Tag Archives: children

Things You Can Do To Help Your Kids Through Divorce

Divorce impacts the entire family, not just the adults. Extended family feels the effects of your split, and it goes without saying that your kids also have feeling about the case. It is hard enough on most adults to get divorced, so when talking to kids it is crucial to remember their maturity level and ability to process the information is much different. For very young children, it may be that they are not able to control their emotions and may “act out” in response to the news their parents are getting divorced. With a little help though, you can get your kids through divorce without a major upset. Doing so takes hard work and commitment, and sometimes a little help from a professional.

Before picking up the phone and calling a therapist though, try your hand at some one on one time. Some good tips to help you are:

● Make sure your kids know the divorce is an adult issue, and has nothing to do with them.
● Provide reassurance that the divorce is not your kids’ fault, and that they are loved equally by both parents.
● Remain flexible with your ex on holidays and visitation, and avoid fighting in front of the kids.

If your ex has a tendency to miss scheduled visitations, make sure you have a plan B so your child has an activity on the date of the visit. Remember that kids take note of your actions more so than your words, so behave in a way that you would want your kids to behave. Most importantly, if you need help, be sure to ask. Whether you seek the assistance of a trained professional or just talk it over with a friend or family member, remain open to help from people that care about you. Doing so will show your kids you care, and give them the reassurance they need to grow to confident, well-adjusted adults.

For answers to your questions about how to help your kids cope with divorce, call a qualified family law professional. Contact the Chicago Law Offices of Curtis Bennett Ross, LLC. Call us today to schedule an appointment to discuss the specific facts of your case.

Can Parental Rights Be Terminated?

Becoming a parent is one of life’s greatest joys. It is also one of life’s most challenging jobs and requires a lot of patience and dedication to your children. For most people though, the effort is worth the reward. For others, unfortunately, children are left with one parent as the other decides not to take an active role in their kids’ life. This can leave the parent who is raising the child with questions about the rights of the absent parent. The most common question in this scenario is whether the parental rights of the absent parent can be terminated, and if so, how to accomplish that task?

In Illinois, termination of parental rights is not an independent action. To have rights terminated, an adoption is typically required. In instances where one of the parents is considered to have abandoned the child, the following factors are taken into consideration:

● Abandonment of a newborn, at birth.
● Failing to maintain a significant level of interest, contact, or involvement with the child.
● Failing to provide financial support for the child.
● A lack of visitation.

Because not every case is one for adoption, there is also the possibility of terminating parental rights in a Juvenile Court termination proceeding. The same factors are considered and weighed by the Court when making a determination as to whether the rights should be terminated. For help with an adoption or for answer to questions about parentage, call our office. We have helped others through this difficult process and can help you too.

Call an experienced family law attorney with experience in helping families with children today. Call the Chicago Law Offices of Curtis Bennett Ross, LLC to schedule an appointment and learn more.

Can I Visit My Stepchildren?

In today’s society there are many blended families. Subsequent marriages are common, and usually come with a his and hers sort of family. This is especially true for older couples, where the likelihood there are children from previous marriages is even greater. Marriages in these situations result in instant families, giving stepchildren to the newly married couple. In the event there is a divorce and stepchildren are involved the issue of visitation with a non-biological child might arise.

As with all things regarding children during divorce, the final result will be one that the Court considers in the best interest of the children. Visitation is determined using this standard, and it applies to biological kids as well as stepchildren. Here are some examples of how this issue might come about:

● One of the parties to the divorce seeks visitation with a non-biological child.
● The child has formed a strong bond with the stepparent.

While the Court will not voluntarily order visitation with a stepchild, if you make the request for visitation rights the Court will review that request using the best interests standard. Some of the things you will need to show the Court in your attempt to get visitation are that the relationship you have formed with the child is solid. It can also be helpful for the child to express a desire to continue building a relationship with you. This would come into play in the case of older children, who have the maturity to understand the significance of continuing a relationship with a stepparent. We understand the unique needs of mixed families and work hard to reach results that are healthy for your family. Call a knowledgeable divorce attorney today to learn more.

If you have questions about your rights as a stepparent, consult a qualified legal professional. Call the Chicago Law Offices of Curtis Bennett Ross, LLC to schedule an appointment today. We take an individualized approach and help you reach results that are satisfactory.

Divorce From A Child’s Perspective

Kids are resilient, and can bounce back from adversity quicker and will fewer lasting effects than adults. But when talking about divorce, special care is needed to ensure your child does not feel ashamed, blamed, or inadequate as a result. The best scenario is one where your children learn valuable lessons from the divorce and grow into well-adjusted adults. Getting there can be difficult, but does not have to be impossible.

