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Posted on in Child Custody

Four Advantages to Being a Single ParentPeople often think of being a single parent as a hardship that both parent and child must overcome. To be sure, it is optimal for children to grow up in a two-parent household. Being a single parent after divorce means no more sharing parental tasks when the children are with you. You have complete responsibility for the children during your parenting time. You will likely have a tighter budget because you are primarily relying on your own income. Your children may have a difficult time adjusting to living in a different home with each parent. You can help yourself through single parenthood by understanding that there are still some advantages:

  1. Your Home Can Be Less Hostile: A bad marriage puts stress on yourself and your children because there is frequent tension that prevents people from relaxing. Simple tasks can become daunting because they start an argument between you and your spouse. You and your co-parent will each be happier apart, which will create a healthier home for you and your children.
  2. Your Children Receive Your Full Attention: When in a bad marriage, your relationship with your spouse distracts you from your children and takes energy away from your parenting. Though you have more work as a single parent, you can focus more of your attention on your children when they are with you. This may eventually make parenting feel easier for you, and your children will definitely benefit from it.
  3. You Have More Control Over Your Parenting: You and your former spouse may have argued about how to raise your children. While it is important to maintain consistent parenting after divorce, you have more control over the specific rules and expectations in your household. You can choose how strict you are with your children’s bedtime, how often you will go out for meals, and what shows are appropriate for them to watch. Your co-parent is not there to undermine your rules.
  4. Your Children Become More Resilient: One of the keys to being a single parent is sharing some responsibility with your children. They can help you with certain household chores, such as washing dishes or taking out the trash. If you cannot afford to give them the same allowance, they may learn to save the money they receive or earn more money by helping neighbors. It is healthy to take on responsibility as a child, as long as it does not interfere with their education or ability to have a happy childhood.

Contact a St. Charles Divorce Attorney

Being a successful single parent requires more planning and attention than when you were married. A Kane County divorce attorney at Goostree Law Group can help you create a parenting plan that makes your job more manageable. To schedule a free consultation, call 630-584-4800.

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Can You Force Your Co-Parent to Take Parenting Time?Disputes over parenting time after a divorce or separation usually involve parents fighting to spend more time with their children or claiming that the other parent is withholding the children. You can ask a court to enforce your parenting schedule if you cannot resolve the issue between each other. What if you have the opposite problem? What if your co-parent will not take the children during his or her scheduled parenting time? Can you force your co-parent to take the children? In this situation, you may need to resolve the issue yourself because you are unlikely to legally compel your co-parent to use his or her parenting time.

Potential Problems

Both parents are required to financially support their children after a divorce, but parenting time is not guaranteed to both parties if it would be against the best interests of the children. You may feel happy to receive more parenting time with your children if your co-parent refuses it. However, the situation is still problematic:

  • You may rely on your co-parent having the children at certain times in order to accommodate your work or personal schedule;
  • Your children may be disappointed that they are not seeing their other parent as expected; and
  • Your co-parent may become unpredictable about when he or she wants to have the children.

Taking on more parenting time may require you to adjust or reduce your work hours, which can affect your income. Just as importantly, your children need regular contact with your co-parent to have a stable and healthy relationship with him or her.

Posted on in Child Custody

Work Travel Can Interfere with Parenting TimeA parent’s work commitments can be an important factor when determining the allocation of parental responsibilities. To have a majority of the parenting time, you must show that you are consistently available to care for your children as a single parent. Work travel can affect your availability if it consistently requires you to be out of town. A parent with a heavy travel schedule may have difficulty receiving the share of parental responsibilities that he or she wants during a divorce.

Children’s Best Interest

Before arguing for a majority of the parental responsibilities, you should honestly assess whether you can fulfill that responsibility with your work travel requirements. The primary parent after a divorce is typically the one who is most available to care for the children. It may be necessary for your co-parent to have a majority of the parenting time if your work requires you to frequently stay overnight in another city. Parental responsibilities also include making decisions about how you care for your children. Ideally, your co-parent will consult you on major decisions regarding your children’s health and education. However, a court may give greater decision-making power to the parent who is more often with the children and able to act on those decisions.

Protecting Your Parental Rights

Traveling for work does not need to greatly diminish your parental responsibilities. Your travel schedule may include:

Posted on in Child Custody

Making Long-Distance Parenting WorkIn the years following a divorce, opportunities come up that may require two parents to live in different parts of the country. You can contest your co-parent’s decision to relocate with your children, but the court may decide that the move is in their best interest. You may also find a career opportunity in another city that is too lucrative to pass up. Long-distance parenting is a difficult adjustment for you and your children and will never feel like an ideal situation. There are ways you can maintain a healthy relationship with your children.

  1. Regular Communication: It may be impractical to see your children in person frequently, but you should have a weekly schedule of when you will talk to them. Your children should be able to rely on you calling them at the same times each week and feel like you will respond to them if they need to contact you. Video calls can give your conversations more intimacy than voice calls.
  2. Regular Visits: Though less frequent that your calls, your in-person visits with them should also follow a regular pattern. Most of the time, you will need to travel to them for your visits. You can ask a court to consider your travel expenses when calculating your child support payments.
  3. Longer Visits: Your children can also travel to visit you, but it will be better for them to have a few long visits each year than several short visits. This lessens the stress of them traveling and gives you more uninterrupted time with them. Summer vacation is usually the best time for them to visit you because they can stay for several weeks.
  4. Normal Interaction: Long-distance parents may try to make up for not seeing their children more often by giving them gifts or planning fun outings during each visit. This gives them an unhealthy expectation that your relationship is based on you spoiling them. Being with them and doing normal activities should be enough. Save the gifts for special occasions.
  5. Cooperation: Long-distance parenting works best when your co-parent accommodates your efforts to contact and visit your children. As the full-time parent, he or she has even greater responsibility for your children than before. Your co-parent can make your parenting easier by preparing your children for your visits.

Contact a St. Charles Divorce Attorney

You need to modify your parenting agreement when you and your children no longer live near each other. A Kane County family law attorney at Goostree Law Group can help you create a new parenting schedule that allows you to see your children. To schedule a free consultation, call 630-584-4800.

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Posted on in Child Custody

The Best Divorce Parenting Plan for InfantsNo age is too young for your divorce to emotionally affect your child. Infants do not understand divorce as a concept, but they notice changes in their routines and their parents’ emotions. Unlike older children, they cannot express how they feel in words, leaving them only their behavior. It is common for young children of divorce to become irritable, clingy, depressed, or anxious. Your parenting time is vital towards your young child’s development because he or she needs regular contact with both parents to develop bonds of support and trust.

Consistent Routines

Children form their attachments with their parents during infancy, and missing that stage of bonding can affect a child-parent relationship for the rest of their lives. A parenting schedule usually gives the children extended visits with each parent, but the frequency of bonding time is more important with infants that duration. Two hours every day or every other day may be sufficient bonding time for the non-primary parent. When creating a parenting plan for your infant, remember that:

  • Your child needs your undivided attention and care during your parenting time;
  • Your scheduled visits should be consistent and include familiar routines;
  • Long visits are more appropriate when you see your child frequently; and
  • An infant will become distressed if away from his or her primary caregiver for an extended period.

Breastfeeding

There is no law dictating whether a mother or father should be the primary parent of a child, but the mother receives a majority of the parenting time with an infant in most cases. A mother can use breastfeeding as one of the reasons that an infant should primarily live with her and that the father should not have long or overnight visits with the child. Breastfeeding is important for infants because it can:

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