Custody concerns are common to divorces involving children, and because these concerns affect your parental rights, they’re exceptionally important. Custody matters can also pop up outside the realm of divorce, including custody modifications and custody issues related to unmarried parents. Whatever custody issue you are facing, an experienced custody lawyer in Chicago can help.
In Illinois, the courts no longer use the terms legal custody and visitation but instead use parental responsibilities which incorporate parenting time and decision-making to each parent. Once these parental responsibilities are established then it is incorporated into an Allocation Judgment that is entered by the Judge, making the parental responsibilities (both parenting time and decision-making) into an enforceable court order.
The meanings, however, haven’t changed. Decision-making correlates with legal custody in that it relates to which parent, or both parents, will make important decisions on behalf of the children. These decisions relate to the big-picture questions as a parent and include:
Parental responsibilities are an important facet of your child custody arrangements, which are now encompassed into an allocation judgment, and these decisions can be either sole or joint.
Parenting time correlates with what you probably think of as visitation, and this important matter is often hotly contested in divorce. Ultimately, if you and your divorcing spouse can create a parenting time schedule that you are both willing to agree to, the court is almost certain to accept it. Because you obviously have a close understanding of your family’s scheduling needs and your children’s best interests when it comes to dividing their time between the two of you, keeping this matter between yourselves is almost always preferable.
If your negotiations with your soon-to-be-ex have stalled, fear not – it isn’t uncommon. You have other options available. If you cannot agree to an aspect of parenting time, whether, for example, that is routine parenting time, holiday time, vacation time, summertime, or special events with the children then the court has options to encourage the parties to reach a mutual agreement prior to litigation, including:
One caveat to negotiations is that, if your divorcing spouse is more interested in causing friction than in negotiating in good faith, you may be better off taking the matter before the court.
Custody concerns can be one of the most difficult divorce concerns of all, and this is why the experienced and compassionate custody lawyers at WARD FAMILY LAW LLC in Chicago dedicate their practice to helping clients like you obtain favorable custody, visitation, parenting time, decision-making, parental responsibility, and allocation judgment overall terms. For more information, please don’t hesitate to contact us today.
I knew we were going to have a custody battle from day one. It was going to be mean and messy and expensive and long. I did not know if I could handle it but I had to do it for my kids. Jennifer litigated my case to the end - we had an attorney for the kids, we had psych evaluations, we had reports for the Judge, we had court date after court date. She was strategic, smart, planned well ahead, and kept on top of everything. Thanks to her and her legal eagles my kids are in a…
We were not married but had two kids and we were both listed as the parents on the birth certificates. What I did not know at the time was that the birth certificate (for parents who are not married) does not count in Chicago! You have to have a paternity test or have signed some special paperwork at the hospital that we did not know about at the time. Ward Family Law prepared the court filings so that we could establish our parental rights. Thank you!
At the end of my divorce case I realized that the paperwork required us to provide the court with a Qualified domestic relations order (QDRO) in order for our retirement and investment accounts to be divided as we had agreed. The problem was that we did not have them done in time. Jennifer and her team stepped in and handled contacting the plan administrators, completing the draft QDROs, submitting them for pre-approval of everyone and then presenting them to the court. While we had hoped this was super easy there were a lot of steps and a lot of things…
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