What Can You Do If Your Co-Parent Violates Your Parenting Plan?A parenting plan created during a divorce is more than a simple agreement between two parents. It is a legally binding document that outlines how parenting time with the children will be divided and who has the right to make decisions about the children. A parent who ignores the terms of the agreement is violating a contract and could be held legally responsible for their actions. How should you respond to a violation of your parenting plan? Should you immediately take your co-parent to court after they break your agreement? Filing a court order is usually not the first step you should take when dealing with a violation.

How Might Your Co-Parent Violate Your Plan?

The first thing that comes to mind with a parenting plan violation is not following your parenting schedule. Your co-parent may be late in dropping off the children or coming to pick them up, which throws off your schedule. However, they could also violate the agreement by making a decision without consulting you first or not following your agreed-upon rules for raising the children, as long as those rules are explicitly stated in the plan.

Communication First

You should give your co-parent a chance to explain themselves after the first time they break your parenting agreement. There may have been circumstances that were beyond their control or a misunderstanding about the parenting plan. After repeated violations, you need to have a serious conversation about your parenting arrangement. It could be that:

  • There has been a change of circumstances that prevents your co-parent from sticking to the plan
  • Your co-parent is being lackadaisical in following the plan
  • Your co-parent wants to change the plan but has not taken the proper step of requesting a modification
  • Your co-parent disagrees with you on what the plan allows

By talking to your co-parent, you may be able to work out the problem without needing to go to court.

Legal Enforcement

You may need to file a motion for contempt of your parenting plan if your co-parent refuses to obey it. You will prepare documentation of how your co-parent has violated the plan, such as a record of the times they were late in bringing the children for an exchange. Your co-parent will be summoned to appear in court, where they can explain their actions. The court will give an order on how to follow the parenting plan, which you both must obey.

Contact a Batavia, Illinois, Divorce Lawyer

Filing a complaint in court is usually the last resort during a disagreement over a parenting plan. Before taking that action, you should talk with a Kane County divorce attorney at Van Larson Law, P.C., about whether you can settle your differences outside of a court. To schedule a free consultation, call 630-879-9090.



Posted in Batavia Divorce Lawyer, Child Custody, Coparenting, Enforcing Agreements, Illinois divorce lawyer, Kane County family law attorney | Tagged , , , |

How to Use Social Media to Tell Others About Your DivorceOne of the many uncomfortable tasks that you have following your decision to divorce is when and how to tell others about it. You need to break the news personally to your children and close family members. Some friends may also deserve to hear the news directly from you. What about the other people you interact with on a regular basis? It could be emotionally tiresome to repeat your divorce conversation with all of your friends and other social acquaintances. Some couples will instead announce their divorce on social media. Before you decide whether a social media announcement would be right for you, you should consider the potential benefits and pitfalls.

Advantages of a Social Media Announcement

The most appealing part of announcing your divorce through social media is that it removes the pressure of having numerous in-person conversations about your divorce. Beyond that, a well-executed social media announcement can help you control your public message about your divorce:

  • You and your spouse should use the same announcement so that your message is consistent.
  • You can set the tone for the message, whether it is somber or more hopeful.
  • You can use filters to determine who is able to see your announcement.
  • You can set clear boundaries for talking about your divorce any further.

Setting the right tone in your announcement can be helpful if you are worried about how people will respond to it. Your friends should follow your lead if you express that you hold no resentment or want to focus more on your roles as parents.

How It Can Go Wrong

Social media is not the place to air your grievances against each other or share intimate details about your marriage and decision to divorce. A social media announcement may not work for you if you cannot compose a calm message or if you disagree with your spouse about what the announcement should say. Your announcement should also use an appropriate tone given the news you are delivering. Some couples will add humor to their announcement to try to break the tension, but some friends may not understand the humor or may not find anything funny about divorce.

Contact a Kane County Divorce Attorney

After announcing your divorce on social media, it is advisable to not discuss it any further on these platforms. Things that you say about your divorce in public can sometimes be used against you in your case or create tension during negotiations. A Batavia, Illinois, divorce lawyer at Van Larson Law, P.C., can help you focus on completing your divorce without the drama. Schedule a free consultation by calling 630-879-9090.



Posted in Batavia Divorce Lawyer, Divorce, Divorce Advice, Illinois divorce lawyer, Social Media | Tagged , , |

What to Do If You Cannot Afford to Pay Child SupportNot all cases of a parent failing to pay child support involve “deadbeat” parents who are trying to shirk their financial responsibility. Sometimes, a parent cannot afford the payments due to circumstances that are out of their control, such as:

  • Losing their job
  • Suffering an injury that prevents them from working
  • Being forced to make a major purchase or go into debt because of an emergency

If you find yourself unable to keep up with your child support payments, you need to present the problem in court and see if you can reduce your payments.

What Not to Do

You can be found in contempt of a court order if you do not pay child support, even if you cannot afford the payments. Do not assume that it is okay to miss a payment without saying anything to your co-parent. Regardless of your financial means, you are still knowingly violating your child support order. You should also avoid creating an informal agreement with your co-parent where you reduce your child support payments or defer payment. A family law court will not recognize changes to your child support payments that are made outside of the court-approved order. An informal agreement will likely not protect you if your co-parent files a complaint against you for not paying child support.

What to Do

If you cannot afford your current child support payments, the only solution is to request a modification of your child support order in court. Illinois allows you to modify your child support payments if:

  • You can prove a significant change in your financial circumstances; or
  • Three years have passed since the order was created or last modified.

