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Wheaton family law attorney

According to a study conducted by the Pew Research Center, there has been an increase in unmarried but cohabiting parents over the last two decades. Since 1997, the number of cohabiting parents has risen to 35 percent. The practice of cohabitation prior to, or rather than, marriage has become a practice popular with the millennial generation. The reasons for the rise are primarily economic, plus the desire to avoid the constraints of a legally binding marriage. The practice of cohabitation has some similarity to the old tradition of common law marriage. This was the practice of two individuals cohabiting together and, in some cases, enjoying the rights and benefits of marriage, but without official recognition from the state.

Does a common law marriage, or a cohabiting couple, get the same rights as a legal marriage, and what rights does a cohabiting parent have if a separation occurs?

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Naperville Divorce Lawyer

Divorce is generally more complicated if a couple has children together. A divorce agreement must determine parental custody, visitation, child support, and other matters. Children sometimes have a hard time accepting divorce and all the changes happening in their lives. Acceptance can be even more difficult when one parent relocates after a divorce

Relocation brings its own unique set of challenges. Moving far away after divorce should only be considered if it is absolutely necessary and due consideration has been given to the way it will affect the children and their relationship with both parents. 

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How an Equal Parenting Time Law Could Change Divorce Cases in Illinois

Wheaton divorce attorney equal parenting timeDuring divorce, many of the most contentious disputes between spouses involve decisions made about their children, including how they will share parenting time and parental responsibility. For many years, it was presumed that living primarily with one parent was in children’s best interests. However, a number of recent studies have found that it is beneficial for both parents to be closely involved in their children’s lives. With that in mind, many states, including Illinois, have passed or are considering legislation that would presume that children should spend equal amounts of parenting time with each parent following divorce.

Illinois’ Possible Equal Parenting Law

The Illinois House of Representatives is currently considering a bill which would affect the decisions made about parental responsibility and parenting time in divorce cases. HB 4113 would make the following changes to Illinois’ divorce laws: 

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DuPage County divorce attorneys, shared parenting, contentious divorce, parental responsibility, parenting timeThe end of a long-term relationship is difficult for everyone involved, but children of divorcing parents are often hit the hardest as they experience major changes to their lives and routines. A contentious divorce can have especially negative effects on children, including long-term health problems and psychological issues. However, even if parents are unable to agree on many of the various issues that must be settled during their divorce, they should consider their children’s best interests when making decisions about the allocation of parental responsibility and parenting time.

Research Shows the Benefits of Shared Parenting

Throughout the 20th century, many experts believed that children of divorced parents needed the stability of living in a single home rather than dividing time between parents. Divorce decrees typically reflected this, with one parent (usually the mother) being granted sole custody of children, and the other parent receiving limited visitation time. However, these types of arrangements no longer reflect the reality of modern parenting, in which both mothers and fathers are often highly involved in their children’s lives.

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