Child Custody

Dedicated Family Law Lawyers Guiding Residents of DuPage and Kane Counties

Child custody may be one of the most difficult issues that arises in a divorce. At the Law Offices of Nick Kulagin, our family law attorneys recognize that people throughout DuPage County and Kane County will be deeply concerned with protecting the well-being of their children when their marriage dissolves. Determining each spouse’s rights can be complex, but you do not need to go through this challenging process alone. We can meet with you at our Wheaton offices to discuss your options and develop a plan for pursuing your goals.

Determining Parental Responsibility in Illinois

The Illinois legislature recently amended the law and replaced the terminology of “child custody” with the concept of “parental responsibility.” Courts will now assign parental decision-making and allot time with children rather than deciding child custody and visitation. While the name has changed, the essence of the matter is the same. Parents and courts must decide who makes decisions regarding the child, how much time each spouse spends with the child, and where the child resides.

These determinations will be based on the “best interest of the child” standard. In the state of Illinois, as in other states, there is a presumption that frequent and ongoing contact with both parents is in the best interest of the child. However, this presumption can be overcome in certain circumstances, such as when one spouse has a pattern of domestic violence or substance abuse. When deciding what is in the best interest of the child, the court will consider a number of factors, including the wishes of each parent, the wishes of the child, each parent’s financial situation, each parent’s relationship with the child, how well-adjusted the child is at his or her current home, and matters related to the child’s schooling.

Under the old law, a parent would have sole or joint custody of a child. This determination affected each parent’s decision-making power regarding the child. If a parent had sole custody, that parent would have the legal power to make all major decisions concerning the child. On the other hand, parents who had joint custody made all major decisions together. These decisions include matters involving the child’s education, religion, and medical treatment.

Even in a joint custody setting, one parent had been designated as the residential parent. The residential parent was the parent with whom the child will live primarily, while the other parent will have visitation rights.

Now, the parents are to prepare a proposed parenting plan within 120 days, and unless the parties agree the Court will issue a parenting plan deciding the following issues: allocation of decision making responsibilities, provisions for the child’s living arrangements and parenting time with each parent, mediation if decision making is allocated, access to medical and other records, a parent designated as having a majority of parenting time for the purposes of other laws, the child’s address for school enrollment purposes only, contact information for each parent, written notification procedures for relocation, notification protocol in the event of emergencies, transportation arrangements between the parties, communication provisions for a parent when the child is with the other parent, provisions resolving issues in advance in the event either parent relocates, provisions for future modifications in the event certain contingencies occur, and applicability and details regarding the right of first refusal.

Explore Your Options with a Divorce Attorney in DuPage or Kane County

At the Law Offices of Nick Kulagin, our capable divorce lawyers can work diligently on behalf of DuPage County and Kane County residents, pursuing a favorable outcome for them and their children. While we hope to resolve every issue through an amicable settlement rather than a trial, we are not afraid to zealously advocate for your rights in the courtroom if necessary. You can set up a free initial consultation at which we can discuss your concerns and the details of your situation. Our firm also can assist people from communities such as Naperville, Hoffman Estates, Mount Prospect, and Oak Park. For more information, call us at 630-480-6399 or contact us online.

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