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St. Charles IL family law attorneyDivorce is hard, no matter what the circumstances are or how “friendly” the divorce may be. Not only is it the end of a marriage, but the finality often hits home over and over again as discussions and negotiations take place regarding a couple’s assets and debts. Who gets the living room set? Who gets the good china? However, the hardest part about divorce typically involves the couple’s children and how parental responsibilities and parenting time are going to be divided.

When You and the Other Parent Cannot Agree

In the best cases, parents are able to come to an agreement and work out a parenting plan that will serve the best interests of their child while respecting each parent’s rights. In such cases, the court will generally approve the plan presented by the parents. Sometimes, however, the parents cannot agree, and litigation becomes necessary. Unfortunately, litigation has a tendency to turn bitter and contentious, which can be extremely difficult for children to deal with.

No matter what the situation may be, you can help protect your children when you are facing a parenting-related dispute by doing a few key things, including:

Posted on in Adoption

Malaysian Airlines, children, child custody, orphan, adoption, Kane County family lawThe recent disappearance of the Malaysian Airlines flight traveling from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing will have a number of repercussions. Air Safety standards will be adjusted, and search protocol will be reviewed and improved. There will be additional fallout as well, focused in the area of family law.

Of the 239 people on board Flight MH370, most, if not all, had families. Currently, news outlets are saying that the plane crashed and no one survived. Likely, children were orphaned by this tragedy, and they will need to be adopted by another caretaker. If couples were traveling together, or if a single parent was on board, then the children of these deceased may need to have someone appointed by the court to represent their interests during any subsequent legal action. In the United States this representative is called a Guardian Ad Litem. Adoption If the parent of a minor child – a child under 18 years of age – dies without a will, then usually another family member or close friend will take over care of the orphaned child. To ensure the new caretaker has the legal authority to make important decisions on behalf of the child, that person may need to go through the legal adoption process. If a parent dies and does have a will in place, then they may have, in that document, already appointed a testamentary guardian who will be legally responsible for the child. This guardian will have the right to make medical and legal decisions on the child’s behalf. The legal terms describing this responsibility are ones you may have heard before – the Power of Health Care and the Power of Attorney. The testamentary guardian does not necessarily have to have the right however, or the desire to be the daily caretaker of the child. For example, if a divorced mom appoints her own mother, the child’s grandmother, as a guardian in her will, a family court could still enter an order granting the child’s father physical custody. In many cases this may be best for the child, but if not, then the grandmother may want to legally adopt her grandchild. Guardian Ad Litem As it often seems in a child custody dispute, the fight over the child is between only two parties, when really, the child should have a voice in the matter. This is where a guardian ad litem comes in. A Guardian Ad Litem, or GAL, is a court-appointed attorney representing the legal interests of parties who cannot represent themselves – usually children or incapacitated adults. In some states the Guardian Ad Litem is called a Court Appointed Special Advocate, or CASA, but their responsibilities are the same. A Guardian Ad Litem is useful in many scenarios, and not only where a child is orphaned in a tragedy, or in the case of an absent parent. GALs are most often appointed in cases of abuse or unfit parents, but even where a custody battle has become particularly contentious, a GAL may be assigned to become the eyes and ears of the court and to help determine the best outcome for the child.

 Understandably, working through these issues may be extremely difficult for everyone involved. Professional advice from an experienced family law attorney can make matters much more manageable. Contact the experts at Goostree Law Group, today to get some answers and assistance with your case.

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