While a divorce almost always causes at least some level of emotional and logistical challenges, when there are children involved, these challenges increase exponentially. While adults may have the tools to get through this tough period in their lives, a divorce can have a long-lasting impact on children, perhaps even affecting their own relationships once they become adults. Because of the potentially adverse effects of divorce on children, it is imperative that the parents do their very best to minimize the negative consequences.

This can mean keeping the issues that caused the divorce between the adults and not bad-mouthing the other parent no matter how angry or upset you are. When parents “behave” in front of the children, a divorce could actually improve the lives of the children. After all, when there is no longer a tense atmosphere at home, the parents may be happier, which, in turn, increases the happiness of the children. The children may be able to spend more quality time with both parents after the divorce; the parents can more equally divide the responsibilities of child-rearing, becoming more caring, more patient parents.

When you have a strong legal advocate in your corner—one who is fully committed to securing a fair divorce agreement and a fair child custody agreement—your life will contain much less anxiety, frustration, and stress. The Vaclavek Hartman Vaclavek attorneys treat you the way they would want to be treated, listening carefully to your wishes, and always implementing responsive communication techniques. At Vaclavek Hartman Vaclavek, we are fully committed to your future—”we will be by your side, every step of the way.” Because we also believe an informed client is better able to understand all aspects of their case, we also believe the informed client will make better, more confident decisions. The following FAQs can help you better understand the impact children may have on your Barrington divorce.

    1. How is Illinois allocation of parental time determined? The state of Illinois has joined other states in adopting the Uniform Child Custody Act, which is meant to minimize interstate child custody conflicts. The Illinois courts recognize allocation of parenting time, and decision making by parents. Decision making includes the right to make major life decisions for the child, including issues related to health, education, religion, and extracurricular activities. Parenting time will be allocated based on a number of issues, including practical issues, such as how close the parents live to one another, and where the child goes to school. When determining parenting time allocations, an Illinois court will determine what is in the best interests of the child. There are a number of factors the court will consider when determining custody, including:
      • What each parent wants;
      • What the child wants;
      • The current relationship between the child and each parent;
      • The relationship the child may have with extended family members or others who are close to the family;
      • The likelihood that each parent will work to foster and maintain a close relationship between the child and his or her other parent;
      • Whether the parents are likely to cooperate while raising the children;
      • Adjustments to the child’s home, community, and school;
      • The mental and physical health of each parent;
      • Whether the child would be in danger of abuse or physical harm if placed with one parent;
      • Whether either parent is a sex offender, and
      • Any other item the judge deems important to the child’s best interests.  

The judge in the case will take all factors into consideration, then will decide which parent will have the larger allocation of parental time, and whether one or both parents will make major decisions on the child’s behalf.  In the state of Illinois, children over the age of 14 have the right to choose which parent they want to live with, but the judge can overrule such a decision if he or she determines it is not in the best interests of the child.

