Barrington Child Custody Lawyer
Advocating for Families for Over 15 Years
Child custody is often one of the most challenging aspects of a divorce case. We know you want what’s best for your children, and because the custody process can become complicated and emotional, we want to be there to provide you with the support you need.
Our team at Mandas Law understands that this is an emotional time for you and your family. That is why we can provide compassionate, personalized legal counsel to help you find a custody agreement that is optimal for you and your children. Our firm believes in advocating for families in our area and we do so by dedicating our time to meticulously evaluating each client’s case to provide legal guidance backed by nearly two decades of experience. Whether you’re in need of a new custody agreement after a divorce, are looking to obtain visitation rights, or are contesting an existing custody arrangement, we want to help.
Call Mandas Law at (847) 906-2555 to learn more from our Barrington child custody attorneys.
How Does Child Custody Work?
There are several factors that play a role in child custody cases. First, its important to understand the different types of custody: physical and legal.
A parent with physical custody of their child lives with them and provides day-to-day care and attention. The parent with physical custody is the custodial parent.
Legal custody refers to a parent's responsibility to make medical, educational, and religious decisions on behalf of the child. Both parents probably made these decisions during the marriage, and more often than not, parents may share legal custody after they divorce or separate.
Understanding Joint vs. Sole Custody
If both parents share physical custody, they have joint custody of the child. This allows both parents to be with their children more regularly, which is why it is the favored option of Illinois courts. The purpose of a joint custody agreement is to help the child maintain a healthy relationship with both parents. In the event that the court determines a child is better off with one parent as the primary caretaker, they may award that parent sole custody of the child. If a parent has sole custody, they will have the right to make all legal decisions on behalf of their child without input from the other parent.
The goal of any custody agreement is to create a safe and loving home environment. If a custody agreement goes to court, the judge bases their decision on what they believe to be the best option for the child by looking at the evidence and circumstances presented in the case. Parents are encouraged to reach an agreement on their own, but custody is often a highly emotional topic that may require the oversight of an impartial judge. In any case, if you find yourself in the midst of a custody case, we encourage you to reach out to our experienced team. We have the experience necessary to help you through this process and our attorneys can provide you with the legal options you need to preserve your parental rights.
How to Win Sole Custody in Illinois
The first step in winning sole custody is by proving that the other parent is "unfit". Being unfit can be defined as someone who fails to provide for their child and puts their well-being at risk. This can be difficult to prove however, since most Illinois judges favor the allocation of responsibility to both parents. You will need to gather certain amounts of evidence that proves they are unfit. These can include medical bills, emails, police reports, counselor testimony, and employment records. If you are able to prove that the living conditions that the parent provides is unsafe, you are one step closer to sole custody.
The second step to achieving sole custody is to support your case further in front of a judge. This can be done by:
- Elaborating on how well you address the best interests of the child. Talk about your daily schedule, extracurricular activities, and personal habits with the child.
- Demonstrating your commitment to the child's mental and physical well-being. If the child is handicapped, show the court how you interact with him or her.
- Being prepared to discuss the specifics of the child. While both parents can equally gush their emotional feelings about the child, the best interests lie in the specifics of their daily routine.
Custody and Visitation in Illinois
Each state has their own rules for custody and visitation, and Illinois is no different. In fact, since 2016, custody and visitation have been legally referred to as parenting time and responsibility. This modification aims to move away from a win/lose approach to child custody in favor of a more collaborative agreement that reflects the child's best interests.
Depending on what works best for your family, or what the court determines is in the best interest of your child, you and your coparent might share parenting time and responsibility equally, or the scales may be tipped towards one parent. In cases where the parenting time is unequal, the parent without legal or physical custody will most likely be granted “visitation” rights. Through visitation, a parent is granted court-ordered time with their child. Visitation might be every weekend, or once every other month depending on the situation. A parenting plan lays out a schedule and rules for visitation to ensure that the agreement is fair to both parents, and most importantly, the child.
So, what does this mean for you? Parenting time is decided through a parenting plan. In a best-case scenario, the parents create a plan that is fair to them and their child without the court's assistance. However, when issues arise, and the case goes before a judge and he or she will look at several important factors, like the living situation of each parent and their relationship with their child. At the judge’s determination, the parents will be provided with a court-ordered parenting plan.
Can Visitation Rights be Restricted?
While the goal of a parenting plan is to provide the best possible environment for the child, sometimes the agreement needs to be altered. The court might grant an alteration if a parent cannot provide a safe home environment for their child, or if they are actively endangering the child's health and well-being. In such a situation, a parent might lose their visitation rights, or they may lose custody altogether.
If the court finds evidence that a parent's visitation rights need to be revoked, they will restrict visitation privileges to reflect the case's unique circumstances. For example, the court might prohibit night visits or require that all visitation be supervised.
The final decision to revoke or restrict visitation rights is up to the judge, not the custodial parent. The court follows the assumption that the best custody agreement involves a relationship with both parents. When that is no longer the case, the court takes the issue very seriously and modifies the parenting plan to better protect the child. However, because the courts can make such decisive orders in these situations, it is always best to discuss your case with a knowledgeable attorney.
Our firm can listen to the details of your case and help create a plan to pursue the best possible solution for you and your children, whether that means fighting for sole custody, renegotiating joint custody, or obtaining visitation rights.
Helping You Navigate Your Child Custody Case
Whether your custody case is handled by a judge or settled out of court, litigation or mediation, it is important that you consult a legal advocate to help you draft an agreement with your child's best interests in mind.
Mandas Law has over 15 years of experience with child custody cases. We understand the real-life impact of child custody situations, which is why we are committed to working with each client to evaluate the details of each case, building a sound legal strategy, and facilitating a parenting plan based on each child's best interest.
Choose a Barrington child custody lawyer that will advocate for you. Contact Mandas Law today.
Representing Clients for over 15 Years
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