Illinois calculates child support based on the parents’ combined incomes and the amount of money it believes is necessary to pay for child-related expenses. It will not reduce your child support obligation unless you can prove that your income has greatly decreased since you created the child support order or that you cannot realistically keep up with the payments. You need to present your income and expense records for the past several months as evidence of your claim.

Contact a Batavia, Illinois, Family Law Attorney

Your request to modify your child support order may go smoothly if your co-parent agrees to the modification. However, they are likely to contest any attempt to reduce your child support payments. You can prepare for filing your petition by working with a Kane County family law lawyer at Van Larson Law, P.C. To schedule a free consultation, call 630-879-9090.



Posted in Batavia Divorce Lawyer, Child support, Divorce, Family Law, Illinois divorce lawyer, Kane County family law attorney | Tagged , , |

Preserving Your Retirement Benefits During Your DivorceDivorce has a way of affecting every aspect of your life – including your retirement plans. Getting a divorce can deplete your retirement savings, disrupt your scheduled contributions, and throw off your planned retirement age. Those who are most affected are people going through a grey divorce, which is when people age 50 and older divorce after several years of marriage. A person in their 50s has less time to adjust their plans before they retire. No matter your age, divorce does not have to decimate your retirement plan if you are prepared during your negotiations:

  1. Prioritize Retirement Benefits: The value of your retirement account is marital property that you include in the division of assets. In order to keep valuable property, such as your marital home, you could agree to give up a portion of your retirement benefits or forgo your claim to your spouse’s benefits. Making this deal may be short-sighted because you are depleting your retirement plan and paying for maintenance and property taxes on the home. It may make more sense to downsize your home and preserve your retirement benefits.
  2. Review Your Budget: Your individual expenses can increase after divorce because you no longer have two incomes to pay for everything. Some divorcees are also responsible for child support or spousal maintenance payments. One option to free up more income for immediate expenses is to decrease your regular contributions to your retirement plan. You should take a close look at your budget to determine how much money you need – including for your retirement – and conduct your divorce negotiations with that target amount in mind.
  3. Claim Your Share: Some people have not put much effort into their own retirement plans because they intend to live off of their spouse’s retirement benefits. You are still entitled to a share of your spouse’s retirement after your divorce, especially if you were married for a long time. You can receive Social Security benefits valued at half of your spouse’s benefits, as long as the benefits you would receive on your own are less than that amount. You can file a qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) to receive a portion of your spouse’s retirement plan. Payment can be delayed until you have reached retirement age.

Contact a Kane County Divorce Lawyer

Your retirement benefits may be one of the most important properties that you decide on during your divorce. A Batavia, Illinois, divorce attorney at Van Larson Law, P.C., understands that it is vital to include your retirement plans as part of your divorce. Schedule a free consultation by calling 630-879-9090.



Posted in Batavia Divorce Lawyer, Divorce, Family Law, Financial Problems, Illinois divorce lawyer, Kane County family law attorney, Property Division | Tagged , , , , |

What Are the Limits of Recreational Marijuana in Illinois?After months of anticipation and preparation, recreational marijuana is now legal in Illinois. It is an exciting time for those who enjoy the use of cannabis, businesses that will profit from its sale, and residents whose previous marijuana possession convictions are being expunged. However, there are still limits to marijuana possession and use, just as with any controlled substance. Some marijuana laws are more restrictive than laws for alcohol and tobacco. If you are unaware of the rules for recreational marijuana, you may be at risk of facing drug-related criminal charges.


Firstly, you must be at least age 21 to possess marijuana in Illinois. There are also limits to the amount of cannabis you can possess:

  • 30 grams of cannabis flower
  • 5 grams of cannabis concentrate
  • 500 milligrams of THC in a cannabis-infused product

If you are a visitor to Illinois, those possession limits are cut in half. Possessing more than the legal limit is a criminal offense.

Growth and Sale

Licensed dispensaries are the only ones who are allowed to sell marijuana products. You also need a license to grow marijuana, whether it is as a business or a medical marijuana user. Recreational marijuana users are not allowed to grow their own plants.


Marijuana use is banned in public places, including parks and restaurants. The safest place to use it is in your home. If you are renting your home, your landlord is allowed to prohibit you from smoking marijuana in your home or from eating marijuana-infused products in public areas on the property. It is also illegal to use cannabis around someone you know is under 21.

Vehicle Possession

It is illegal to transport marijuana in an open container in your vehicle. The marijuana must be sealed in an odor-proof container and in a place that is not readily accessible to the driver.


It is illegal to drive under the influence of marijuana. The difference now is that a police officer must determine whether you are impaired by your marijuana use. Illinois has determined that the legal limit is 5 nanograms of THC per milliliter of your blood. However, there are doubts about whether THC levels show impairment because THC can remain in your bloodstream for weeks after marijuana use.

Interstate Travel

Keep in mind that recreational marijuana possession is still illegal on a federal level and in Illinois’ neighboring states. You could be charged for transporting marijuana across a state border or possessing it on federal property, including national parks.

Contact a Batavia, Illinois, Criminal Defense Lawyer

Illinois law enforcement and residents are in the midst of an adjustment period as they learn and get used to the new marijuana laws. A Kane County criminal defense attorney at Van Larson Law, P.C., can help you if you run afoul of the marijuana laws or if you are wrongly arrested by a police officer who is mistaken about the laws. To schedule a consultation, call 630-879-9090.



Posted in Batavia criminal defense lawyer, drug possession, Kane County criminal defense attorney, marijuana laws | Tagged , , |