Having a child can bring a couple closer together and make them more committed to each other. Unfortunately, child-related matters can be some of the most divisive and contentious issues that can arise if the couple decides to break up. Child custody cases can become heated, with parents turning on one another. This is why it is critical to have a skilled Illinois child custody attorney to represent you.
Addressing Child Custody in Illinois
In Illinois, “allocation of parental responsibilities” is the legal term now used to refer to child custody. In any custody case, the courts will have to decide how parents will share responsibility for making decisions regarding the child (i.e., education, health, and religion) and what percentage of time the child will spend with each parent. All of this information is stipulated in a parenting plan that is ultimately approved by the court.
Every custody case has its own set of unique issues, and those issues can have an impact on the outcome of the case. The following are three different scenarios that demonstrate some of the complex legal issues that can arise between co-parents and how those issues can affect parental rights.
Unmarried Parents Are Ending Their Relationship
While unmarried couples may not need to take legal action to end their relationship like married couples do, they will still need to legally address issues related to child custody. The parents will need to agree on how important decisions are made on behalf of the child and how much time the child will spend with each parent. The court will also determine if and how much child support one parent will have to pay the other.
Many unmarried parents attempt to avoid the legal process after a breakup, agreeing that they “do not need the courts” to raise their child. This often only works for a short period of time, until an issue arises. Situations, where one parent is blocking access of the child from the other parent, are not uncommon. With no court-ordered custody in place, that parent has no legal recourse. Establishing custody right away avoids these situations. Even if the breakup is an amicable one, you should still have your own family law attorney to ensure your parental rights are protected.
One Parent Has a History of Alcohol or Drug Abuse
Every family law judge determines custody based on the “best interest of the child” doctrine. Accusations of substance abuse could have a detrimental impact on a person’s parental rights if the court finds there is merit to these claims. Even a one-time mistake that results in a DUI charge could be used against a parent, especially if the custody case is a contentious one.
One Parent Is Living with a New Partner or Has Remarried
After a breakup, one or both parents may eventually become involved in a new relationship that will lead to remarriage or cohabitation. Even if the issue of child custody has been long decided by the courts, this situation could have an impact on current custody if the parent’s new partner is creating an unhealthy environment for the child or the other parent believes they are. In these situations, parents may seek a modification of their existing child custody orders.
Let a Lombard Family Lawyer Help
If you are involved in any kind of child custody issue, you need an aggressive DuPage County child custody attorney advocating for you. Call NN Legal Group at 630-474-0925 to schedule a free and confidential consultation.