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How to Make Long Distance Co-Parenting Work

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DuPage County Family LawyerThere are times when one parent must relocate with their children. Whether due to a job change, to be closer to family, or to begin a new committed relationship, when adults move, minor children need to be considered carefully. 

While this can be difficult, ideally the parent who is not moving will still maintain their role in the children’s lives to the fullest extent possible. Even when a judge gives a parent permission to relocate, the other parent does not automatically lose parental responsibilities or parenting time; therefore, the parents need to work together to make co-parenting work. Here are some tips for successful long-distance co-parenting.

Schedule Times to Check In

A parent who does not live close to their children may not be involved in managing the children’s day-to-day lives, but the parent still needs to stay informed of what is going on so they can work to help make the right decisions. Since life can get busy, co-parents should schedule a time to communicate so each can learn what they need to know.


Wheaton, IL child support lawyerThe amount of child support that you pay in Illinois is tied to your income. Many people ask whether their child support will automatically go up as their income rises. The answer to that question is that a raise does not always mean that you will pay more, but it could potentially lead to higher child support payments. Everything depends on the circumstances of your own situation and a DuPage County child support attorney can help.

A Non-Paying Parent Must Seek a Modification

Generally, the paying parent is not required to notify the other parent of a raise in income unless a divorce or child support agreement requires it. In order for payments to increase, the parent who is not paying child support must ask the court to raise child support by filing a motion to modify the child support order. 

Alternatively, the non-paying parent is allowed to have a review for a modification every three years. There is never a guarantee that a petition for modification will be approved; the law requires there to be a “significant change” in the non-custodial parent’s income, or a significant change in the child’s needs. Not every single raise will be considered significant. The parent paying child support does not have to do anything until and unless the child support order is modified by a judge. 


This time of year can be particularly challenging for divorced parents. If you’ve got a co-parent who is determined to get your child expensive, lavish gifts that you can’t afford or simply don’t think they need, it can be particularly frustrating.

Divorced parents shower their children with gifts for any number of reasons. Some just want to be the “favorite.” Others are relentlessly competitive. Sometimes, parents who feel guilty about the divorce or not being able to spend as much time with their kids as they’d like try to make up for it by buying toys, games, sports equipment, clothes, vacations and more.

Try to reach an agreement

As with most co-parenting issues, the best strategy is to try to talk about it and come to an agreement. You can ask your co-parent to commit to a spending limit for individual gifts and share the cost (and credit) for larger gifts – unless they’re coming from Santa. See if they’ll agree to a provision in your parenting plan about gift-giving.


In Illinois, child support is determined by a number of factors. One of the most common questions parents ask when it comes to child support is, “What will happen if the paying parent refuses or falls behind in their payments?”

Regardless of the reasons why the non-custodial parent is not able to follow through with child support payments, one thing is certain that they may have a legal dilemma.

Parental vs. legal obligations

Whether married, separated, divorced or never married, every parent is responsible for their child’s financial and emotional well-being. There are laws in place to ensure that children receive what they deserve to live a happy and healthy life. Most often, the court will direct the non-custodial parent to make child support payments to the custodial parent for the child’s basic needs.


Children are, without a doubt, expensive to raise. If you’re paying child support, you may view your teenager’s upcoming 18th birthday with a sense of relief.

The issue may not be that simple, however. There are a few situations where child support can extend into a child’s adult years.

Three possible reasons your child support obligation may continue

Illinois law makes it possible for a court to order child support to continue into a child’s adulthood for several different reasons, including the following:

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