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Commonly Asked Questions Regarding Child Custody, Support and Related Issues

Posted on in Divorce

Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois child custody lawyer, co-parenting, shared custody, child support guidelines, Life during and after divorce can be overwhelming in many respects, especially when children are involved. If you are contemplating a divorce and anticipate a child custody battle, your mind is probably teeming with questions. Here are the answers to ten commonly asked questions regarding child custody, child support orders, visitation rights, and other related issues.

1. What are my family’s custody options?

Under Illinois law, either one parent will be awarded sole custody or both parents will share joint custody. If the court grants joint custody, one parent will have residential custody (this is the custodial parent). Both options afford visitation rights to the non-custodial parent. The main difference is that under joint custody, the parents share decision-making authority.

2. Does the law presume that it is in the child’s best interest for the mother to be the custodial parent?

No. Parental fitness and the individual parent-child relationship are two factors that the court will consider to determine what arrangement is in the child’s best interest.

3. Does the child have a say in custody decisions?

Yes, but the child’s wishes are not controlling. That is merely one factor in the court’s analysis of the child’s best interests.

4. Will siblings be kept together?

Usually, but not necessarily. It might be in their best interests to be separated, depending on their individual circumstances.

5. My ex-spouse is the custodial parent. Is it possible for me to assume this role in the future?

It is possible, but unlikely, unless you can demonstrate that this change would be in the child’s best interests. For example, if the custodial parent’s financial circumstances have changed, or if the custodial parent is experiencing significant health issues, your petition might succeed.

6. Can the custodial parent move out of state with the child?

The child cannot be permanently removed from Illinois without court permission.

7. I am the custodial parent and recently remarried. Can my spouse adopt my child?

Only if the parental rights of the child’s other parent have been terminated in some way.

8. Can a child decide whether or not to go on a scheduled visit to the non-custodial parent?

No, the child does not have this authority. In fact, the custodial parent could be held in contempt if the child fails to make a scheduled visit.

9. My financial circumstances have changed. Can I modify my child support order?

You may file a petition requesting modification of the support order if there has been a substantial change in your income and/or financial situation.

10. When does my duty to pay child support end?

That depends. While support typically ends when the child turns 18, your support order could be extended past that date (for example, if you are required to help pay for a college education). The end date is based on the child’s emancipation, which might occur when the child gets married, moves out or joins the military. Note that dropping out of school and/or teen pregnancy do not automatically emancipate a minor.

We understand that you have questions about child custody and other divorce issues, and we are prepared to answer them. Do not hesitate to contact our experienced St. Charles divorce attorneys for a consultation.
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