Illinois Child Custody & Visitation Laws
We understand how important child custody is to you. Your children are your treasures & mean everything to you. Child Custody is about more than with which parent the children will live with. It also involves determining how the major decisions regarding the education, health care & religious affiliations of your children will be made.
Child Custody decisions are not easily modified and have ramifications for years. As a result, it is important to fully understand every aspect of the custody laws and custody agreement.
Custody under Illinois law is now referred to as parenting time & parental responsibilities.
How Custody is Determined in Illinois
In Illinois, Child Custody issues are governed by the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (the “Illinois Divorce Act”) which directs the Court in custody matters to act in accordance with the “Best Interests Test”. The Judge will seek to determine what custody arrangement is best for the children.
The process of determining custody is designed to force the parents to negotiate, with each step becoming more time-consuming & expensive.
When facing a divorce, past resentments come to the surface, and far too often the children are caught in the middle. It is not uncommon for one parent to attempt to use the children to force a property settlement. Custody issues can also be complicated by mental health & addiction issues. Nothing can be more harmful to a child than for post-divorce conflicts over the children’s care and upbringing to be ongoing for years.
Child Custody Removal
Removal refers to the situation when a parent wants to change the children's residence to another state. Under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (the “Illinois Divorce Act”), a parent, even those having sole custody or primary parenting time, do not have the unfettered right to move their children out of the State of Illinois without permission of the court.
Illinois Removal Statutes
The court must do what is in the best interest of the children, considering numerous factors as set out by the Statute. The burden of proof is on the parent seeking to relocate the children to prove that such removal is in the best interest of the children. If the parents do not agree, the removal process can be a lengthy one very similar to establishing custody or allocation of parental responsibilities, with the court having the ability to order the parents to attend mediation, to appoint a child attorney, and to order a custody evaluation, all prior to the removal hearing.
The Removal Process & What "Best Interest Factors" Courts Look To
Removal decisions are fact-specific, with the court’s determination seldom certain. Illinois law established the criteria which includes to determine if a removal meets the best interest test:
- Whether the proposed removal is likely to enhance the lives of the custodial parent and children
- Whether the motives of the custodial parent seeking removal are good
- What reasons the non-custodial parent is resisting removal
- The impact of the removal on the existing visitation schedule
- Whether a reasonable visitation schedule can be maintained if the removal is approved
Winning or losing a removal petition can be life-altering, not only for the custodial parent and children, but also for the non-custodial parent.
For all child custody matters, contact Rutter Family Law LLC today for an appointment & next best steps at (630) 940-9107.
Guardian Ad Litem Cases
When an Illinois court appoints a GAL in a case involving a question of custody, child welfare, visitation, or child support, he or she will be an attorney or some other court appointed advocate whose role in the case is to discern and represent the child’s best interests.
A GAL Fulfills His or Her Responsibilities By:
- CONDUCTING AN INVESTIGATION AND Observing the child in various situations and spending time with him or her so that they can understand who the child is and what he or she wants and needs.
- INTERVIEWING THE CHILD’S PARENSTS AND RELATIVES AND THIRD PARITES SUCH AS THERAPISTS AND to develop perspective about whether and how the child’s needs are being met.
- Sharing his or her findings and recommendations with the court.
Each party in a case in which a GAL has been appointed can benefit from retaining an experienced family law attorney who is familiar with the role and duties they must play. Rutter Family Law LLC knows exactly how to successfully work with a GAL to achieve the goals of each family law client.
David A. Rutter is also an experience GAL and is available to act as a GAL in a family case and he will work hard to make sure that he determines the best interests of your child and advocate for them to protect your child.
The goal of Rutter Family Law LLC. is to provide the strongest representation possible for clients throughout Kane County, IL and the Chicagoland area. Schedule your appointment today with us.
The sooner you reach out to us, the sooner we can discuss your options and how best to help you achieve the results that you need in your situation. To schedule a free consultation, call us at 630.940.9107 or send us an email.