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Bloomington, IL Divorce & Family Law Blog by Stange Law Firm, PC

Can your ex just 'take the kids' away from you?

One of the most devastating and gut-wrenching threats one parent can hurl at another is the statement, "I'll take the kids, and you'll never see them!" If your spouse has just threatened you with these words or anything similar, take a deep breath and a big step back.

Your spouse doesn't have all of the control in this situation. The courts are primarily concerned with doing whatever is best for the children in this situation -- which usually means having both parents around. Your spouse would have to mount a pretty convincing argument that you're somehow unsafe for the kids to be around in order to get sole custody and keep you from visitation.

The possible benefits of divorce mediation

66974822_s.jpgGetting divorced can be emotionally painful regardless of how long individuals have thought about pursuing them. However, Illinois residents and others might be able to make the process of ending their marriages easier by working with mediators. One advantage of working with a mediator is that couples can decide for themselves when and where they want to meet. They may also be able to decide how long each mediation session should last.

Meetings are controlled events that are designed to help everyone remain calm and objective. The mediator is trained to help individuals avoid saying or doing anything that could be construed as confrontational. By avoiding conflict, individuals can avoid some of the stress and anxiety that might come with ending a relationship. It is especially important for those with children to remain as calm as possible during the divorce process.

What to know about supervised visitation

142244192_s.jpgIllinois parents who have gotten divorced may be restricted to having supervised visitation with their children. This generally occurs if there is reason to believe that the child could be in danger if left alone with a mother or father. Typically, visitation takes place in a public facility or at a parent's home under the watchful eye of a social worker or other designated party. The goal is to ensure that a parent and child can maintain their relationship while a court's concerns are being addressed.

A supervised visitation order can remain in effect for as long as necessary to ensure the safety of the child. In some cases, the order will remain in effect permanently or until a parent takes steps to establish his or her fitness to raise a son or daughter. Generally, a mother or father is required to ask a court to modify an order after it has been put into place.

Tips for parents who have joint custody

113804278_s.jpgIt isn't uncommon for parents in Illinois and throughout the country to share physical custody of their children after a divorce. However, it can be challenging to create an arrangement that works for both the parents and the children. Ideally, the parents will realize that they are responsible for doing what is best for their children regardless of how they feel about each other. It is also important to understand that a child's needs will vary based on their age and other factors.

These other factors could include a parent's work schedule, the distance between the parents themselves and the academic needs of the children. Infants typically need to spend more time with a primary caregiver while younger children may be better off transitioning between each parent as often as possible. It is important to point out that a person can be both a bad spouse and a great parent.

How to successfully raise children after a divorce

40313794_s.jpgGoing through a divorce in Illinois can cause pain for each ex-spouse and can leave children feeling insecure. Thankfully, there are a few strategies that co-parents can use to cope with this pain and help their children feel safe as they grow up.

Since a parent will likely spend less time with their children after a divorce, this means that they will miss out on some big moments in the children's lives. One way that co-parents can help each other cope with this is to take pictures of these moments and share them.

The benefits of acknowledging paternity

103091802_s.jpgUnmarried fathers in Illinois and throughout the country may be able to gain rights to a child by acknowledging their paternity. Doing so may make it possible to avoid going to court to establish it. However, if the mother doesn't agree that an individual is a child's father, a court appearance may be inevitable to resolve the matter. An acknowledgement of paternity (AOP) document must be signed by both parents, and it may also need to be witnessed.

By signing the document, a man will have the right to be consulted in the event that the child is put up for adoption. However, he does not automatically obtain custody or visitation rights simply by filling out the AOP document. A judge will need to determine if providing a father with visitation or custody rights is in the best interest of the child.

First month of the year consistently means more splits

111160111_s.jpgIf the holiday season meant some soul searching and the decision to end the marriage for some couples in Illinois, they are not alone. January, known as 'divorce month", has consistently meant a rise in divorce filings for a few years.

While the decision to file for divorce is not made overnight, the beginning of the new year, particularly the first half of the first month, has become a period where there is a visible rise in divorce. This might be due to people wanting to start over in the new year, getting out of a situation that just wasn't working for them. It might also be a result of spending the holiday with extended family, while knowing that the marriage was falling apart, followed by a desire to never repeat that experience again.

Reasons to consider mediation over litigation in a divorce case

20516952_s.jpgIndividuals in Illinois who are going through a divorce may want to consider mediation instead of litigation. One benefit to choosing mediation over litigation is that it is a collaborative process as opposed to an adversarial process. This means that both parties in the divorce work together to craft a settlement that is in everyone's best interest. As the focus is on getting a deal done in a timely manner, mediation may be less expensive than going to court.

Individuals tend to have more control over the divorce process when working with a mediator. This is because a mediator is focused on ensuring that everyone has ample time to talk and to express their feelings. During a trial, an attorney may play a significant role in shaping the narrative presented to a judge or jury. As an individual exerts greater control during the mediation process, it can be a less stressful way to settle a divorce.

Parents can't always refuse visitation rights

12621752_s.jpgAs long as it reasonable to do so, both parents are allowed to maintain a relationship with their children after a divorce. This is generally true even if the parents don't like each other or don't like the fact that they have to share a son or daughter with another person. Custodial parents generally cannot interfere with a visitation schedule because they don't approve of a noncustodial parent's lifestyle.

For example, the fact that he or she is seeing another person doesn't mean that a visitation order can be violated. Visitation orders may also remain in effect even if a parent isn't paying child support. It is worth noting that parents must pay child support even if they don't have access to their children. Ideally, a child will have his or her own bedroom at each parent's home or apartment. However, the lack of a bedroom is not a good enough reason to refuse visitation.

Managing a difficult child custody situation

43276324_s.jpgDivorcing parents in Illinois often find it difficult to adjust to a co-parenting relationship. This is true in the most amicable of cases, but it poses a particular problem in high-conflict situations. The disputes may spill over into the child custody situation, leading to parents bad-mouthing each other to the children or undermining the custody agreement or visitation schedule. While co-parenting with a toxic former partner adds additional strain and stress, there are ways to defuse difficult situations and put the children's best interests first.

Of course, former partners may know how to push each other's emotional buttons. It can be easy for a quick comment or message to lead to a serious argument, sometimes in front of the children. It's important for parents to recognize that their former partner is still the same person, but they no longer have to interact the way they did as a couple. Those unhealthy patterns led to the divorce in the first place, after all. Parents can turn to a therapist or friend for support in dealing with a difficult ex. However, they should avoid confiding in their children. This puts the kids in the middle of the conflict and makes them choose sides between their parents.

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