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Posted on in Mediation

b2ap3_thumbnail_custody3_640.jpgAny good parent wants as much time with their children as is possible to obtain. Sometimes, however, a parent will question the wisdom of letting the other parent see the children at all, or may try to place restrictions on visitation. In these types of situations, one remedy can be to go to court, but in recent years, it has become more common to utilize mediation to address custody and parenting concerns.

The Role of Your Attorney

There are some misunderstandings about the role of an attorney in a non-courtroom proceeding, but in truth, the attorney’s role is very similar to their role in a standard divorce. An experienced legal professional can always provide advice and guidance, regardless of who the trier of fact may be. Most people at least consult attorneys before beginning mediation, primarily to ensure that their goals are attainable and realistic within the confines of the law. However, it is the mediator, not the attorney or attorneys, who is tasked with facilitating an agreement between you and the other parent.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Prenuptial-Agreement2_640.jpgA significant number of couples in this day and age execute premarital agreements—also called prenuptial agreements—to help settle any potentially thorny issues before their marriage. However, not every premarital agreement can be implemented as written. Some provisions are contrary to existing laws, and some are contrary to what is referred to as public policy. It can be more difficult to establish that something is against public policy, but it can be done, and if an agreement is found to violate public policy, it may be declared void.

Defining Public Policy

Public policy is defined as the principle or legal tenet that detracting from the “public good” is an event to be avoided. In other words, if an action shocks the conscience or the sensibilities of the general public, it is generally to be avoided because the public should be protected from injury if possible. This commonly comes up in issues of divorce and child custody, though public policy questions may appear in many different legal arenas. In Illinois, the Uniform Premarital Agreement Act governs such issues in regard to prenuptial contracts.

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Posted on in Child Custody

b2ap3_thumbnail_Parent-Holds-The-Hand-Of-Child_640.jpgIn the past, if a couple with children split up, the children almost always stayed with their mother. Fathers seldom saw their children and were often not very active or involved. Today, families exist in countless different arrangements and forms. Children splitting their time between two houses is now a new norm. How can a parent who shares their child with an ex make the most of the time he or she has? There is no magic way to be the perfect part-time parent but there are some things you can do to help you be the best mom or dad possible.

Think Quality Over Quantity

Many couples stay in an unhappy marriage because they are concerned about their children. It is extremely difficult for mothers and fathers who have been in their children’s’ lives since the beginning to imagine going a weekend without them. Some parents worry that their child will become distant or feel unloved. Co-parenting does not have to be a negative situation for anyone. One step you can take is to change your thinking. While it is true that you will see your child for a lesser amount of time, this does not mean your relationship with him or her needs to suffer. Use the time you have with your child to do something special and meaningful. Take this one-on-one time with your child to get to know them better. You may find that having less time with your child makes it easier to prioritize what really matters.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_prenuptial-agreement4_640.jpgWith many Americans waiting longer than ever before to get married for the first time and the rise in the rate of second and third marriages, prenuptial agreements have become increasingly common across the country. You may be wondering what age and remarriage have to do with prenuptial agreements, and the answer is relatively simple. Those who get married at a later age—those getting married for the second or third time are older than they were when they first got married—tend to bring more with them into their new marriage. “More” refers to not only property and debts but also to children, previous spousal maintenance obligations, and other concerns.

With all of the potential considerations, it makes sense that individuals considering marriage would look to protect themselves by drafting a prenuptial agreement. If it is not executed properly, however, your prenuptial agreement may not stand up to challenges in court, making it essentially unenforceable and leaving you possibly unprotected.

The most common reasons that a divorce court court set aside a prenuptial agreement include:

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b2ap3_thumbnail_child-custody1_640.jpgEvery year, approximately 1.5 million children are forced to endure the divorce of their parents. As difficult as the new reality can be for children, it can be just as stressful—if not more so—for the adults, with each parent struggling to find ways to remain an active part of their child’s life. When a parent approaches the process of divorce, he or she may wonder what his or her rights are regarding parenting time with his or her children.

Visitation Is Now Parenting Time

For many years, a non-custodial parent could expect reasonable rights to visitation with his or her child, presuming that the parent was not found to present a danger to the child. Beginning this year, new legislation in Illinois overhauled the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act and its provisions regarding child custody and visitation. Child custody has been renamed the allocation of parental responsibilities and parental visitation is now known as parenting time. The intent of the updates was to make such proceedings less confrontational and more cooperative, keeping the focus on the child best interests of the child as much as possible.

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