Child Custody Lawyer Hoffman Estates

Child Custody Lawyer Hoffman Estates

Child Custody Lawyer Hoffman Estates

Even when parents can no longer live together, they still want to do what is right for their children. Ideally, parents are able to come together and agree on a parenting plan that will work for both them and their children. But in many cases, that proves to be impossible, and a judge may need to step in to determine what will be in the child’s best interests.

The Hoffman Estates child custody lawyers at the SAM LAW OFFICE LLC can advise you of your rights and responsibilities in this area. We represent parents throughout Cook and Kane Counties who are striving to do right by their kids. We offer skilled, compassionate legal advice that can protect your parental rights during this difficult period.

How Do Illinois Courts Allocate Parental Responsibility and Parenting Time?

Illinois law uses the term “parental responsibilities” to describe issues affecting child custody. When parents are involved in a divorce proceeding or do not live together, it is necessary for a court to determine an allocation of parental responsibilities. There are three basic options:

  • Joint Allocation: This is where both parents cooperate in making key decisions regarding the child’s life. This includes where the child will attend school, who will be their doctor, and what religious instruction (if any) they will receive. Joint allocation in this context does not necessarily mean that the child will actually live with each parent for an equal amount of time.
  • Sole Allocation: This is where only one parent exercises the decision-making authority described above. Again, this does not mean that the other parent is deprived of spending time with the child.
  • Shared Allocation: It is also possible to “split the difference” and divide different areas of parental responsibilities between the parents. For example, one parent may decide on the child’s schooling while another will oversee their health care or extracurricular activities.

Physical custody–or “parenting time,” as it is known in Illinois–determines who the child actually lives with. This includes exercising day-to-day caretaking functions for the child and making any non-significant decisions for them. An allocation of parenting time also includes providing visitation rights for the non-custodial parent.

You Need to Prepare a Parenting Plan

When one parent files a petition for child custody, either as part of a divorce proceeding or a standalone action, both sides are required to file a proposed “parenting plan” with the court within 120 days. If the parents are able to agree on issues regarding the allocation of responsibilities and parenting time, they can file a joint parenting plan. Otherwise, each party can file a separate proposal with the court.

In approving a parenting plan, the court’s primary interest is protecting the best interest of the child. Illinois law requires a court to consider a number of factors, including the needs and wishes of the child, the mental and physical health of all the parties involved, the child’s current level of adjustment to their home and school, and the ability of both parents to cooperate with one another.

The reality is that child custody is not a “one size fits all” situation. Every case is unique and requires individual attention to ensure the best possible outcome for both parents and child. So if you are an Illinois parent who needs legal advice or representation from a qualified Hoffman Estates child custody lawyer, contact SAM LAW OFFICE LLC to schedule a free consultation.

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