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McHenry County family law attorneyAs children develop, they tend to learn the basics of life, such as walking and talking, from their parents. They also rely on parents to teach them skills that will allow them to become self-sufficient. However, parents can also have a negative impact on their children. In a home where domestic violence has occurred, even young children can sense the problems, and witnessing violence can have lasting effects on children of all ages.

What Is Considered Domestic Violence?

“Domestic violence” is a term that describes a variety of behaviors used by a person to maintain power over a family member or member of the same household. Most commonly, domestic violence occurs between former and current romantic partners, and it may include threats, physical abuse, sexual abuse, intimidation, isolation, or emotional manipulation. Domestic violence is seen in all social, economic, and racial groups, and it can affect partnerships ranging from casual relationships to married couples. Whether intentional or not, the abuser uses their power to keep the victim in an unhealthy relationship.

The Effects of Witnessing Domestic Violence

Millions of children witness abuse at home every year. A child deserves a healthy and safe home environment, but in cases involving domestic violence, home may be the last place he or she would want to be. Living with domestic abuse may mean witnessing physical violence, hearing fights, and seeing the aftermath, such as bruises or property damage. When they live in a home where violence is occurring, children may experience a variety of negative effects, including:

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McHenry County family law attorney parenting time

Unlike divorcing couples with children, parents who were never married do not automatically receive rights to parenting time. Instead, they must pursue it. Further, an order requiring the payment of child support does not guarantee parenting time to the paying parent. With this in mind, it is important to understand how you can get time with your child if you were never married.

Why Pursue Parenting Time?

Fathers who are not married to the mother of their child often wonder if it is worth pursuing parenting time with their child. They may be concerned about cost, or they may fear their rights will not be acknowledged by the courts. Rest assured that as long as you are not considered to be a risk to the child’s safety or emotional well-being, it is likely that your presence may be considered a positive influence on the life of your child. Further, studies have shown that children often fare better when they have two loving and connected parents. Since you may be required to financially contribute to the rearing of your child, regardless of whether you pursue parenting time or not, why not consider making an emotional contribution as well?

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McHenry County child support lawyerThe divorce process can be emotionally and financially draining. When you and your ex cared for your children together under one roof, it may have been easier to work together to take care of your family’s financial needs. However, things change significantly after divorce, and both parents may struggle to make ends meet.

If your ex has not been paying child support, this can cause a great deal of difficulty for you. It may be hard to understand why your ex would be avoiding payments, but here are some common reasons that may explain why the funds your child needs are not coming your way:

Changes in Finances

Your ex might not be paying child support because they do not have the money to give. The amount of child support payments specified in a divorce judgment is based on both parents’ finances at the time of the divorce. Issues such as a job loss or large medical expenses can affect how much your ex is able to pay. If you think this may be the reason why you are not receiving child support, you may wish to talk to your ex or even request a modification so that they can at least pay what they are able to. Setting a payment that your ex can afford is better for everyone than not receiving any payments at all.

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McHenry County grandparents rights attorneyWhether you are a divorced parent with questions about your parents or in-laws and their involvement with your child, or you are a grandparent looking to ensure that your grandchildren are raised in the best possible environment, concerns about grandparent rights are understandable. Family changes often affect more than just the immediate family, and it is important for everyone to understand their rights and how they can support the children’s best interests.

What Rights am I Entitled to as a Grandparent?

Nearly 8 million children live with their grandparents throughout the United States, including more than 2.6 million children living in homes where the grandparents are the primary heads of household. Grandparents who serve as primary caregivers often have certain rights regarding the children, as well as options for financial assistance. Even if you are not the primary caregiver, you have the option to pursue certain rights as a grandparent in the wake of a divorce or separation in your family. Here are some important things to be aware of as grandparents:

1. Custody and Guardianship

There are multiple Illinois statutes that give grandparents options for custody and guardianship of their grandchildren. For example, the Illinois Probate Act gives you the option to seek guardianship, rather than custody, of your grandchild. The child’s parents must voluntarily allow this, and they remain financially responsible for the child, so you may receive child support in this case. You also have the option to request custody and authority for most decision making for the child under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, provided that the parents consent. Adoption, through which a grandparent acquires full parental rights, is an option when the parents are no longer living, or when there is cause for the termination of parental rights due to neglect, abuse, or other serious complications. 

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Crystal Lake parenting plan attorneyA divorce will certainly shake up your home life, but this does not necessarily mean that it will continue to do so over time. With this in mind, it is important to create an agreement that is long-lasting, rather than temporary, especially in situations where children are involved. Everyone needs some sense of stability and routine in their day-to-day lives, even those who thrive under spontaneity, and psychologists believe having a stable routine offers many benefits for children. Parents should do everything possible to offer their children a stable environment when creating a parenting arrangement after their marriage ends.

Steady Routines Promote Future Success

Routine is not just about going to bed at the same time every day or eating dinner together as a family every night. The most important thing you can do for your child is to provide as much stability as possible throughout the day. Psychologists suggest that when a schedule is predictable, children can relax and trust in their environment. Even in a situation where a child visits two homes regularly, the daily routine should not change significantly. The details may be different in each parent’s home, but the routine should remain consistent in each environment. Such routines also include knowing which days and holidays a child may expect to see each parent.

How to Create a Parenting Plan That Works

One of the most important things to remember is that children need significant time with both of their parents to create a bond. Studies show that children who have equal or close to equal amounts of time with each parent go on to have more stability in their lives as adults. Therefore, it is usually in your children’s best interests to make a co-parenting arrangement that prioritizes time with both parents, and maintain it by not skipping visits or shorting the other parent of their allotted parenting time.

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