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Ways to Divide Parenting Time in Your DivorceDivorced parents share parenting time with each other in most cases because their children benefit from having a strong relationship with both parents after a divorce. For a court to give all of the parenting time to one parent, the other parent would have to be a danger to the children or show complete disinterest in seeing the children. There are many different ways that parents can divide parenting time – from one parent receiving a vast majority of the time to an even split of parenting time. Each division has its own implications for creating a parenting schedule and financial factors, such as child support and taxes.

80-20 and 70-30 Divisions

Illinois law presumes that children benefit the most when one parent has a majority of the parenting time because:

  • The children have a primary residence and neighborhood that they call home.
  • Frequent transportation between parents’ homes is more disruptive.

Giving one parent a majority of the parenting time may be sensible in your situation if one of you is more available to be with the children or more capable in a caretaking role. A 70-30 division of parenting time would work if you want to split your parenting schedule between weekdays and weekends. An 80-20 division would likely have the children spending every other weekend with their nonresidential parent, which may make sense if a parent has a busy work schedule or lives far enough away that seeing the children every week is impractical.

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Four Misconceptions About Divorce Parenting AgreementsEntering a divorce with misconceptions about how the allocation of parental responsibilities will be settled is doing a disservice to yourself. Some misconceptions are myths, while others are based on antiquated ideas about parenting after divorce. All of the misconceptions can potentially hurt you during your divorce negotiations because you have an assumption about how the parental responsibilities will be resolved that makes you resigned to defeat or recklessly overconfident. Here are four myths about parenting agreements during a divorce that are inaccurate:

  1. Mothers Are Assumed to Be the Primary Parent: This is probably the biggest parenting misconception in divorce. Mothers are more likely to receive a majority of parenting time but not because of their gender. The primary parent after divorce is the one who is most capable and willing to devote time to his or her parental responsibilities. Mothers traditionally but not exclusively fulfill this role in a marriage. A father who is the greater caregiver of the two parents may be better suited as the primary parent.
  2. A Working Parent Is Unlikely to Be a Primary Parent: When one parent stays at home instead of working, that parent normally takes on the primary parenting duties. After a divorce, the stay-at-home parent is often the most sensible choice as the primary parent. However, the stay-at-home parent will likely have to find his or her own job in order to fulfill child support obligations. The issue then becomes which parent is better capable of balancing his or her work and parental responsibilities.
  3. Teenagers Decide Which Parent They Live With: A court will consider a child’s preference for his or her living situation if the child is mature enough to give thoughtful reasons. However, child preference is one of a list of factors that courts use to determine which parent the children will primarily live with. A court will not adhere to a teenager’s choice if a majority of the evidence shows that it is not in his or her best interest.
  4. False Abuse Allegations Will Help Win Cases: Domestic violence charges and orders of protection will limit a parent’s contact with the children. If the parent is a danger to the children, he or she can be prevented from seeing the children or limited to supervised visits. However, a parent caught making false allegations will likely be the one who is punished. Besides the criminal consequences, the false accuser may lose parental responsibilities because he or she is considered untrustworthy.

Creating a Parenting Plan

The primary requirement for a parental agreement during divorce is that it serves the best interests of your children. A Barrington, Illinois, divorce attorney at Joseph M. Lucas & Associates, LLC, can help you make a parenting plan that works well for all parties. To schedule a consultation, call 847-381-8700.

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What Is Your Child's Best Interest During a DivorceParents going through a divorce will often hear the term “best interest of the child.” According to Illinois law, the allocation of parental responsibilities must protect the best interest of the child above all else. Responsible parents will agree on this point but may have different definitions of what their child’s best interest is. As a parent, you may argue that your child’s best interest is to spend as much time with you as possible. This may be presenting your own best interest as your child's best interest. Illinois divorce courts presume a child benefits the most when parents share responsibility. There is not a uniform parenting plan that is in the best interest of all children. Parents and divorce judges must consider each case on its individual merits.

Continued Relationships

Divorce and parenting researchers advocate for shared parental responsibilities because of the importance of children having a relationship with both parents. Following a divorce, children have lost the comfort of their familiar two-parent household. It is vital for their mental and emotional development to continue having two parents who love them and spend time with them.

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Changes in Child Support Calculations in Illinois, Divorce, Family Law Going through a divorce is a very personal and difficult process. It not only involves the law, but finances and family as well. One of the  most contentious issues when a couple is going through a divorce is child support. Who is going to pay what to help support the needs of any children involved in the divorce? Under the existing Illinois law, child support is calculated based on a certain minimum percentage of the non-residential parent’s net income, regardless of the income of the primary residential parent. The non-residential is the parent who does not have have the majority of decision-making responsibilities or parenting time with his or her child by order of the court. The calculations produced by the law for child support  did not match the needs of the children or reflect accurately the amount of assets the non-residential parent had available. 

What Has Changed?

The new law set to take effect in July 2017 changes the way that the court calculates the amount of money the non-residential party must pay in child support. The calculation is different in that the new law will use an income sharing model.  Potential variables that may be used under the new law include that the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services will develop specialized economic tables. These tables will calculate the amount of assets that will be used for child support based on cost of living and the number of children. This is different from the current law which tells courts to base the calculation on a non-residential parent’s net income. The new law tells the courts that the calculation will be based on each parent’s proportional responsibility to fund the child or children’s care relative to the income each parent has. 

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Parents usually set the tone for how the relationship between them and their child is handled after a divorce. When the parents decide that they are going to co-parent, the tone is usually a positive and upbeat one that can benefit the child. If you and your child's other parent are considering a co-parenting arrangement after your divorce, you should know some basic points.

How does co-parenting benefit the child?

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