Woodstock Child Custody
When your rights as a parent are at stake, it is crucial to retain skilled legal counsel to assist with Illinois child custody matters. Fortunately, there are options for resolving disputes, and our team at Bruning & Associates, P.C. will support you throughout the proceedings. Our lawyers have extensive experience and in-depth knowledge of the Illinois child custody laws, so we can leverage our skills to help you achieve your goals. Please contact us to schedule a complimentary consultation with a Woodstock child custody attorney who can provide personalized details. You might also find a legal summary to be informative.
Basics of Illinois Parental Responsibilities Laws
The concept of child custody covers the important decision-making involved with raising a child, and Illinois law generally prefers an arrangement where parents share in these responsibilities. Even when the child primarily resides with one parent, joint custody empowers both parents to make these decisions. Additional important points about the allocation of parental responsibilities include:
- Child custody will be a priority from the moment a parent files for divorce since a temporary arrangement must be in place while the case is proceeding.
- When the child lives with one parent, the other will have the right to visitation, now known as parenting time.
- The parent with visitation rights will usually be required to pay child support, which works according to the income share model and incorporates Illinois child support guidelines.
All decisions regarding the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time are subject to review under Illinois’ statute on the child’s best interests. When making decisions on child custody and visitation, a judge is required to evaluate these statutory factors. Parents will have input, but the child’s best interests are paramount. A court must weigh:
- The mental and physical health of all parties.
- Each parent’s willingness to cooperate, support each other and encourage a close relationship between the child and the other parent.
- The extent to which each parent participated in past decision making involving the child.
- The presence of physical violence or domestic abuse.
- The child’s needs.
- The wishes of the child, depending on age and maturity level.
- Many other factors.
Options for Custody and Parental Responsibilities
Parenting Plan Agreements
When co-parents can compromise on the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time, the court is likely to approve an agreed-upon parenting plan. It will still be subject to scrutiny under the child’s best interests standard, but a judge will enter an order that complies with the law.
If there are disputes over child custody, parents can choose mediation; a judge may also require it in many cases. Through this process, parents work with a trained mediator who guides the discussion toward compromise.
With both options, a critical benefit is that parents can be creative in developing solutions that work for their family and lifestyle. Additional advantages include reduced costs and quicker time to resolution with child custody issues. Plus, working together reduces the possibility of conflict later, since both parents participate in determining an appropriate arrangement.
If you are unable to resolve disputes via agreement or mediation, it will be necessary to go to court. A contested child custody hearing is similar to a trial, in which both parties will seek to convince the judge that their proposed solution is in the child’s best interests. Bruning & Associates P.C. will tackle all essential legal tasks, including collecting evidence, developing legal arguments, and representing you at trial.
Parental Responsibilities After Divorce
When a co-parent repeatedly violates a child custody order, you may need to draw from the power of the court to enforce it. On the other hand, you might be in the position to defend an enforcement action if you are accused of misconduct.
Either parent can petition the court to alter the arrangement for parental responsibilities if a substantial change in circumstances warrants it. A parent who wants to maintain the status quo will need legal help convincing the judge.
Petitions for Relocation
There are special rules that apply when a modification is due to one parent seeking to move, either long-distance or out of Illinois.
Once again, all court determinations in these areas are subject to review under the child’s best interests standard. Plus, these issues can be resolved by agreement or mediation just as they were through the initial proceedings.
Set Up a Consultation with a Woodstock Child Custody Lawyer
Please contact us to set up a no-cost consultation today. Our office serves families throughout McHenry County, and we have several offices conveniently located nearby in Chicago, Schaumburg, and Crystal Lake, Illinois.