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Experienced Guidance In Child Custody And Visitation In Chicagoland

Illinois courts no longer use the terms custody and visitation; instead, they “allocate parental responsibilities and parenting time.” Parental responsibilities include education, health care, religion and extracurricular activities. The details are incorporated into a parenting plan.

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.

I Want Sole Custody Of My Child

While Illinois no longer uses terms like sole custody, primary physical custody, etc., we recognize that parents still use this terminology and want to do everything they can to protect their children.

Illinois family law (750 ILCS 5/602.7) states that “The court shall allocate parenting time according to the child’s best interests.” Is it truly in the child’s best interest to only be with one parent? In cases involving domestic violence, addiction or other issues, that may be the case. However, courts typically favor the child being able to have time with both parents.

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. Attorney Terry Fawell can help you determine whether this is appropriate and stand by your side in mediation and other processes to protect your rights as a parent.

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 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.

What Happens To My Child While The Custody Case Is In Progress?

The state recognizes that divorce and child custody disputes can take time. You may be wondering where your child will live in the meantime. Illinois family law offers temporary child custody orders, referred to as temporary allocation orders. These orders will temporary allocate parenting time and responsibility until the case is resolved. These orders can address the child’s schedule, where the child lives, decision-making and more. Our law firm can help you obtain these orders ASAP if necessary.

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.

In interstate child custody disputes, Illinois follows the Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act (UCCJEA). This law determines jurisdiction in multi-state child custody matters and informs how the case will be handled. We are well-versed in these and all other applicable laws, and can guide you forward with care.

Free Child Custody Consultation

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.