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Barrington divorce lawyersDuring the divorce process, spouses will need to address and resolve a wide variety of legal issues. If a couple has children together, the matter of child custody will be one of their primary concerns, and they will need to create a parenting plan that will define their rights and obligations toward their children while detailing how they will share custody. As parents work to reach agreements about how these matters will be handled, they can ensure that their parenting plan includes all of the necessary information that will allow them to meet their obligations and provide for their children’s needs after their divorce has been finalized.

Parenting Plans, Parenting Time, and Parental Responsibilities

A parenting plan, which may also be known as a parenting agreement, is a legal document that is part of a couple’s divorce decree or judgment. This agreement will fully define both parents’ rights and responsibilities, while also serving as a set of rules that the parents will be required to follow going forward. A parenting plan will address:

  • Allocation of parental responsibilities - Parents may divide or share decision-making authority over different areas of their children’s lives. There are four areas of responsibility that may be addressed: education, medical care, religion, and extracurricular activities. Parents may share some or all of these responsibilities equally, or one parent may be solely or primarily responsible for making decisions in one or more of these different areas.
  • Parenting time - A schedule will be created that will detail when children will spend time in the care of each parent on regular weekdays and weekends, including the days and times that children will be picked up or dropped off by a parent. Other special days should also be addressed, including major holidays; vacations from school during the spring, summer, and winter; and birthdays of children, parents, or other family members. The parenting plan should also detail the priority that will be followed when there are conflicts involving holidays or other special days.
  • Transportation and exchange of children - Clear rules should be provided regarding which parent will provide transportation between parents’ homes and the procedures that will be followed when picking up or dropping off children.
  • Right of first refusal - Parents may choose to include terms stating that if one parent will be unavailable to take care of the children when they are scheduled to have parenting time, they will contact the other parent and offer them the opportunity to care for children before making other child care arrangements.
  • Other rules - A parenting plan can address any other relevant issues, such as what types of discipline are and are not allowed or when children will communicate with one parent during the other parent’s parenting time. Parents may also specify how future conflicts or requests to modify the parenting plan will be handled, such as by stating that they will use mediation to resolve disputes.

Contact Our Barrington Parenting Plan Lawyers

As you work to resolve issues related to your children during your divorce, you will want to have an experienced lawyer on your side who can protect your rights and advocate for your children’s best interests. At Joseph M. Lucas & Associates, LLC, we will make sure you understand the best ways to address these concerns, and we will provide you with dedicated legal representation both inside and outside the courtroom. Contact our Barrington, IL child custody attorneys at 847-381-8700 to arrange a consultation.

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Illinois drunk driver liability attorneyOn January 1, 2020, the use of marijuana became legal in Illinois, and adults who live in the state are now allowed to possess and use this drug for both medical and recreational purposes. For many people in the state, the legalization of marijuana has raised concerns about whether more people will be driving while under the influence of this drug. Just as drunk driving can greatly increase the risk of being involved in a car accident, the use of marijuana can affect a person’s ability to drive safely. Those who have been involved in a collision with a driver who had been using marijuana will want to work with a personal injury attorney to determine their options for receiving financial compensation for their injuries.

The Dangers of Driving While High on Marijuana

Marijuana can have similar effects as alcohol for drivers. The “high” produced by THC, the psychoactive chemical in marijuana, can cause impairments to a person’s coordination, and it will also lead to reduced reaction times. This will make it more difficult for a driver to respond to the movements of other vehicles, and it will also increase the likelihood that they will lose control of their vehicle. Marijuana use also affects a person’s judgment, making it more likely that they will engage in risky behavior that could endanger others.

In Illinois, a person may face charges of driving under the influence if a chemical test shows that they had at least five nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood or 10 nanograms per milliliter of another bodily substance, such as saliva or urine. If a driver who was involved in a car accident is tested and found to be over the legal limit for THC, they may be liable for injuries suffered by others who were involved in the collision.

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Barrington child support lawyersThe COVID-19 pandemic has affected us all in a variety of ways, but for many people and families, the most significant impact has been the loss of employment or income. If you are a parent who pays child support, and you have been laid off, had your hours cut back, or have otherwise experienced a reduction in the income you earn, you may find yourself unable to meet your court-ordered obligations. To avoid legal consequences while ensuring that you will be able to provide for your children and meet your own needs, you will want to be sure to understand how to proceed in these types of cases.

