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  • Traditional child custody vs. co-parenting

    1207978_s According to a recent article from Psychology Today, on co-parenting after divorce, young children are said to be the most highly affected when they are exposed to conflict between parents or experience a dramatic lessening in time spent with either parent. Traditional child custody arrangements consist of one parent who is the primary caregiver and decision-maker for the child or children. The non-custodial parent has arranged visitation times which vary from case to case. In some traditional arrangements where the parents live relatively close to each other, visitation may be as often as every weekend. In other arrangements, where parents live far apart, visitation may only include certain holidays and a few weeks during the summer. This type of custody arrangement, of necessity, separates children from parents for prolonged periods of time, which often results in anxiety, aggressive behavior and problems with sleep and school.  Co-parenting One way that is believed to be more effective in raising children after a divorce is through co-parenting. In this type of custody, parents agree to work together with respect to where their children will be, and for what length of time. Some of the benefits of co-parenting include the following:

    • Decision making – Both parents share responsibility in making important decisions relating to their children.
    • Records – Both parents retain access to medical and school records, along with any other records that may be related to the welfare of the child.
    • Convenience – Parents who have a working co-parenting arrangement often find making changes in scheduling far more convenient than in traditional custody arrangements.
    • Focus – This type of custody allows more of the parent’s focus to be on the child or children involved. According to Dr. Joan Kelley, a professor of psychology, parents are the most qualified experts on their own children, and as such are more capable of making co-parenting decisions to benefit them.

    Many children benefit when divorced parents are willing to work together by using co-parenting to schedule child custody. Such cooperation on the part of parents often helps raise children who are more confident and less anxious as they grow toward adulthood. Choosing Custody Style  Though there are many benefits to co-parenting, there may be times when a traditional custody arrangement may be in the best interests of a child. These types of situations may include relationships, in which there may have been spousal abuse, bitter, emotion-filled relationships after the divorce or in cases where one spouse lives many miles away. A family law attorney can help to determine which type of custody arrangement will be most beneficial for you and your child. 

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  • How new health care insurance options affect divorce in Illinois


    Prior to the enactment of the Affordable Care Act, providing health care insurance after a divorce was cost prohibitive for many couples. Insurance coverage for children is typically covered under the policy of the employed parent, but when one spouse is dependent upon the other spouse, that spouse often loses those benefits in the event of a divorce. This is due to the fact that health care insurance policies are only written to cover current spouses.

    Generally, people who become ineligible for health insurance under their ex-spouse’s policy have been able to qualify for COBRA insurance for up to 36 months. COBRA allows people to purchase insurance coverage in the same insurance group for a predetermined period of time. The cost of this type of insurance, however, can be as much as 102 percent of the group rate that the spouse may have been paying. This high cost is startling to some, and was often the cause for many women opting to be uninsured after a divorce, according to a 2012 study conducted by the University of Michigan.

    Insurance assistance

    Under the Affordable Care Act, an unmarried individual would be able to qualify for insurance cost assistance subsidies. This allows them to not have to suffer from having high monthly COBRA rates. The types of assistance available beginning January of 2014 include the following:

    • Subsidies – A household that makes up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level, which is $45,960 for a single person, would qualify for a subsidy in the form of a tax credit.
    • Set premiums – Insurance providers must provide insurance despite prior medical conditions. This means that a spouse who has lost health coverage due to divorce will not be charged more for insurance simply because of a pre-existing condition.
    • Minimum standards – Those who are covered by an insurance plan may now expect that their policy will include coverage in emergency rooms without prior authorization, rehabilitative services, and basic dental care.
    • Annual Caps – This type of insurance will ensure that there is a reasonable cap on out of pocket medical expenses each year.

    With the changes in federal insurance law, people who may have previously relied on health care provided by their spouse’s employer may be able to afford quality insurance that is not as expensive as in the past.

    Health care costs after divorce 

    The costs of health care often have a large bearing on the size of divorce settlements or maintenance to be provided. A qualified family law attorney can help those struggling with health care decisions to negotiate for a settlement that will help them cover the costs of their care.

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