately, divorced fathers do not always see their children on Father’s Day:

  • The father may live far enough away that visits are difficult;
  • The schedules of either the father or the children may interfere with a visit; or
  • The father may have restricted access to the children as part of the parenting plan.

There are ways that fathers and their children can ease the emotional pain of not being together on Father’s Day. In some cases, the mother can help, as well:

  1. Choose a Makeup Date: There is no law saying that you can only celebrate Father’s Day on a specific day of the year. Fathers and their children can pick a date that works for them as their unofficial Father’s Day. They can have all of the same festivities that would be part of a normal Father’s Day celebration. The only difference between the new date and the official date is that the father and his children may need to plan more things on their own. They will not be able to rely on public events recognizing Father’s Day.
  2. Set Up a Video Call: Being able to talk to their dad can help children feel better about not actually being with him on Father’s Day. A video call using a service like Skype would be ideal so the dad and his kids can have a more personal interaction. There are even ways to play games or watch movies together using Skype so that the dad can have a fun experience with his children.
  3. Mom Helping Out: If the children are unable to see or talk to their dad, the mother may be left with depressed children on Father’s Day. A mother cannot replace what the father means to their children, but she can acknowledge that it is a special day for the children by planning a fun activity or treat for them. If her own father can join the fun, it could add significance for the children.

Paternal Relationship

Perfect Solutions Rarely Exist in Child Relocation DisputesThe decision of whether to allow one parent to relocate with his or her child is often difficult because there are valid arguments for both permitting and denying the petition. The petitioning parent may have an opportunity for a better quality of life, but the responding parent will also have a reduced relationship with his or her child. The decision comes down to whether the relocation will be better for the child. During a recent Illinois case, In re Marriage of Kavchak, a court approved a mother’s petition to relocate with her daughter to North Carolina, even though it would significantly limit the father’s ability to see the daughter.

Mother’s Argument

The mother is a physical therapist who has worked in higher education. Shortly before her divorce, she received an offer for a better-paying job at a university in North Carolina that would also pay for her study towards a doctorate. She accepted the job during the divorce and later filed a relocation petition to allow her daughter to move with her. Her reasons included:

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