  1. How is allocation of parenting time and decision making decided? Either the parents will agree that one parent will make the “big” decisions on behalf of the child, such as those regarding education, religion, and health, or the parents will share in those decisions. Parenting time will be allocated, often with the child spending more time with one parent, simply because it makes more sense from a logistical point of view. Both parents will have parenting time and parental responsibility. If the parents are unable to come to an agreement regarding parenting time and decision making, the judge will make those decisions for them.
  2. What is a parenting plan? If the parents are in agreement, they can put together a parenting plan, which the judge will then approve, or the judge will develop a parenting plan for the parents if they are unable to agree. The parenting plan assumes that the continuity of the parent-child relationship is in the best interests of the child, that children’s needs change and grow as they mature, that the parent with the larger allocation of parenting time will make daily decisions for the children, and that both parents will have access to the child’s official records—barring any unusual circumstances. Parenting plans identify how children will spend birthdays and holidays, transportation arrangements, pick up and drop off places, and when supervision is required.
  3. How much child support will I get or have to pay? The court will consider the incomes of both parents, as well as which parent has primary parental responsibility (the number of “overnights”) the child will spend with each parent. The gross income of each parent will include income from all sources, including court-ordered spousal support from a current or former spouse, regular jobs, second jobs, overtime pay, and holiday pay. Gross income does not include benefits received by the parent, such as TANF, SSI, or SNAP, or benefits received for other children in the household (child support for children from a prior relationship or foster care payments). The gross income of each parent is converted to net income using a standardized income conversion chart, then the two net incomes are added together to find the parents’ combined adjusted net income. See these Illinois infographics to get a good idea of how child support would be calculated when each parent has at least 146 overnights and how it would be calculated when one parent has less than 146 overnights. The basic support obligation is a term used to detail how much money parents normally spend on their children, taking into consideration the parents’ incomes. Additional expenses, such as childcare expenses, extracurricular activity, insurance premiums, and other school-related expenses added to basic support obligation, equals the total support obligation.
  4. Can I continue to get child support if my child is over the age of 18? Generally speaking, you cannot continue to receive child support if your child is over the age of 18. One of the exceptions to that rule is when the child is still in high school after the age of 18. In that case, child support will be paid until the child turns 19 or graduates from high school—whichever comes first. There may also be instances when a child has special needs and will require parental support for his or her entire life. In this case, both parents will be required to continue supporting the special needs adult child, and the parent paying child support may be required to continue paying child support as long as necessary. Depending on the specific situation, both parents may have an obligation to contribute to a college education for the child.
  5. Can I refuse parenting time if my spouse is behind on child support? Many parents are under the mistaken belief that parenting time and child support are linked. In fact, they are not, rather, they are two separate issues. If the paying parent does not pay his or her court-ordered child support, the other parent may not refuse to allow paying parent his or her regular allocation of parenting time. Conversely, if the parent who has primary parental responsibility refuses to allow the other parent his or her regular allocation of parenting time, that parent may not withhold child support in retaliation. If the other parent denies you your regular parenting time, you must continue to pay child support, and take the matter of parenting time to the court. The parent who does not receive a regular child support payment should continue to allow the child or children to spend agreed-upon times with the other parent, taking the issue of unpaid child support back to the courts.
  6. How do I ask for the amount of child support to be changed? There are certain instances in which a request for a child support modification could be warranted. If either parent has a significant change in circumstances, they may petition the court, asking for a change in child support. As an example, suppose the paying parent lost his or her job, through no fault of their own, therefore could not make regular child support payments. That parent might choose to return to court, asking for a temporary modification of child support. If the receiving parent lost a job, he or she could return to court, asking for an increase in child support. By the same token, if the paying parent was aware the parent with primary parental responsibility won ten million dollars through the lottery, and the paying parent was having difficulty keeping up with child support payments, a modification of child support might be warranted. The judge must be convinced that the modification is in the best interests of the child.
  7. Can allocation of parental time be modified? Illinois Allocations of parental time and responsibility can be modified or changed only in very specific cases. The goal of the Illinois courts is to ensure the life of the child or children is as stable as possible, therefore, there must be a very good case for changing these arrangements. Generally speaking, allocation of parental time may be changed when a parent is judged by the court to be unfit to raise the child or when changes in one or both parents’ lives warrant a modification to protect the child’s best interests. Under Illinois law, allocation of parental time and responsibility may not be modified until two years have passed since the first decision. There are only two exceptions to this law—if both parents agree to the change, or if there is a true emergency that requires a change.
  8. How long does an Illinois divorce take when there are children? Once venue has been established, the courts generally want to be done with the parental allocation time portion of a divorce in 18 months of less. Divorces do tend to take longer when children are involved, but the child portion is usually wrapped up relatively quickly. Since financials in a divorce can take longer than 18 months, a contested divorce with children can take from 18-30 months, depending on the issues involved.

How can an Illinois, divorce attorney help when children are involved?
While having an experienced Barrington, Illinois divorce attorney by your side is important in any divorce, when children are involved, it is even more important. You want to ensure the best interests of your child or children is the primary goal. Your top divorce lawyer in Barrington from Vaclavek Hartman Vaclavek, will listen to you carefully regarding what you want as far as parental responsibility and allocation of parenting time, then will work hard on your behalf toward those goals.

We truly value your input because we actually care about your life after the case is over. The Vaclavek Hartman Vaclavek attorneys want our clients to have peace of mind, knowing their attorneys care more about helping them through these challenging times than in treating them as nothing more than a number. We want to educate and empower our clients, then cater team solutions specifically for their situation. Contact Vaclavek Hartman Vaclavek today for advice from a top family lawyer in Barrington.

We are here for you with...


With round the clock access to our services, our clients are never in the dark


Once we take up a case, we follow it to the very end, giving our all to ensure a successful outcome


Our services go beyond the legal, with our members often offering sound emotional support and aiding them in their problems