Child custody is one of the most contentious and anxiety-inducing matters that must be settled in a divorce. What used to be known as child custody is now known as an allocation of parenting time and decision-making authority to one or both of the parents. The courts now enter Allocation Judgments setting forth these parameters rather than using the term child custody in Illinois. Your child custody settlement or court order regarding parenting time and decision-making, which is also known as the allocation judgment, to each parent will impact your life and your child’s life for years to come. In Illinois, custody is referred to as parental responsibility and parenting time, which correlate with legal and physical custody in other states.
It’s crucial to work out a parenting agreement that works for everyone involved. When you work with our child custody attorneys in Chicago, we can help you negotiate a settlement with your child’s other parent that involves creative solutions. If settlement cannot be reached then you can trust the same attorneys to litigate your case to conclusion.
Illinois family courts determine parental arrangements and parental allocations by the “best interest of the child” standard. To make such a decision, the judge will typically consider several factors. One factor isn’t more critical than the others, but not all may have equal importance in any given custody case. These factors include:
By hiring experienced child custody lawyers in Chicago, you can ensure that your case will be fairly represented and your rights will be protected.
Illinois law doesn’t allow children to decide with which parent they will live. The court can take into account the child’s desires, either through the parents’ testimony, their attorneys, or other professionals on behalf of the child. The judge may appoint a guardian ad litem or expert evaluator that may interview the child and other parties involved to provide written reports to the court. Illinois courts attempt to avoid involving children in court proceedings.
Suppose the parents can’t agree on parenting allocation, also known as a parenting plan and decision-making. In that case, the court can mandate that the parties go to mediation. Here, a neutral third party, or mediator, trained and assigned by the court, assists parents to try to reach an agreement on parenting time and decision-making, which was previously known as a custody and visitation agreement. Your child custody lawyers in Chicago can attend the mediation with you and protect your rights. If mediation fails, and settlement talks prove unfruitful then the matter may go to trial.
When a parenting case goes to trial, the judge might involve a custody evaluator or guardian ad litem to help them determine the child’s best interests. The trial will be based on their findings, and the judge will decide what arrangements are in the child’s best interests.
At Ward Family Law, divorce is a challenging process in many ways, even for couples who don’t have children. When you add children to the mix, emotions run even higher. Parenting issues can become complex, and some parents might even use them to manipulate the other parent in the divorce. If you are trying to negotiate a parenting plan with your child’s other parent or suspect you might go to trial, it’s time to speak with experienced child custody lawyers in Chicago. Contact us today to schedule a case consultation.
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