When you and your spouse are intending to divorce, parental responsibility and child support are some of the most important questions that need to be decided. However, they are also issues where the most hostility can come up. Good parents always want the best for their children, and sometimes that can cloud their judgment when trying to determine parental responsibility.
Child custody, now called allocation of parental responsibility in Illinois, is a determination that must be made “in the best interests of the child,” and state law explicitly says that the best interests of the child must be the primary factor in any decision that the family court makes. While there is no specific legal definition for “the best interests of the child,” there are several different issues that a court will entertain in trying to determine the best course of action, including the child’s own wishes (if he or she is old enough to form an opinion), the child’s relationship with both parents, the financial condition of both parents, and any past history of domestic violence or abuse.
An experienced Mokena child custody lawyer understands how to help you show that having a relationship with you is in your child’s best interests. Generally, Illinois wants children to have relationships with both of their parents, unless a parent has been declared unfit – but at the same time, even a fit parent may be granted less parenting time than desired if he or she does not make a sufficient case for custody.
Sometimes, spouses will be able to negotiate parental responsibilities between themselves, and simply have the agreement entered into the court record. However, when spouses cannot agree, the court will make that decision for them, ruling on four specific areas of decision-making — education, health, religion, and extracurricular activities. This used to be called having legal custody – now it is simply referred to as parental responsibility, given that there are no “winners” or “losers” in custody cases.
A Mokena child custody lawyer can be invaluable in this process, especially if you and your spouse have domestic violence issues or otherwise cannot negotiate. A good attorney can act as a go-between so that the best interests of your children remain in the foreground instead of you and your spouse getting bogged down in contentious details. Keeping perspective is critical during a divorce, both for your sake and for your children’s.
Negotiating parenting time and responsibility can be a cumbersome process, but having a Mokena child custody lawyer on your side can help smooth things out. The firm of Demetrios N. Dalmares & Associates, Ltd. has years of experience with these types of cases, and we are ready and willing to try and assist you with yours. Contact our office today for a free consultation.