Modification of Child Support

It is important to understand that once a child support order has been issued by the court, you will be required to follow its terms. If you miss any child support payments, you will be required to pay the amount owed, and interest may apply to past-due payments. When you are already struggling financially, this can create a huge financial burden, leading to ongoing difficulties even after you regain your financial footing. 

When child support is owed, the court may take a number of actions to recover this amount, including garnishing your future wages or unemployment benefits, intercepting tax refunds or COVID-19 economic stimulus payments, or placing a lien on your property. You can also face other consequences, such as the suspension of your driver’s license or the reporting of non-payment to credit bureaus, which can affect your credit score. Depending on the amount owed, you could even be held in contempt of court, which could lead to additional fines or time in prison.

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Barrington personal injury lawyersDespite the first COVID-19 vaccines being distributed this week, in all likelihood many people are still going to stay at home for safety during the majority of the wintertime. However, as the economy continues to recover from all the stay-at-home orders and closing businesses, many more people have entered the gig economy as delivery drivers for all sorts of companies. While postal workers and delivery drivers for mainstays like the USPS, UPS, and FedEx have been delivering for years and have plenty of safety guidelines and insurance policies in place to handle slippery sidewalks and walkways, gig workers are much newer to the threat of slips and falls on the job while delivering goods. Here is some “need-to-know” information for these gig workers about premises liability in Illinois and the possibility of receiving personal injury compensation for slip-and-fall accidents this winter while on the job. 

Why Is Premises Liability So Significant Now?

The gig economy is real, and it is growing, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of the delivery drivers or “gig workers” contracted to deliver goods independently through third-party or less traditional companies are new on the job due to the recession. These workers include:

  • Amazon Prime delivery drivers
  • Grocery delivery drivers (Instacart, Shipt, etc.) 
  • Restaurant delivery drivers (GrubHub, Uber Eats, DoorDash, etc.) 
  • Private business delivery drivers (Consider deliveries being made by employees or owners of businesses who never had to deliver their products or foods in the past. They have far less experience with this sort of process and need to be made particularly aware of the winter rules of premises liability.)

How Does Illinois Law Define Premises Liability?

If you are delivering something to a house where the snow/slush is not shoveled or the ice is not melted and this has caused you to suffer an injury, you might be able to claim personal injury compensation. This is in addition to any workers’ compensation you might automatically receive as an injured employee. (Keep in mind, though, many “gig economy” jobs hire their workers as contractors who do not have the same benefits and rights as employees, so you might not receive much assistance from your employers, if any, which is all the more reason to pursue your own personal injury case).  

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Barrington family law attorneyAs what seems like a third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic sweeps the nation, resulting in record-breaking infections, hospitalizations, and deaths since the beginning of this crisis, it appears no particular city or state in this country is immune to the ravages of this devastating disease. Chicago and Illinois in general are no exceptions. As such, Mayor Lori Lightfoot of Chicago and Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker both announced recently that new restrictions on public interaction are necessary, including more stay-at-home orders for all nonessential services and workers. If you are a co-parent with a parenting agreement that entitles you or the other parent to child visitation or parenting time rights, you might be concerned about breaking these orders to maintain your time with your children or the possibility of infecting your children in order to continue with visitation. You should not worry too much about this aspect of the orders, though, and here is why. 

Child Visitation Is Considered Essential in Illinois

Similar to last time this happened, court-ordered parenting time with your children is considered essential. This means just as you are permitted under these orders to visit the doctor, the pharmacy, or the grocery store, you can also visit your children if required by the courts, provided you take the proper precautions (social distancing, mask wearing, etc.) 

4 Ideas for Maintaining Your Visitation Routine During Stay-at-Home Orders

It can be difficult to stay safe with the pandemic raging now, worse than it has ever been, and even more so when you are trying to maintain a healthy relationship with your children after a divorce. Soon, we might all need to hunker down in Illinois again and stay inside for a while longer until a vaccine for COVID-19 is developed. This might make child visitation less likely and even less safe. In order to stay compliant with court-ordered parenting time rights and keep the co-parents’ relationships with their children positive, consider these activities:

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