Although 50/50 parenting time is on the rise, most Chicago-area divorce cases involving children and custody cases still result in one parent being the primary residential custodian. The parent who has less time with the children is usually known as the non-custodial parent. As Chicago divorce lawyers, we have seen a plethora of issues that arise between custodial parents and non-custodial parents. We have also seen examples of great things that non-custodial parents can do to safeguard their parental rights or father’s rights. Below is a short list of some of our tips for non-custodial parents. Keep in mind though that each case is unique. – Non-custodial parents usually are ordered to pay child support to the custodial parent, unless there are special circumstances. One of the most commonly litigated issues we see as Chicago family law attorneys is the alleged non-payment of child support. The custodial parent may inform the Court that the other parent did not pay child support, or did not pay the correct amount of child support. After the custodial parent makes his or her case, the non-custodial parent will usually need to prove that he or she did properly pay child support. This brings us to our first two tips: keep track of the child support payments you make and always pay through a traceable method, like a check. The memo field of the check can note that the payment is for child support. Internet-based spreadsheets can make tracking payments easier than ever because these online spreadsheets can be accessed from smartphones or any computer connected to the Internet. – Another issue we often see is a custodial parent having an issue with the non-custodial parent not following the parenting time schedule outlined in the parties’ custody judgment. It is a reality that sometimes visitation schedules require flexibility. The children or parent can become ill, a parent needs to travel for work, etc. It is prudent for parents to document any agreed-upon changes to the visitation schedule in writing. If the issue ever needs to go to court, it may be hard for the Judge to decide what happened when it is just one parent’s word against the other parent’s word. If the change to the visitation schedule or custody arrangement is more permanent, such as if the parties decide to have the child reside with the non-custodial parent, the parents may need to go to court to memorialize that change through an order and may need to modify the child support obligation. – Even if the custodial parent and non-custodial parent do not always get along, there are many great tools available to help parents communicate about their children. There are online programs that allow parents to post copies of child-related expenses, school calendars, and report cards. They can also keep track of parenting time schedules with these programs. One commonly used program is called Our Family Wizard. There is a yearly fee, but utilizing such a program can help avoid headaches and future attorneys’ fees. If you are seeking representation in a Chicago or Chicago-area divorce or custody case, you may contact Chicago divorce lawyer Tanya Witt at (312) 500-5400 or email info@thewittlawfirm.com. The above blog post does not constitute legal advice. Please discuss your specific rights with an attorney in your jurisdiction.