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Sullivan Taylor & Gumina, P.C.
1250 E. Diehl Road
Suite 400
Naperville, IL 60563
Phone: 630.665.7676
Fax: 630.665.8630
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Illinois Child Custody

Do you need help with your Illinois child custody case?

We can help you.  We have substantial experience in handling Illniois child custody cases and can help you with your DuPage, Cook, Will, Kane, or Kendall County custody matter.   Our firm has several certified DuPage County Guardians ad Litem (attorneys who help the court investigate custody cases) and we understand the Illinois Child custody law as well as the importance of protecting children in divorce. This page contains detailed information regarding Illinois child custody and visitation law. Contact us now to schedule a consultation 630.665.7676 or emailing.

What is the difference in Illinois divorce law between custody and visitation?

(As a note the modern preference in Illinois family law is to use the terms “parenting” and "parenting time" in place of “custody” and "visitation." I agree with the good intentions of those advocating use of these terms, our clients understand the old terms and therefore I use them here).

“Custody” in Illinois family law is the right to make decisions for a minor (under 18) child, regarding schooling, medical care, religion, et cetera. “Visitation” as set forth by the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act ("IMDMA") refers to the child’s right to spend time with his or her parents. A parent might not have custody, but will likely have visitation with a minor child.

What is sole custody in Illinois family law?

In Illinois divorce and parentage law, this means that one person has sole control over the parenting of the children. Typically visitation is provided for the other parent. In fact the visitation schedule is frequently the same as that seen in joint parenting (joint custody) cases. In extreme cases where the non custodial parent is a hazard to the child, the court may order supervised visitation or prevent visitation entirely. Courts typically award sole custody in extreme circumstances (abuse of children, alcoholism, drug abuse, etc.), but might award it in a situation where abuse is not an issue but the parents' relationship is so poor that joint parenting is impossible and not in the best interest of the child.

In Illinois family law, what is joint custody or joint parenting?

Both parents share decision making for the children (decisions regarding schooling, religious upbringing, medical care, etc.). This is the most common in divorce in Illinois, encouraged by the courts. However the children do live with one parent and the other has visitation...some people refer to this situation as one spouse having "residential custody" simply meaning that the kids live with that parent primarily rather than the other. The trend has been toward more liberal visitation time with the non-residential parent.

As far as Illinois divorce laws are concerned, what is shared parenting or shared custody?

In Illinois law, this is a form of joint custody. However, this is a situation where the parents spend equal time with the children (literally one week on, one week off, or split weeks). This is fairly unusual, and requires a serious commitment and cooperation between the divorced parents obviously. They also typically must live very close together (I've heard of a case where the kids remained in the family home and each parent took "shifts" of a week in length at the house)! My perception is that Illinois divorce courts are leery about implementing these plans at present. Illinois courts, just as divorce courts across the U.S. are concerned with the best interests of the children, and that shifting homes week after week, never having one home is a real concern for the court. Under the right circumstances shared parenting may be possible.

In Illinois divorce law, what about child support if you spend a lot of time with the kids?

Generally unless you have a true "shared parenting" situation Illinois divorce courts (just as courts all over Illinois) still want the non custodial parent (the one not living with the kids) to pay child support.

If I move out of the house and leave the kids, what happens to my chances with custody? What does Illinois family law say about this? My spouse is impossible to live with and is mean to me.

In Illinois, divorce lawyers generally advise against leaving the marital home (and especially children) unless there is no alternative. The one thing negatively affected by leaving the home (and leaving the kids there) is the relationship with children. If a parent moves away from the children, this is a strong factor that may be considered by a DuPage, Cook, or Will County divorce court against that parent securing custody of the children (where sole custody might otherwise be possible). As an example, a mother leaving the children behind at the marital home with the father for a long period of time may be jeopardizing her chances to secure either sole custody or to be the “residential parent” in a joint parenting situation (the parent the kids live with more than half of the time).

Call to schedule a consultation at 630.665.7676 or email us now.