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Family Law and Kids – Parenting Time and Allocation of Parenting Responsibilities

As of January 1, 2016, Illinois’ custody laws have changed. The words “custody” and “visitation” have been removed from the statute, and are now obsolete. They have been replaced with less adversarial terminology, such as “parental decision making” and “parenting time”.

In an effort to foster co-parenting, the legislature apparently felt it wise to remove the competitive terms of “custody” and “visitation”, which imply that one parent is somehow superior or better-suited than the other.

Under the new law, one parent is with the children except when the other parent is. The parents set forth in writing their respective parenting time and parental responsibilities. If they cannot agree to these items, they will be sent to court-ordered mediation to resolve their differences. If that doesn’t work, and depending upon the county, psychological experts will evaluate the situation, and the Court will ultimately determine each party’s parenting time allotment and parental responsibilities.

Simply put, what it all boils down to is that little has changed except for the terminology, which will hopefully create a less antagonistic culture when it comes to parenting and parental designations.

The words “Child” and “Fight” should never be used in the same sentence.

The parents should be together when they tell the children about the divorce. The coming-together of parents in a pulling-apart situation gives a sense of security in an otherwise insecure situation. Otherwise, the children should be out of earshot of their parents’ conversations.

Children are by nature resilient, but they need support and active, uninterrupted parenting skills. You have to take great care to let your kids know the parenthood part of the relationship will continue as usual, and that they are loved equally by both parents. Keep the children away from your daily tussles, and show them good role modeling for being responsible adults.


Our approach to divorce is child-centered.

Take care to assure the children that they did not cause the breakup of the marriage. This takes the pressure off them immediately. The kids have to understand they are completely innocent when it comes to the marital difficulties.

A very important step to consider is to get the children into counseling. You or your spouse cannot possibly have all the answers or a dispassionate view of handling the split-up in the manner that a third-party professional can provide. You don’t want to assume your children are handling a life-altering event like a divorce, and then find out years or decades later that a tremendous hurt has been inflicted.

If new living arrangements are pending, take the children to the next apartment or house to get their input. This is a major concern of children and they have a right to be involved. Make sure you handle their school situation by discussing the divorce with teachers and other school officials.

Co-Parenting: Why It Is Important

Dupage Divorce Attorneys Kulerski and Cornelison realize that parenting can be challenging for all parents, but it can be especially difficult for divorced parents. You may have a lot of negative feelings about your ex (or soon to be ex), and you may not want to have them in your life. However, your job as a parent is more important than your personal feelings. You need to do what is best for your child. That means forming a co-parenting relationship with your ex.

When you create this co-parenting relationship, your children will see that …

35 Terrific Parenting Tips

Health Care professionals tell us there are certain, positive steps that parents can take to minimize the effects of divorce or separation upon their children. First, it is important to realize that society, in general, does not provide any training on how to be an ex-spouse. The good common sense that you have used in raising your children up to this point may not be enough at the time of, and during, … [Read more…]

13 Remarkable Thoughts for Helping Your Kids during the Divorce

It is simply not enough to love your children and want to minimize the effects of the divorce upon them. Parenting during divorce is a heroic task. It requires doing certain things that most people do not want to do. Heroes force themselves to overcome this resistance. They help their children despite their personal discomfort or likes and dislikes. While this website contains many sound (and often, little … [Read more…]

9 Additional Measures for Protecting your Kids

Parents can lessen the negative effects of their divorce upon the children by: Treating each opportunity to be with their children as a rare chance to make things better for them. Remembering that the parental duty they owe their children far outweighs the worst problem the other parent can cause them. Recognizing that the children perceive aggression between their parents as aggression toward them … [Read more…]

How to Explain the Divorce to Your Children

Children of divorcing parents want and need to know the reasons behind the divorce. When they begin to understand why, most kids will become more accepting of the drastic changes happening in their lives. In most families, however, the children are given little information about the divorce. Parents often assume that their child knows the “whys” as well as they do themselves. After all, parents assume, each … [Read more…]

Who Gets Custody?

Answer: Children are not spoils of war. In 1986, Mr. Kulerski was appointed by the Bar Relations Subcommittee of the Domestic Relations Advisory Committee of the Domestic Relations Division of the Circuit Court of Cook County to serve as an Attorney for the Child and as a Guardian ad Litem. Subsequently, he was appointed by the Court to represent the children in more than forty different, … [Read more…]

Is There a Difference between Shared Custody and Split Custody?

Answer: Shared custody is where each parent is with the children about one-half of the time. The non-resident party generally has the right to take the all the kids during his or her parenting time. The children reside with one parent, and spend half of the time with the other parent. Split custody is different. It is where each parent is awarded residential parenting time with one or more of the … [Read more…]

What is Illinois’ Standard Parenting Time For The Non-Residential Parent?

Answer: In Illinois, the “Standard Visitation” is: 1.Alternate weekends from 5-7 p.m. on Friday to 5-7 p.m. on Sunday; 2. Alternating holidays; 3. One or two evenings per week for dinner; 4. Father always gets the child on father’s birthday and Father’s Day; 5. Mother always gets the child on Mother’s Day and mother’s birthday; 6. 2-4 weeks during summer vacation. Parents are not required to accept the … [Read more…]

Introducing the New Partner to the Children

Divorcing spouses who are emotionally far along in the separation process often have “significant others”. The way in which the children are introduced to the new partner is important to the children’s well-being and to the future well-being of the relationship between the new partner and the children. This type of introduction typically requires the passage of time and a great deal of patience if it is to be … [Read more…]

Do Grandparents Have Visitation Rights?

Answer: On April 18, 2002, the Illinois Supreme Court ruled that the Illinois Grandparent Visitation Statue was unconstitutional on its face because is allowed state to override the parents’ due process rights to decide who their children could visit or not visit. Since then the legislators have enacted some measures that do allow some grandparent visitation under certain limited circumstances.

What is Parental Alienation Syndrome (PAS)?

Answer: It is a disorder that is typically inflicted upon children of divorce. It is the result of one parent falsely programming or brainwashing the children to believe that the other parent is their enemy.

Parentage / Paternity Cases

What is Paternity? “Paternity” in its essence is the state of being a father. “Paternity establishment” is the legal process of adjudicating who is the father of a child and creating the existence of a father/child relationship. Once Paternity is established the court can order child support, visitation and custody. Why establish Paternity? If a child is born to an unmarried couple, there is no presumption … [Read more…]

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Richard and Kari are staunch advocates of the non-court approach to divorce, and are also active and seasoned litigators with over 60 years of combined trial experience in the Illinois divorce courts of Cook, DuPage, and Will counties.


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