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Wheaton family lawyer for shared custody

While many couples are able to remain happily married from the date of their wedding until the death of one or both spouses, a significant percentage of marriages end in divorce. Many of these couples have children together, and during the divorce process, they will need to determine how custody of their children will be handled. Even though they will no longer be united together in a legal relationship, most divorced parents will still have to work together to make sure their children will be able to grow up and lead happy and healthy lives. By understanding what shared custody looks like, parents can prepare for the years to come and make sure they will be able to meet their children’s needs going forward.

Sharing Legal and Physical Custody in Illinois

In the majority of divorce cases, parents will both play an ongoing role in their children’s lives. Situations where one parent maintains sole custody of children are rare, although this may be appropriate in situations involving domestic violence or other cases where children’s physical or emotional well-being may be at risk. However, it is also relatively rare for custody to be divided exactly down the middle, with children spending equal amounts of time in each parent’s home and parents always collaborating to make decisions about how children will be raised. Most cases are somewhere in between these two extremes, and parents can craft a parenting plan that will make sure they both play a prominent role in their children’s lives. 

Posted on in Child Custody

Kane County child custody attorneyAlthough some parents will act aggressively to get full parental responsibilities for their children, others feel differently. You may not want full or even partial custody of your child for a number of reasons. Your job, your children from a previous relationship, your desire for privacy, or your feelings that you are not equipped to provide the care your child needs are all possible reasons for wanting your child’s other parent to have the majority of the childcare responsibilities.

What is Best for the Child?

Whether during divorce proceedings or when establishing parental responsibilities between unmarried parents, the court will make decisions according to what is in the best interests of the child. The court also takes the preferences of the parents and the child into account. If you do not want custody of your child at all, the court will most likely award full custody to the child’s other parent.

You must also consider the long-term impact of the lack of a close relationship with your child on your child’s mental health and wellness. Children often do best when they have both parents in their lives, and although you may not be in a position where you feel you can adequately parent now, that may change later on. It can be difficult to modify existing custody orders, and it may be much harder to get custody or visitation rights in the future.

Posted on in Child Custody

Kane County family law lawyerIf you share a child with your ex, and they are considering moving out of Illinois, you may feel nervous about what this means for the future of your relationship with your child. Fortunately, the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act includes provisions limiting how far custodial parents can move with their children without court approval.

When is a Parent in Illinois Allowed to Move with a Child?

If your ex has custodial rights or parental responsibilities for at least half of the time, they are able to ask permission from the court to move and take the child with them.

A parent who lives in Cook, DuPage, Lake, Kane, McHenry, or Will County can move with a child within Illinois up to 25 miles away from where they lived previously, without receiving court approval. A parent who lives in any other county may move up to 50 miles away. Likewise, a parent who lives near the Illinois border with any other state may move into a different state as long as they remain within 25 miles of their previous location.

Kane County divorce attorneyEven after a divorce, it is important for parents to maintain their relationships with their children. This usually means that there is still contact with the other parent–even if it is hostile in nature. Sometimes, the relationship between former spouses is so hostile that one spouse will attempt to turn a child against the other spouse in an effort to retaliate against them or get revenge.

In addition to being extremely damaging to the psychological well-being of a child, parental alienation is painful and confusing for the parent towards whom the alienating behavior is directed. A previously happy and content child may suddenly become withdrawn or angry and begin repeating ugly language they learned from the alienating parent.

Although Illinois law conspicuously rejects the term “parental alienation syndrome,” due to its lack of specificity, the law instead has a host of procedures and statutes to inhibit what might be considered parental alienation.

Posted on in Child Custody

St. Charles IL family law attorneyAs a father, you play a critically important role in your child’s life. At the same time, fathers face some unique challenges in custody and visitation cases. You may be wondering: Can a father seek sole custody in Illinois? The answer is a clear “yes”—a father has just as much right to seek custody as a mother. Nonetheless, the United States Census Bureau reports that it is significantly more common for mothers to have primary custody than fathers. Here is an overview of the most important things dads should know about their parental rights in Illinois.

A Father Must Establish Parentage to Have Rights

As a starting point, a father must establish legal parentage. Without paternity, a man has no access to parental rights. Paternity is simply defined as the legal relationship between a father and a child. How exactly paternity is best established depends on the specific circumstances of the case.

For married men, paternity is straightforward. You are automatically assumed to be the father of your wife’s child. No action is required under Illinois law to establish legal paternity. Married fathers have paternity rights as soon as their child is born. On the other hand, unmarried men can face some additional challenges. If there is no dispute over parentage, a Voluntary Acknowledgment form submitted jointly with the child’s mother is sufficient. However, in other cases, a father may need to seek a paternity order.

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