Divorce from a child’s perspective is much different than divorce from an adult’s perspective. To better understand what your child is going through, keep in mind the following:

● Your child goes to school, not work. This is significantly different because school, for most kids, is not a choice. Even when your kids have a lot of friends at school, the schoolhouse is a place where kids go as a requirement and not as a voluntary choice. On the other hand, the workplace is a chosen job or profession, the choice of which is made after careful consideration and available options.
● The emotional maturity level of a child is not as developed as that of an adult. This makes it hard for children to process stress in a healthy way.
● Outside of school, the activities most children engage in are for fun. When their friends are going home to a two parent household and taking vacations it is a hard adjustment to make for your child to split their time between two homes and miss out on family activities.

Children look to adults to set the tone for acceptable behavior. When kids perceive their parents as “fighting” the expected consequence is to be “in trouble”, not divorce. The best approach to making sure your kids take something positive out of the divorce is to reassure them it is not their fault and to talk to them in ways that make sense for their age. If possible, maintain a friendship with your ex so the kids see that not all disagreements end in unhealthy emotions. We believe in the creation of an emotionally stable post-divorce family, and help you reach the goals of your case while also creating a healthy environment for your children.

For more information about how divorce impacts children, call our office. Our attorneys are qualified to assist you with all the issues that are important to you. Contact the Chicago Law Offices of Curtis Bennett Ross, LLC today to schedule an appointment.

Relocation Of The Kids

Staying in one town or city for a lifetime is a thing of the past. Our society is one that is mobile, and people put down roots in more than one place over their course of their life. When an opportunity to move presents itself to a divorced parent though, special care must be taken. It is not always easy to move your children out of state and away from their other parent. Doing so takes planning and in some instances Court approval.

If you want to move after your divorce is final and have kids, you need to know some basics about child removal. While you cannot be prohibited from moving, you do have to ask for permission from the Court to do so with your children. The law requires the following:

● Filing a motion in your divorce case that asks for Court approval of a planned move.

  • Attending a hearing on the motion and presenting your case to the Judge for review.


At the hearing you will need to establish the move is in the best interests of your children. This includes a showing that the move is not harmful to your children, emotionally or otherwise. It is also a good idea to have a proposal for how your kids will continue to develop and maintain a relationship with your ex-spouse. This shows that you are willing to allow your children continued contact and are not moving simply to keep your ex from their other parent. The result will depend on how well you present your case, and careful development of the facts is essential in this regard. In order to take a new job or move closer to extended family and take your kids with you, call our office for assistance. Contact our knowledgeable divorce professionals today to learn more.

If you have questions about your right to move and take your kids with you, consult a qualified legal professional. Call the Chicago Law Offices of Curtis Bennett Ross, LLC to schedule an appointment today.

What Are My Options?

Knowing your options when getting divorced is important. This is especially true when you are trying to resolve issues regarding your children. Amicable resolutions are preferable, but not always possible. When conflicts arise you can negotiate for satisfactory results, allow the Judge to make decisions, or agree to mediate. Mediation is a beneficial tool whereby a neutral third party listens to the interests of each party and helps facilitate a resolution. It is critical to have your attorney present at mediation, so your interests are clearly presented and in a way that protects your rights.

Mediation in Cook County is governed by local court rules. In some instances, mediation is required, those include:

● Parents involved in conflict over child custody.

● Parents involved in conflict over child visitation schedules.

● Cases where removal of a child is in dispute.

Recently, another method of conflict resolution has arisen in divorce cases. It is called collaborative divorce. It is easy to confuse this process with mediation, and while the two are similar they are not the same. Knowing how to proceed and feeling confident in your choices will help you reach results that work. Our staff of skilled family law attorneys is here to help make sure your case moves at a reasonable pace and that the end result is satisfactory. Call our office or follow us on social media to stay on top of the latest trends.

If you have questions about mediation and when it is required in a divorce with children, consult a qualified legal professional. Call the Chicago Law Offices of Curtis Bennett Ross, LLC to schedule an appointment.

Parenting Is Hard Work

When parents divorce the Court enters orders regarding the kids that are in the best interests of the children. This includes a decision on custody, support, and visitation. When the parties are able to maintain a friendly relationship after the marriage ends, the kids are better off emotionally as well as socially and perhaps financially. Achieving this balance takes hard work though, and in some countries there are rules requiring parenting classes. The classes are designed to help the parents learn how to co-parent effectively and how to identify conflict so it can be avoided for the sake of the children.

The local rules in Cook County dictate the requirement of attendance at a parenting class when a couple divorces. There are two approved classes:

● For parties that are not able to agree on a custody arrangement, the course must be attended in person.

● You can take a less intrusive course online if you have reached an agreement on issues involving your children.

