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kane county child custody lawyerThe marijuana landscape in the United States has been rapidly changing for the past couple of years. In 2020, the state of Illinois legalized marijuana for adult recreational use, making it legal for adults to purchase, use, and possess cannabis under certain circumstances. However, even though it is legal in Illinois, cannabis remains federally illegal. It is still classified as a Schedule I substance, which is thought to be the most dangerous class of drugs. Many parents going through a divorce typically have concerns about their children and how their parenting time and decision-making responsibilities will be allocated. Parents who are legal marijuana users often worry if their drug use will affect their ability to gain custody over their child. However, the answer to that question can be complicated. 

What Does the Law Say?

According to the Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act, there are certain situations in which cannabis use cannot be used to discriminate against certain individuals -- including parents. The Act states that a parent, legal guardian, grandparent, or another person who is responsible for caring for a child is protected from discrimination for their marijuana use when it comes to determining things like child custody, parenting time and decision-making responsibilities. This means that you cannot be denied your parental rights by the court for the sole fact that you are a cannabis user.

How Do Judges Decide?

However, that does not bar the court from making decisions pertaining to child custody if your cannabis use endangers the welfare of your child. Typically a court will conduct a hearing if your child’s other parent expresses concern about their child’s wellbeing because of your marijuana use. If this is the case, the court will examine the facts surrounding the situation similarly to how they examine alcohol use. If the court finds that your usage interferes with your child’s wellbeing, they may place restrictions on parenting time or decision-making responsibilities. Examples of marijuana usage that may affect custody include:

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Kane County family law attorney parenting time

If the health, safety, or well-being of a child is in question, the court may opt to either suspend or restrict the parenting time of a parent. Alternatively, the court may order supervised visitations. In either case, it is the concerned parent who carries the burden of proof. Sadly, far too many parents are not prepared and their children continue to face danger for longer than necessary. Learn more about how to protect your child with help from the following information and an experienced attorney.

Burden of Proof

Parenting time in Illinois is protected, not for the sake of the parent, but for the sake of the child. In short, it indicates that a child has the right to emotional and financial support from each parent. So, under the eyes of the law, the restriction, suspension, or order of supervised parenting time is a limitation of the child’s rights. It is from this angle that parents can understand why a preponderance of evidence is needed to limit or restrict parenting time.

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Kane County family law attorney allocation of parental responsibilities

The allocation of parental responsibilities (formerly known as child custody) can greatly impact the life of a child. Further, it can determine just how involved you are in the decision-making process of your child’s life. Whether you are an unmarried father who has recently established paternity or half of a couple going through a divorce, it is important for you to understand the allocation of parental responsibilities, including who may be eligible to pursue it and when.

What Is the Allocation of Parental Responsibilities?

The allocation of parental responsibilities can be broken down into two primary areas of concern: parenting time and significant decision-making authority for the child. Parenting time is the time that each parent spends with his or her child, while the decision-making authority pertains to the level of responsibility each parent has regarding important choices regarding the child’s life. For example, a parent with more decision-making authority may have the final say in where the child goes to school, or whether he or she attends church or not.

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Kane County family law attorney parenting time

One of the most difficult things for children—and parents—to handle during divorce are the transition periods between time with each parent, especially for young children. Your children are used to having both Mom and Dad in the same home together, sleeping in the same room every night, surrounded by the same toys and belongings. Suddenly, instead of the consistency of a daily routine, their little world is turned upside down and they spend their time being shuffled between two homes, two routines, and two different sets of rules. However, there are steps that parents can take to make that transition easier for everyone.

Prepare Kids for the Transition Between Two Homes

It is vital for children’s adjustment to feel secure and to know exactly what to expect now that they are going to be leaving their house to go spend time at what will also be their home, with the other parent. Discuss the things they may want to bring with them and assure them that you will help them pack those belongings. Explain what days they will be going from one home to another. A suggestion that provides a good visual for young children to follow is to make a color-coded calendar for each home so the kids can see when the transitions will take place and what days they will be at each home.

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