Have Our Child Custody Lawyers on Your Side

If you’re going through a divorce or your ex is playing havoc with custody arrangements, then you need child custody lawyers on your side. An experienced and skilled attorney can quickly cut through arguments and confusion and petition the court for a custody agreement that makes sense.

If you’re frustrated by custody difficulties, a skilled DuPage child custody attorney can be your advocate and create a clear path to resolution.

You don’t have to go it alone. The DuPage County child custody attorneys at Wolfe & Stec possess years of valuable experience in helping families resolve custody issues and move on with their lives. For a free initial consultation about your situation, contact us at (630) 305-0222.

Learn More About the Following Topics: The Ideal Arrangement for All Parties, How “Parenting Time” Affects Children, Visitation Time for Other Family Members, Child Custody Law Changes, Major Areas of a Child’s Life, The Role of a Child Custody Lawyer, Visitation Law Changes, and Best Interest Factors

Reaching the Ideal Arrangement for All Parties

The ideal arrangement for child custody varies greatly, based on the individual family situation, but it should always first consider the best interests of the child. It is always best if parents can come to an agreement on their own as to how parenting time will be allocated based on considerations such as the distance between the two homes, the child’s school and extracurricular activity schedules, both parents’ work schedules, and help available from grandparents or other relatives. If parents cannot agree, the courts will make this determination according to the “best interest of the child” standard by considering the following factors:

  • The wishes of the parents
  • The wishes of the child, depending on the child’s age, maturity and education
  • The child’s interaction with the parents
  • The child’s adjustment to home, school and community
  • The mental and physical health of all parties
  • Any past and ongoing acts of violence by a parent against the other parent or a child
  • The willingness and ability of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing relationship between the other parent and the child.
An initial conversation with a DuPage custody lawyers can explain each of these issues in greater detail. Contact an attorney at Wolfe & Stec at (630) 305-0222 for a free consultation about your case.

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  • Why Do I Need a Child Custody Lawyer?
    Custody can be a tricky thing because emotions run high and very often both parents want what’s best for a child, even though they might have different ideas about what that is. You don’t need an attorney who throws fuel on the fire, but rather an attorney who is skilled at interpersonal communication and clear about his client’s goals and expectations. After all, no one wants children to be caught in the middle of feuding parents. Good child custody lawyers can help achieve a favorable outcome for you and your child(ren).
  • What Is It Like Working with a Child Custody Attorney?
    A skilled child custody attorney will help eliminate confusion, bickering and misunderstandings on behalf of his client, and he will work toward a custody resolution that is favorable. An attorney will streamline discussions (rather than getting sidetracked by old resentments, hurt feelings and anger that often exists between former spouses), and they will use Illinois custody laws adeptly to give their client the best possible opportunity for success. During initial conversations, a child custody lawyer will work with their client to identify top priorities and also determine which custody issues a client might be willing to compromise on. In any divorce case involving children, the well-being of the child should come first. Unfortunately, when divorcing parents are at war, the children often suffer most. An experienced DuPage County child custody attorney can help clients protect their children from unnecessary legal disagreements.

How “Parenting Time” Affects Children

Illinois law generally recognizes that while normally the best interests of the child are fostered by having a healthy and close relationship with both parents, needs of children change as they mature. The courts try to make sure the child has support and quality time with both parents, provided that the environment is safe.

In a divorce situation, children are best off with parenting time schedules that allow them to have their lives disrupted as little as possible, so they continue with their friendships, school schedules, and activities. Plans for parenting time should identify and let children know how and with which parent they will spend vacations, birthdays and holidays, what their transportation arrangements will be, when supervision is required, and other considerations that affect both parent and child.

Factors to be considered in visitation schedules may include the age, gender, maturity level, intelligence, ability to tell the difference between right and wrong, whether a child has any preference or hostility toward the parent and if so, why. It is recognized that when a child reaches their teens they need a schedule that fits with their social life and activities.

