January 29, 2009

DuPage and Kane County Virtual Visitation in Custody Cases

There are at least five (5) states that have passed legislation regarding virtual visitation, or internet visitation: Utah, Wisconsin, Texas, Missouri and Florida. Other states are sure to follow, and through my firm's nonprofit Fathers4Justice.net Illinois, I'm working to develop a legislative bill to propose making Virtual Visitation part of the IMDMA. Michael Gough, a pioneer virtual visitation technologist, has developed a program that we discussed in Chicago some years ago. See http://www.internetvisitation.org/

Internet visitation is being implemented, primarily for the purpose of allowing a parent more access to his or her child while the child is not in their care; it is not meant to replace one-on-one visitation. Think of it as a supplement to in person time with your child(ren).

Virtual visitation allows for the parent and child to communicate on a more regular basis, allowing for the parent and child to see and hear one another, which can be more effective than the standard telephone call. It seems that those adverse to virtual visitation are most concerned with parents using it as a means to replace typical in person visitation, which it is not meant to do.

Use the internet to keep in touch with your child on a daily basis can be extremely rewarding for both parent and child, whether they live a town away or across the country. Used properly, virtual/internet visitation could very well enhance the time you spend away from your child during and after a divorce.

January 28, 2009

DuPage and Kane County Co-Parenting

Co-Parenting defined:

Co-parenting enables children to reap the benefits of being raised by both parents in the event of a divorce. The archaic belief that primary custody should always be awarded to the mother is in most jurisdictions not followed. Today, it is widely acknowledged that many good fathers are just as qualified to raise children as good mothers. Therefore, to benefit the children and save the divorcing couple thousands of dollars in litigation fees, thoughtful divorce lawyers encourage their clients to settle custody issues by agreeing to joint legal and physical custody: co-parenting.

Frequently, co-parenting plans will divide the time children spend with each parent relatively equally, providing each parent an opportunity to raise their children and enjoy spending large amounts of time with them as they grow up.

In order for a co-parenting arrangement to work, certain factors must exist:

* Both parents must live close to each other, either in the same school district or close enough so that the children may be easily transported to school from either parent's house. This will also allow children to participate in extra-curricular activities and enjoy social time with their friends, regardless of which home they are staying in.

* Both parents must be able to agree on important parenting decisions concerning schooling, extra-curricular activities, religious training and upbringing, and medical care. Both parents must be willing to attend parent/teacher conferences, sporting events, and other school sponsored events. Parents must also be able to agree on disciplinary measures when necessary.

* Holidays and school vacation time will generally be shared, where appropriate, or alternated from year to year.

* Each parent must provide financial support proportional to his or her income. Since co-parenting arrangements generally provide each parent with relatively equal time with the children, time shouldn't be a major factor in allocating child support.

Ultimately, the people who benefit most from a co-parenting arrangement are your children. They will receive all of the emotional and intellectual support that each parent can provide, which can be a salvation for them in the midst of a traumatic divorce.

Content: Divorce Directory

January 24, 2009

The Law Offices of Michael F. Roe is pleased to provide the new logo for Michael Roe's association dedicated to advocating for a shared parenting statute in Illinois:

Psychologists familiar with child custody issues generally agree that children, and the parents, do much better long term after divorce when the parents and kids share a balanced parenting plan. This preference among clinicians assumes that both parents are fit and proper parents to have the joint and shared custody of the children.

Illinois is still a "winner-loser" state in child custody matters. Fathers, many times, lose out on a healthy parenting plan, post-divorce. Some of our neighboring states, Iowa for example, have embraced a statutory (legal) preference for shared parenting in divorce. Establishing shared parenting as a legal preference would go a long way, I believe, toward taking the competition and bitterness out of divorce cases with custody issues.