Child Custody And Visitation In Chicagoland

If both you and your spouse are seeking primary physical custody of your children, the courts generally will require the two of you to participate in mediation. At times, a psychological evaluation is required or a guardian ad litem is appointed to represent the minor child or children. Issues of property division are secondary to custody.

As of January 1, 2016, Illinois courts will no longer use the terms custody and visitation; they will instead "allocate parental responsibilities and parenting time." The parental responsibilities shall include education, health care, religion and extra-curricular activities. The details shall be incorporated into a parenting plan.

Where will my children live? Can my spouse move my children out of Illinois?

As a divorce lawyer with more than 30 years of family law experience in the western Chicago suburbs, Terry Fawell can help you understand the court process used to resolve child custody disputes. She can also help you keep the process civil, which is important because if you have children, you will need to be able to communicate with the other parent after your divorce.

How Child Custody Is Decided

  • Unless there are issues of abuse or child endangerment, either parent can be awarded custody of the children. The courts consider what is in the children's best interests.
  • Physical custody refers to where the child lives. This is the area where most disputes arise. In many cases, one parent will have primary physical custody and the other parent will have parenting time according to a parenting agreement. Joint physical custody arrangements, where the children reside equally with both parents, are possible.
  • Mediation is often the first step in resolving a child custody dispute, but it will not work if one spouse dominates the other. Terry Fawell can help you select a mediator and prepare for the process.
  • If you fail to reach an agreement in mediation, a psychological evaluation of all parties may be required. This can be very costly and time-consuming.
  • The court will often appoint a guardian ad litem for a minor child or children. The role of this person, who is an attorney, is to investigate and make a recommendation to the court as to what is in the best interests of the children.

Can My Spouse Move My Children Out Of Illinois?

Unless you consent, your spouse cannot move your children out of the marital home while the case is pending or out of Illinois after the divorce is final without a court order. Fawell & Fawell represents parents who want to move with children as well as parents who object to such moves.

We welcome you to schedule a free initial consultation about your child custody case by contacting Fawell & Fawell at 630-480-6253. From our office in Wheaton, we serve clients in DuPage, Kane and Will counties.