Like many people in Chicagoland, the people of Buffalo Grove are proud of their heritage. The town grew extremely rapidly in the 1960s and 1970s, but growth has leveled off since then, giving Buffalo Grove a real hometown feel. The town stresses things that are important to families, like music, art, and fun.
At the Andrea Heckman Law, we have a number of core values as well. These principles have served us well in the past, and we believe they will continue to do so. We always put our clients first. As our relationship advances, we look for every opportunity to promote your interests. We also believe in hard work. Our simple commitment to you is our best effort every day we come to work. Finally, we believe in communication, because we see our relationship as a partnership.
Initial Parenting Time Determinations in Buffalo Grove
Some aspects of a family law case are fairly objective. Child support amount is a good example. Typically, the judge considers the income of both parents, the number of children, and a few other factors, and then divides the obligation proportionally between the parents.
But parenting time determinations are a bit different. In this area, Cook County judges may apply a number of different factors to determine the children’s best interests. Some prominent factors include:
- Agreements Between the Parties: These agreements are much more common than some people believe. There are many parents who are perfectly happy with non-residential status. They enjoy being part-time parents and they excel in that role. Other parents make these agreements to avoid putting their children in the middle of a custody dispute. In many situations, that is the right decision.
- Child’s Wishes: Under Illinois law, Cook County judges may interview any child of any age. But, they need not give child preferences added weight. To assist in this process, many judges appoint guardian ad litems. These lawyers represent the children in parenting time disputes.
- Ability to Co-Parent: The legislature added this factor in the 2016 amendments to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage statute. This law states, among other things, that most children benefit from consistent and meaningful contact with both parents. So, the residential custodian must also be a visitation facilitator.
Other new 2016 factors include the child’s needs, each parent’s past involvement with the children, and the distance between the parents.
Modifying a Parenting Plan in Buffalo Grove
Families change quickly and often, so a divorce order is never meant to be permanent. In fact, it is a good idea to legally modify these documents at least once every two or three years. The judge will amend the terms if:
- Changed Circumstances: A new job often constitutes changed circumstances. Typically, a new job means either more or less money and more or less time at home. Remarriage may suffice as well if the relationship has a direct bearing on the children (i.e. the rare but not unheard of “wicked stepmother” syndrome).
- Best Interests: The same factors used in initial determinations also apply in modification actions.
If both parents agree to the modification, an attorney can often get these changes approved without a hearing.
Rely on Experienced Lawyers
After the initial determination, most parenting plans undergo frequent revision. For a free consultation with an experienced family law attorney in Buffalo Grove, contact the Andrea Heckman Law We routinely handle matters in Cook County and nearby jurisdictions.