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Illinois family law attorney, child custody and visitationOn January 1, 2016, significant changes will go into effect in Illinois under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA). Specifically, changes will be made to child custody and visitation. Therefore, it is important to be aware of these changes as 2016 begins.

Allocation of Parental Responsibility

Beginning January 1, 2016, the entire section on custody will be named the Allocation of Parental Responsibility—the terms “custody” and “visitation” will no longer be used in Illinois. Moreover, custody orders, visitation agreements, and parenting agreements will be removed from the chapter and will be replaced with allocation judgments, parenting time, and parenting plans. An allocation judgment is a judgment that allocates or directs parental responsibilities.

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Illinois family law attorney, modifying child custodyFor numerous reasons, a parent may wish modify a child custody determination. While under most circumstances a modification of a child custody judgment is difficult to obtain, it is possible. Understanding the process of modifying a child custody judgment is important for parents who believe their child would benefit under a different custody plan.

Demonstrating Modification is Necessary

The court retains continuing jurisdiction to modify a child custody judgment. However, under most circumstances, modification of a child custody judgment will not be considered until after two years have passed since an original custody judgment is entered—it is believed that giving children the greatest amount of stability after a decision has been made is most beneficial for them. Under Illinois law, the only way a child custody judgment may be modified earlier than two years is if a court permits it on the basis of affidavits that there is reason to believe the child's present environment may endanger seriously his or her physical, mental, moral or emotional health.

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remarriage, visitation after remarrying, Illinois family law attorneyIf you are getting married, a great deal of change will occur in your life. A majority of this change will likely be beneficial for you and your new spouse. However, if you had children in a previous marriage before getting divorced, your new marriage may impact child support and visitation.

Child Support

Historically, remarrying did not impact child support as courts did not examine the amount of a new spouse's earnings. This changed slightly when, in an Illinois Appellate Court decision, it was held that the “trial court may equitably consider the income of a parent's current spouse in determining an appropriate award of support.” As a result, courts are not prohibited from considering a new spouses income when addressing certain modifications of child support.

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child custody, domestic violence, Illinois divorce attorneysEnding a marriage through divorce is a difficult process, and is filled with many mixed emotions. The process is made more complicated when children are involved, particularly when one parent has been accused or previously convicted of domestic violence. The existence of domestic violence raises several issues that the court may have to address.

What is Domestic Violence?

Under the Illinois Domestic Violence Act (IDVA), domestic violence is defined as physical abuse, harassment, forcing a dependent to witness physical abuse of another person, interference with personal liberty, or willfully depriving a person of necessary items, such as medication, medical care, shelter, or food. Physical abuse includes sexual abuse as well as any of the following:

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dos and don'ts of child custody, Illinois family law attorneysThe process of divorce is emotionally taxing and complex. The process is even more challenging when there is an issue of child custody. There are, however, several tips which may make the process easier to overcome if followed diligently.

Be kind to your child: While this may seem obvious, it is important to keep in mind. Resist the temptation to take out your frustrations on your child. Additionally, when you are with your child, aim to be neutral or positive about his or her other parent. This will help to ensure that your child is not negatively impacted by your actions. On the other hand, if you know or suspect that the other party is attempting to negatively impact your child's feelings about you or your family, it is important that you speak with your attorney to minimize any negative influence on your child's emotional state.

Control your emotions and your actions: During a custody battle it is important to be under control every step of the way—from the initial filing to the final judgment. To be safe, assume that every word you utter, and every step you take, is being recorded as evidence to be used against you in your case. This is especially true when it comes to things you post on the Internet and social media.

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In honor of the passing of our founder, Joseph F. Mirabella, Jr., our offices are closed Friday, January 31, 2020.I Agree