Visitation Time for Other Family Members

In most situations, family members can have visitation with the child during the period when the parent related to that member has parenting time. If the relationship with the other spouse is good, that spouse may agree to visitation during their parenting time period as well.

In complicated situations, your child custody lawyer can petition for visitation rights for a grandparent, great-grandparent, or sibling of a minor child.

In determining whether to grant visitation, the court may consider factors including whether the child resided in the home of the grandparent, great-grandparent, or sibling for at least six consecutive months, and whether the grandparent, great-grandparent, or sibling was the primary caregiver for the child for at least six consecutive months.

If these are issues you face, an experienced DuPage County child custody lawyer can help you seek a favorable outcome. Call us at (630) 305-0222 for a confidential conversation about your situation.

A DuPage Child Custody Attorney Can Argue for Parenting Time

If you have legitimate concerns about your children’s safety when they are with the other parent, there are ways your child custody lawyer can help restrict his or her parenting time.

Serious endangerment has been found where there is a history of driving while intoxicated, drug or alcohol use, physical or sexual abuse, parental alienation, or a realistic threat that the non-custodial parent may abscond with the child. If your child custody lawyer proves this at a hearing, then the court will enter an order as necessary to protect the child.

A petition to the courts requesting restrictions to parenting time is often done on an emergency basis if a child is endangered. If this order is only temporary, your DuPage County child custody lawyer can ask the judge to order the restricted parent to complete certain requirements, such as taking parenting or anger-management classes, therapy sessions, or drug or alcohol abuse treatment. Parenting time can be ordered to be supervised by a neutral family member, at a facility or with a professional supervisor.

Child Custody Law Changes

On January 1, 2016, Illinois became a trendsetter by changing child custody laws and terminology for the first time in 37 years. The main purpose of the changes is to recognize and support the rights of children and parents to have a healthy and safe relationship with each other and to ensure predictable decision-making for the care of children.

The words “custody” and “visitation” have fundamentally been banished. Instead, the law now speaks in terms of “parenting time” and “allocation of parental responsibilities” to consider the “best interests of the child.”

The compassionate and experienced Illinois family law attorneys at Wolfe & Stec understand the stresses of divorce and recognize that children’s well-being is paramount. Call us at (630) 305-0222 for a free initial consultation. We will work with you to examine your individual situation and help come up with solutions that are best for you.

Given that the law is ever-evolving and changes over time, a child custody lawyer is an essential asset because he or she can explain these changes to you so that you are always up-to-date on the laws that will affect your child’s custody going forward. It is too much for a busy parent to stay abreast of changes to the law, especially given that some custody arrangements last for 10-15 years depending on the age of the child when a marriage breaks down. Following is some important information about changes in custody law:

Old Law -- Previously, custody law in Illinois generally depended on whether parents were granted joint custody or sole custody. If parents had a joint custody agreement, both would typically share in making decisions about the major areas of the child’s life. With a sole custody arrangement, one parent would have the final decision-making authority over these matters.

Major areas of a child’s life are considered to be:

  • Education – choice of school, special programs, or tutors
  • Healthcare – choice of health providers and treatments
  • Religious upbringing
  • Choice of extracurricular activities.
New Child Custody Law -- Instead of granting “custody,” the courts now refer to the “allocation of parental responsibilities.” As before, one parent may still have most of the decision-making responsibilities, or these responsibilities may be split between the parents. The difference is that the court now will determine which parent should be responsible for each area of life. For example, a judge may decide that one parent will be responsible for decisions on education and extracurricular activities, and the other will be responsible for decisions on healthcare. Or, both parents may be responsible for the decisions in any or all areas.

Contact Our DuPage County Child Custody Attorneys for Help

Since issues regarding parenting are so complex and vital to a child’s well-being, it makes sense to seek the help of an experienced child custody lawyer. The skilled Illinois family-law attorneys at Wolfe & Stec, Ltd. know the laws and the system and can guide you through the process. We represent and advise clients in all types of child custody matters.

Don’t delay. For a free initial consultation with an experienced and compassionate child custody attorney in DuPage County, contact us online or call 630-305-0222 for a free initial consultation.

