I represent clients out of offices in Chicago and Wheaton, in cases throughout Cook and DuPage Counties, in obtaining, enforcing and modifying custody orders/judgments, as well as related issues.
Custody of minor children is perhaps the most difficult issue in a divorce. In Illinois, Judges tend to award joint custody. This refers to the legal right to make major decisions regarding the children, and include: health care, education and religion. A sole custodian makes all these decisions on his or her own.
Residential custody, sometimes referred to as physical custody, generally is with one parent, while the other parent has visitation (some times referred to as, parenting time). Having residential custody means that the children primarily reside in your household and your household is used to determine their school district. At times, parties agree on shared residential custody, in which case the children are about as much with one parent as with the other.
In Illinois, most courts require the parties to mediate before litigating issues of custody and visitation. Choosing the right mediator is crucial (in Cook County, the Court provides in-house mediators, but in some cases, you may be able to choose your mediator). Mediation can result in a parenting agreement.
If the parties do not agree, a Guardian Ad Litem (attorney for the best interest of a child) can be appointed, and/or a custody evaluation by a court appointed psychologist can be ordered by the Judge. Many custody cases do settle on the “courthouse steps”, but those that do not, proceed to Trial. A custody Trial can last weeks.
Custody almost always determines child support. Please see the Child Support section for more information.
I have offices in DuPage County and downtown Chicago, with offices by appointment throughout the Chicagoland area. I am always available, providing you my mobile number and responding to calls and e-mails same day whenever possible. I do not accept cases I do not intend on handling attentively and well. My aim is to do the worrying for you so you can go on with your life. Please contact me to learn more. It would also be helpful if you complete and submit the Family Law Questionnaire.