Wheaton, IL Child Custody Lawyers
Detailed Family Law Attorneys in DuPage and Kendall Counties
At the Davi Law Group, we focus on the real and present needs of the children in family law matters. We use proven negotiation techniques which promote amicable outcomes and help maintain communications between parents. When negotiations break down, we press hard to secure the best situation for any child because their well-being is one of our greatest concerns. Although they cannot often articulate their most basic needs, our attorneys are dedicated to fighting for solutions that speak to their best interests now and in the future.
How Is Child Custody Determined in Illinois?
Following a change to Illinois law in 2016, the term "child custody" has been replaced with "allocation of parental responsibilities." The law identifies four different areas of decision-making responsibility which may be shared by parents or allocated solely to one parent:
- Education, including the choice of where children will go to school and whether they will receive tutoring.
- Healthcare, including decisions related to medical, dental, and mental health treatments.
- Religion, including where children will go to church and/or receive religious training and education.
- Extracurricular activities, including any sports, clubs, lessons, or other non-educational pursuits.
The allocation of parental responsibilities may occur in cases involving divorce, separation, dependency, guardianship, paternity (parentage), termination of parental rights, and protection from domestic violence.
Section 601.2 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act explains when a parent or other party may begin the process of allocating parental responsibilities. According to the Act, court proceedings may be commenced when:
- Either parent files a petition for the dissolution of their marriage, a petition for legal separation, or a declaration of invalidity of marriage (annulment);
- Either parent files a petition for the allocation of parental responsibilities for the child. This may be done if the parents are unmarried or do not live together. The petition must be filed in the county where the child resides;
- Someone other than a parent files a petition for the allocation of parental responsibilities for the child, in the county where the child is a permanent resident or can be found. This type of petition may only be filed if the child is not in the physical custody of one of his or her parents;
- A step-parent files a petition for the allocation of parental responsibilities. In these cases, all of the following requirements must be met:
- The parent who previously had the majority of the parenting time with the child is now deceased or has become disabled and unable to perform their parental duties;
- The step-parent provided for the child's welfare and ongoing care before the proceedings for the allocation of parental responsibilities began;
- The child wishes to live with the step-parent; and
- It is alleged that living with the step-parent is in the best interests of the child, based on the factors described in Section 602.5 of the Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act; or
- The surviving parent was absent from the marital home for more than one month, and the deceased spouse did not know the other parent's whereabouts;
- The surviving parent was in the custody State or Federal officials; or
- The surviving parent received supervision for or was convicted of a violation related to domestic abuse or domestic violence toward the other parent or the child, or for violation of an order of protection.
Key Factors for Making Custody Decisions
Section 602.5 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act is used to determine arrangements for the allocation of parental responsibilities that are in the best interests of the child. The court will review factors such as:
- The wishes of the child's parent or parents;
- The wishes of the child, while taking into account the child's level of maturity and ability to express their preferences;
- The interaction and interrelationship of the child with his parent or parents, his siblings, and any other person who may significantly affect the child's best interest;
- The child's adjustment to his home, school, and community;
- The mental and physical health of all individuals involved;
- The physical violence or threat of physical violence by either parent, whether directed against the child or directed against another person;
- The occurrence of ongoing or repeated abuse, whether directed against the child or directed against another person;
- The willingness and ability of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing relationship between the other parent and the child;
- Whether one of the parents is a sex offender; and
- Whether any restriction on a parent's decision-making responsibility would be appropriate.
Call 630-580-6373 Today
If you need assistance with the allocation of parental responsibilities, parenting time, or removal matters, please contact us to schedule an initial honest assessment of your family-related matter. We will explain our approach at no charge, which has an approximate value of $325.00. Should you retain us as your counsel, financing options are available. Please make an appointment at one of our offices in Chicago, Illinois, Wheaton, Illinois, Joliet, Illinois, or Warrenville, Illinois today.