The Role of Your Child Custody Lawyer in Dupage County

To help the judge decide, the parents’ child custody lawyers, either together or individually, now file a parenting plan. This plan sets out how major decisions will be made regarding which school the child attends, what doctor they see, when they will spend time with each parent, and other vital areas.

If parents can’t agree, they will be required to mediate their differences in a process where a trained professional helps the parents decide what’s best for the child. Rather than getting anxious about this process, see it as an opportunity to explore solutions that enable your child to have the access to fun experiences and the protection that will give them a happy life.
It is often tempting to think of this process as an adversarial encounter with an ex, but a skilled DuPage child custody lawyer can help you reframe the encounter as a positive opportunity for you and your child.

Your child custody attorney can guide you through this process. Parents typically split the cost of mediation unless they have a documented inability to pay. The court may then appoint a mediator free of charge. If parents are still unable to agree after mediation, the court will hold a hearing and decide upon a parenting plan. Parenting plans also identify how children will spend birthdays and other holidays; transportation arrangements; when supervision is required; and other considerations.
Experienced DuPage custody attorneys can explain these elements to you in greater detail. For a free initial consultation about your case, call Wolfe & Stec at (630) 305-0222.

A DuPage Child Custody Attorney Can Explain Visitation Law Changes

Old law -- In the past, “visitation time” was the term which referred to the schedule which arranges when each parent will have the child with them. One parent was often granted “residential custody” or “primary physical possession” of the child and the other parent would then be the “non-custodial” parent and would be granted a reasonable “visitation schedule,” often alternating weekends, some time on one day during the week, and alternating holidays.

New Law – “Parenting Time” is the new term for visitation. The children may spend most of their time with one parent, or they may split their time with both, but now neither parent is labeled the primary or made to feel as the secondary parent. Also, the new law provides that a parent who has not been granted significant decision-making activities will be entitled to a reasonable parenting time schedule with the child. Decision-making rights and parenting time rights are no longer tied together.

The term “visitation” may still be used in situations such as when dealing with third-parties, such as with “grandparent visitation.

Best Interest Factors

The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act has the goal of not diminishing the parent who has less parenting time and of allowing that parent to still be equal in making decisions. The overall goal is to ensure that any children benefit from time spent with both responsible parents. No one is advocating for spending time with an irresponsible parent. In setting up the allocation of parenting time and allocation of parental responsibilities, the courts will consider factors such as:
  • The wishes of both parents
  • The wishes of the child, depending on age and maturity
  • The amount of time and resources each parent has put into taking care of the child in the preceding two years
  • Prior agreements between the parents
  • The relationship between each parent and the child
  • The interaction between the two parents and any other adult who may significantly affect the child’s interests
  • The distance between the parents’ residences, the cost and difficulty of transporting the child, each parent’s and the child’s daily schedules, and the ability of the parents to cooperate in the arrangement
  • The mental and physical health of the parents
  • Any adjustments a child must make in communities, schools, and homes
  • Any other factor that the court finds relevant.
Illinois child custody laws stipulate that children 14 and older may choose which parent to live with, but the judge may overrule this decision if it is determined that it is not in the child’s best interests. So determining a teenage child’s living arrangement is a balance between involving the child in the decision-making and including the wisdom and experience of the judge.

Contact an Experienced DuPage Child Custody Attorney Today

When it comes to the custody of a beloved child, there are so many factors involved and so many interested parties who have ideas about what’s best for the child. Feelings tend to run high. The best way to sort through all of the issues and ensure the best remedy for the child is to hire a skilled and experienced child custody lawyer. At Wolfe & Stec, our DuPage custody lawyers have decades of experience working with distressed families, and we are committed to securing the best possible outcome for our clients. We are worthy of your trust, and our child custody lawyers can guide you through the sometimes complicated legal process. Call us today at (630) 305-0222 for an initial consultation so we can listen to your concerns and goals. The child custody lawyers at Wolfe & Stec are on your side.

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