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Hillside, IL 60162

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How Is Child Custody Decided in Illinois?

Posted on in Allocation of Parental Responsibilities

Oak Park, IL parenting plan lawyerIn 2016, the way in which Illinois courts determine child custody was changed substantially. The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA ) now calls child custody “the allocation of parental responsibilities,” and visitation is now referred to as “parenting time.” Divorcing parents must fill out a “parenting plan” document which states each parent’s parenting time and parenting responsibilities, as well as certain child-related rights and requirements. Reaching decisions about these issues can be challenging – especially in the midst of a contentious divorce. In some cases, the court will make decisions about parental responsibilities and parenting time for the parents.

Resolving Parenting Plan Disputes

Illinois parenting plans must contain a number of provisions, including provisions that address the following:

  • How significant decisions about the child will be made;
  • A parenting time schedule that explains when the child will live with each parent;
  • How any future modifications to the parenting plan will be handled;
  • Transportation arrangements;
  • Each parent’s right to access information about the child, such as medical records and school reports; and
  • Several other child-related concerns.

Understandably, many divorcing parents have strong feelings about the provisions of the parenting plan. This can make it difficult for many parents to reach an agreement. Before the case is heard in an Illinois court, the parents are typically required to participate in family law mediation. During mediation, the parents work with a neutral mediator who helps them discuss the disputed issues in a constructive, non-adversarial way.  A skilled divorce lawyer may also help parents negotiate a parenting plan, without the need for court intervention.

Illinois Child Custody Trials

Mediation and lawyer-assisted negotiations have helped countless divorcing parents reach a custody agreement without going to trial. However, unfortunately, not every parenting plan dispute is able to be settled on an out-of-court basis. If your custody case goes to trial, the court will determine a parenting plan that is in the best interests of the child. The court will consider factors such as:

  • Each parent’s proposed parenting arrangement;
  • The child’s wishes, if he or she is old enough to express those wishes;
  • The child’s relationship with each parent;
  • The parents’ physical and mental health; and
  • Any instances of abuse.

The court will hear arguments and consider evidence from both parties. A specially-trained attorney called a “guardian ad litem” may also be assigned to the case. He or she will investigate the circumstances of the case through interviews and home studies, and then give a recommendation to the court about the type of parenting arrangement that would serve the child’s best interests. The court will then consider all of the relevant information and then enter an allocation judgment setting forth what parental responsibilities and parenting time will be.

Contact a Hillside, IL Child Custody Lawyer

If you need help reaching an agreement on your Illinois parenting plan, contact the Law Office of Vincent C. Machroli, P.C. We will explain the legal issues that you will need to address and advise you on the best way to reach a resolution that protects both your parental rights and your child’s best interests. Schedule a free, confidential consultation with our Oak Park family law attorney who has 33 years of experience by calling our office at 708-449-7404 today.

Source:

https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/documents/075000050K602.10.htm

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