DuPage County child custody agreement lawyerIn Illinois, child custody laws address how children will be cared for, how parents will make important child-related decisions, and when children will live or spend time with each parent following a divorce or separation. Navigating the complex child custody can often be overwhelming, especially for parents who are in the midst of a divorce or the end of a relationship. Here are some facts that can help clarify issues related to child custody and ensure that parents will be able to approach this process successfully:

There Are Different Types of Child Custody

Depending on the circumstances of a case, either joint or sole custody may be appropriate. In cases involving joint custody, parents will share responsibility for making child-related decisions, and each parent will have parenting time with the children on a regular, ongoing basis. With sole legal custody, one parent may be responsible for making some or all decisions about how children will be raised. Even if one parent will have all decision-making responsibilities, the other parent will usually be able to have parenting time with their children. In rare situations, sole physical custody may be appropriate, and children may spend all of their time with one parent. Generally, Illinois courts believe that children are better off if both parents are involved in their care. Parents will be encouraged to find solutions that will allow them to share parental responsibilities and divide parenting time in a way that will allow children to maintain positive relationships with both parents.

A Parenting Plan Is Required

Divorcing parents will need to create a parenting plan that details decisions related to child custody, as well as other rules that will be followed as they work together to raise their children. A parenting plan should detail how parenting time will be divided, and it may address how disputes that may arise in the future will be resolved. With a well-crafted parenting plan, couples can ensure that they will be able to cooperate as co-parents in the future.

Mediation Can Be Used to Resolve Child Custody Disputes

In many cases, mediation is the most beneficial way to resolve issues related to child custody. Parents can work together with a neutral mediator to identify the concerns that need to be addressed and make decisions about how they will work together to co-parent their children. This can be a helpful way for couples to establish cooperative relationships and ensure that they are putting their children’s best interests first. 

The Court Evaluates the Child’s Best Interests 

As per Illinois law, decisions about child custody will be based on the child’s best interests. There are a variety of factors that may be used to determine what arrangements will be in the best interest of the child, including:

  • The quality of the relationships between the parents and the children

  • The physical and mental health of everyone involved

  • How well the children have adapted to their current home, community, and school and whether they may need to adjust to changed circumstances

  • The ability of each parent to foster a healthy relationship between the children and the other parent

  • Any instances of abuse or domestic violence that could put children’s health and safety at risk

Child Custody Orders Can Be Enforced

If necessary, a parent may ask the court to enforce the terms of a child custody order and ensure that the other parent complies with decisions about the allocation of parental responsibility and parenting time. If a parent refuses to follow the parenting time schedule or otherwise interferes with the other parent’s parenting time or their relationship with the children, the court may take actions such as modifying the parenting plan or placing restrictions on the offending parent. Continued violations could lead to a parent being held in contempt of court, which may lead to further penalties.

Contact a DuPage County Child Custody Attorney 

Parents may face a variety of challenges as they work to establish child custody arrangements, and in some cases, they may need to determine how to resolve emotionally-charged disputes. The Hinsdale child custody lawyers at the Law Office of Martoccio & Martoccio can help parents navigate this process successfully. We will work to resolve disputes as amicably as possible, but we will also provide effective representation to ensure that a parent’s rights will be protected, while also focusing on finding solutions that will provide for the best interests of the children. Contact us for a free consultation by calling 630-920-8855.