Often, the first thing that comes to a parent’s mind when faced with the prospect of an Illinois divorce is what the custody arrangements will look like. Unfortunately, child custody tends to be one of the most contentious aspects of divorce, making it difficult to achieve a parenting plan that everyone can feel good about. In this blog, we want to answer some common questions about how the custody process works in Illinois. Keep in mind that this is not legal advice and that the best place to get your questions answered is in a consultation with an Illinois divorce attorney.
Does a Mother Automatically Get Custody in Illinois?
The first thing to understand about child custody in Illinois is that it is divided into two areas: Parental responsibilities, which is the authority to make important decisions on behalf of a child, and parenting time, which is the right to spend time with a child. Neither parent has an automatic right to all parental responsibilities and parenting time; instead, every case begins with the presumption that a child benefits most when both parents are involved in her life. Based on the parents’ preferences, schedules, and the best interests of the child, adjustments are made so a parenting plan can be created.
Do Illinois Courts Decide Custody Cases?
The vast majority of Illinois divorces are settled outside of court. If a couple cannot create a satisfactory negotiation on all issues in divorce (not just child custody, but property division, alimony, and child support as well), a judge may order the couple to seek mediation. If mediation fails, a court can help decide any issues that were not resolved by a couple.
Can I Get Sole Custody of My Child?
Unless there is a compelling reason to do so, courts will generally not give one parent full parental responsibilities and parenting time. Even if a parent struggles with substance abuse or has engaged in domestic abuse towards their partner, a court will likely want to implement supervised visitation rather than take a child away from their parent altogether.
Moving out of state is not necessarily an option for removing a child from their other parent, either. Illinois law sets strict limitations on how far parents can move without permission from the other parent or the court. While it is not impossible to get full custody, evidence is needed to prove a parent poses a sufficient danger to a child to give sole custody to just one parent.
Contact a Highly Skilled Team of Illinois Custody Lawyers
At NextLevel Law, P.C. by Daniel R. Hernandez, Esq., our priority in every divorce case is making sure that your interests are protected and that your divorce decree serves your needs as closely as possible. Our Chicago, IL child custody attorneys are committed to providing great legal representation that allows you to preserve the closeness of your relationship with your child. Call us today to schedule a free initial consultation at 312-442-2225.