233 W. Wilson Street, Batavia, IL, 60510

Alternatives to Traditional Parenting Time ArrangementsIllinois replaced the term “child custody” with “allocation of parental responsibilities” because parenting after a divorce involves more than who has custody of the children. Each parent has a role in raising and making decisions for their children. Parents must form a parenting plan that defines their individual responsibilities to their children. The parenting schedule is only one part of the plan, but it is probably the most important part. Nothing replaces the value of time spent with a child. Most parents use a traditional schedule that splits parenting time between weekdays and weekends. This is often the most practical and least disruptive schedule for both parents and children. With the more flexible definition of the allocation of parental responsibilities, some parents have created alternative schedules that work best for them. While these alternatives may not be your best options, it is worth knowing that these options exist.

Alternatives to Weekends

Weekends are usually the best time to exchange children because it is when children and parents are most likely to have free time. If parents do not live near each other, weekends may be the only practical time. However, weekday or evening visits may work if:

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Budgeting Changes After Your DivorcePersonal finances after divorce can be a difficult adjustment, especially if you are unfamiliar with handling your own finances. You are individually responsible for budgeting your finances and planning for the future. Making financial decisions as an individual requires different considerations than when you are married. Your divorce settlement can set you up for financial stability after divorce, but you will also need to make several adjustments that reflect your individual status.

Budgeting

Your living expenses will change after your divorce because your individual income must pay for costs that you once shared with your spouse. You may also have new expenses, such as if you are responsible for paying spousal maintenance. Even if you receive monthly maintenance payments, your budget will likely be tighter than when you were married. You may need to reconsider how you budget your expenses, such as whether you:

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A Father's Role After DivorceBetween the two parents, a father is generally in greater danger of seeing his relationship with his children diminish after a divorce. Mothers more often receive a majority of the parenting time during the allocation of parental responsibilities. Because mothers are more likely to be the caretakers during the marriage, courts often choose the mother as the primary parent. However, children’s relationships with their fathers are also important in their happiness and development. Fathers who see their children less often after a divorce must work to remain an active part of their lives:

  1. Advocating for Parenting Time: A father has an equal right to be the primary parent of his children after a divorce if he can prove that living with him is in their best interest. If a court grants the mother primary responsibility over the children, the father can still fight for a greater share of parenting time. A 60-40 division of parenting time would give him an additional day each week with his children as opposed to a 70-30 division.
  2. Taking on New Roles: The father no longer has the mother to rely on when he has his time alone with the children. He is both parents in one and has parental duties that he may be unfamiliar with performing, such as being a caretaker, nurturer, disciplinarian or playmate.
  3. Being a Father Figure: A father can teach his children lessons that the mother cannot. Most importantly, a father defines what a grown man is to his children. Sons learn what kind of man they should be when they grow up. Daughters learn what qualities they should look for in the men they allow into their lives as adults.
  4. Being Present and Available: Fathers should treat their time with their children as more than an obligation to look after them. They should find ways to interact with their children, such as planning fun activities. Fathers can extend their roles when they are not with their children by encouraging electronic communication.
  5. Staying Positive: A father’s time with his children should not involve complaining about the mother or trying to pump the child for information about the mother. The father should instead focus on his relationship with his children and only talk about their mother in as far as how it relates to what is happening in their lives.

Protecting Fatherhood

No one can replicate a biological father’s importance in his children’s lives. A Kane County divorce attorney at Van Larson Law, P.C., can protect your rights as a father during your divorce. Schedule a consultation by calling 630-879-9090.

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Seeking a Mental Evaluation of Your SpouseQuestioning the mental health of your spouse is a serious accusation to make during your divorce. Mental fitness can help determine the allocation of parental responsibilities because a person with a mental illness may be erratic, irresponsible or abusive. Your spouse is certain to react negatively to a claim that he or she is not fit to care for your children. However, you need to pursue the issue if you believe your spouse’s mental state is a danger to your children. Illinois law gives the court discretion over whether a party in a divorce needs to receive a mental health evaluation.

Requesting an Evaluation

A court may on its own order your spouse to undergo a psychological evaluation, but it is more likely that you will need to request it. Illinois Supreme Court Rule 215 explains the process, which includes:

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Proving Your Former Spouse Has Violated Your Divorce OrderA well-crafted divorce settlement gets its teeth from your ability to enforce it. Even after all the hours of negotiation, your former spouse may decide he or she no longer agrees with the terms of the settlement. Instead of just asking you to renegotiate, he or she may refuse to complying with the agreed-upon divorce terms, such as:

A divorce agreement is a court order, and violating it may result in civil and criminal penalties. If your former spouse refuses to obey your divorce order, you can take him or her to court by filing a Petition for Rule to Show Cause. However, you must show that your spouse is willfully in contempt of the order. You can help your case by preparing supporting evidence for both your petition and your hearing.

Documentation

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