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Homewood divorce attorney child issuesDivorcing with children is difficult for many different reasons. In addition to typical divorce issues like property division and spousal support, couples with children also have other issues to settle, such as who the children will reside with and when, who will pay child support, and who will be able to make certain kinds of decisions about raising the children. Once you have decided that you and your spouse are getting a divorce, you must then take on the sometimes daunting task of telling your children about the upcoming change in your family’s life. Here are three tips to help you break the news to your children:

1. Tell the Entire Family All at Once

One important thing to aim for is making sure you discuss your divorce with all of your children at the same time. It is often the case that parents tell the oldest child first and then shelter the younger ones in an attempt to protect them. While this may seem wise, it is unfair to the older child to have to keep that secret, and it is sending the wrong message to the younger children that they cannot handle the situation.

2. Keep it Short and Sweet

For the most part, you want to make sure you keep your message as simple and easy to understand as possible. For younger children, use phrases like, “Mommy and Daddy have decided that we do not want to stay married anymore,” and “We will not be living together anymore, but we both love you very much.” Older children will require a little bit more information, but you should still try to keep the messy details out of your explanation while making sure they understand that they are not to blame.

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DuPage County divorce child custody lawyerIf you are a parent who is considering ending your marriage through divorce, you probably have concerns about how you and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse will share responsibility for your children. Some couples are able to come to a custody decision together, while other divorcing couples require court intervention to arrive at a workable custody plan that protects parents’ rights and children’s best interests. If you are considering divorce, and you and your spouse share children, it is important for you to know the basics of child custody laws in Illinois.

Different Types of Custody

Illinois courts recognize two forms of custody: physical custody and legal custody. Together, the two concepts comprise what the law calls the “allocation of parental responsibilities.” Physical custody refers to which parent the child is with at any given time, and it is called “parenting time” in Illinois law. Legal custody is referred to as “significant decision-making responsibilities,” and it involves the right of a parent to be involved in major decisions about their child’s upbringing. Decision-making authority can be given to just one parent, or both parents can share responsibility for different areas identified by the law: education, healthcare, religion, and extracurricular activities. While most experts agree that children do better with both parents in their lives, a shared custody arrangement may not be appropriate for families with a history of abuse or neglect.

Factors Considered During Court-Ordered Child Custody Arrangements

If divorcing parents cannot come to an agreement regarding parenting time and parental responsibilities, then custody decisions will be made in court. A family court judge ultimately makes custody decisions for parents who cannot agree to a plan based on what he or she thinks is in the best interests of the child. When making these decisions, a family court judge will consider factors such as:

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