There is a cost associated with both courses and each lasts about 5 hours. The urge to sign up for a class might cause you to enroll prior to discussing your options, but the best choice is to seek the advice of a knowledgeable family law attorney first. Discussing the options with an attorney ensures you sign up for the right class, which means you don’t run the risk of having to go through the process more than once. For some people these courses lead to more in depth training such as by seeking counseling or other therapy during and after the divorce. For more information on divorce, children, and parenting classes call our office or like our page on Facebook.

If you have questions about enforcement of orders in your divorce case, call a qualified legal professional. Call the Chicago Law Offices of Curtis Bennett Ross, LLC to schedule an appointment today.

I’m Calling Grandma!

One of the most difficult issues to resolve in a divorce case is where the kids will live. Even when a final decision is reached, there are still other issues surrounding the children that must be addressed. Issues of child support and visitation must be finalized and in some cases this includes figuring out what rights grandparents have.

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act contains a provision for determining what rights grandparents have regarding their grandchildren when the parents get divorced. These include:

● The requirement that a petition be filed, in the county where the child lives.

● That the child be at least one year old.

● That visitation has been denied by at least one parent.

The denial of visitation has to be unreasonable, and establishing what constitutes an unreasonable denial requires the presentation of evidence. This is true in a divorce as well as in instances where a parent has abandoned the family and marital home. When making this important determination the Courts will consider several factors. You can expect that the Court will consider the nature of the relationship between the child and grandparent, as well as the physical ability of the grandparent to exercise visitation. In cases where the children are old enough to express a preference, the Court will also consider what the kids have to say. It is up to the party seeking grandparent visitation to prove they are entitled to the visitation, which makes it critical to enlist the assistance of a qualified family law attorney. We have been appointed as child advocates in local matters, and have a unique insight into how to show what is in the best interests of your children.

If you have questions about custody, consult a qualified legal professional. Call the Chicago Law Offices of Curtis Bennett Ross, LLC to schedule an appointment today.

Custody 101

A little refresher course never hurt anyone, and when it involves children of divorce it can help you maintain a healthy living environment and develop a strong bond with your kids. Child custody is often the most hotly contested issue in a divorce with kids, because the well-being of your family is your most important goal. It is not uncommon for parties to debate over custody, while still being able to agree on other crucial issues about their kids, such as the need for medical care.

The key to coming up with a workable custody plan is to plan ahead. Knowing that your children may express a desire to live with one parent over the other at some future point is important, and should be considered when drafting a custody agreement. Some basic tips for successful custody plans include:

● Taking the wishes of the children into account when possible and appropriate.

● Determining what type of visitation works for the entire family, which may require you to consider extracurricular activities and weekend events. When one parent is in a better position to transport kids to soccer games and ballet classes, that fact should be included in the decision making process.

● Future needs of your children, such as the need for all children to have both a mother and a father play an active role in their lives, and be able to attend things such as graduations and weddings in a non-confrontational way.

Prior to coming to Court, it can be beneficial to undergo mediation on just the issue of custody. Doing this removes one of the most historically combative parts of a divorce, and allows the parties to conclude their case in all regards. Keep in mind there are different types of custody (physical and decision making ability). You will want to make sure the arrangement covers not only where your kids live, but which parent has the authority to make decisions concerning the children. Typically both parents are given an equal responsibility on decision making issues, but this important aspect of custody should not be overlooked.

If you have questions about child custody, call a qualified legal professional. Call the Chicago Law Offices of Curtis Bennett Ross, LLC to schedule an appointment today. Call today to schedule your appointment.

Enforcement Of Child Custody And Visitation Orders

Just because a Judge enters an order in your divorce case does not mean your ex-spouse will abide by its terms. The frequency with which orders are ignored and disobeyed is alarming, and if your ex is not following the terms set forth in your case you do have remedies. The most common areas where people “break the rules” are in the areas of child support and visitation. Sometimes support is not paid when due, and sometimes a parent fails to exercise their visitation or tries to overstep the boundaries of the visitation that’s been ordered.

The remedies that are available to you when a support, custody, or visitation order has been violated include:

● Seeking to hold your ex-spouse in contempt.

● Garnishing wages to collect child support.

  • Seeking to have certain licenses revoked.
  • Initiating criminal proceedings.

In some cases it can be difficult to establish the violation. For example, in cases where visitation is not be exercised the issues may be that the child is expressing a desire not to go. In those cases it is natural to allow your child to stay home, until you can discover why there is a refusal to visit. However, you can be held in contempt for this action and the better course is to explain the situation to the Court seek court modification of the visitation schedule put in place during your divorce. When in doubt it is always best to know the legal consequences of your actions, and present your case to the Judge for determination. Doing this will help eliminate the possibility your ex will file a motion for contempt or to enforce an order. We help people on both sides of this issue, and work for resolutions that work for your family.

If you have questions about enforcement of orders in your divorce case, call a qualified legal professional. Call the Chicago Law Offices of Curtis Bennett Ross, LLC to schedule an appointment today.

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