Have Our Woodridge Child Custody Lawyers on Your Side

Going through a divorce is difficult enough, but when child custody issues arise, the situation becomes much more stressful and complex. It’s always best if parents can work together to find child custody arrangements that suit both parties and the best interests of the child. Unfortunately, this does not always happen, and conflicts over child custody can lead to a contentious court battle that is damaging to all parties, especially children who are caught in the middle. If you are going through a divorce and your ex is playing havoc with custody arrangements, then you need child custody lawyers on your side. Illinois child custody laws are complicated, and decisions you make now can affect your children’s lives forever. With the well-being of your children at stake, it makes sense to get legal assistance to protect your rights and interests, as well as those of your children. The Woodridge child custody attorneys at Wolfe & Stec, Ltd., have years of valuable experience in helping families resolve custody issues and move on with their lives. Our skilled and compassionate attorneys know the courts and the system and will advocate for you and your children, creating a clear path to resolution. We know how to cut through arguments and confusion and petition the court for a custody agreement that makes sense for all involved. Your children are too important for you to go it alone. We offer a free initial consultation to discuss your child custody situation and determine the best way to help. Call us today at (630) 305-0222 to get started. 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

Child Custody Lawyers Help Reach 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 interests 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 Woodridge custody lawyer 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.


  • Can Children Chose Which Parent to Live With?
    The children’s wishes may be considered, but children cannot choose which parent to live with. Instead, Illinois family courts determine the child’s “best interests” by taking into account factors such as their current school, their health, how much each parent participates in their life, the distance between parents’ houses, as well as the child’s wishes, age and maturity. In general, once a child turns 14, their opinion will be taken more seriously by the court, but this is not the sole determination.
  • Who Has the Right to Child Custody in Illinois?
    Illinois law considers two aspects of child custody: legal custody (for making major decisions) and residential custody (where the child lives or spends a majority of time).Married parents have joint residential and legal custody of a child born of the marriage while they are married. With unmarried parents, the mother has sole legal and residential custody of the child until a finding of paternity is made and the father petitions the court for some form of custody.
  • What if the Safety of Your Child Is at Stake?
    In situations such as where one parent is abusive, has habitual substance abuse problems, is mentally ill, or abandons or fails to take proper care of their kids, that parent may be deemed unfit, and their custody may be terminated involuntarily. A court will rarely terminate another parent’s rights entirely -- it’s more likely that parent will be given extremely limited parental rights, such as supervised visitation.If a parent continually puts children in harm’s way, our child custody attorneys may be able to show grounds to alter parental responsibilities.

Child Custody Lawyers in Woodridge Explain 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 a 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.

Child Custody Attorneys Deal with Visitation Time for 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 Woodridge 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 Woodridge child custody lawyer in DuPage County 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 to 15 years depending on the age of the child when a marriage breaks down. Below 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 Woodridge Child Custody Attorneys for Help

Custody is a very complex and emotional issue, so it’s important to know all of the options available to you under Illinois law. Issues regarding parenting are vital to a child’s well-being, so it makes sense to seek the help of an experienced child custody lawyer. The skilled Illinois family-law attorneys at Wolfe & Stec, Ltd., have decades of experience working with distressed families, and we are committed to securing the best possible outcome for our clients. We know the laws and the system and will be there to help with all issues such as appointing representatives for the child and experts to perform evaluations, investigations and discovery, and determining and arguing for what is in the child’s best interests. At Wolfe & Stec, our Woodridge custody lawyers have decades of experience working with distressed families, and we are committed to securing the best possible outcome for our clients. We represent and advise clients in all types of child custody matters. We are worthy of your trust and will guide you through the often-complicated legal process, answering your questions and addressing your concerns. Delaying can only complicate the situation, so get help today. For a free initial consultation with an experienced and compassionate child custody attorney in Woodridge, call 630-305-0222 now.

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 Woodridge 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 Woodridge 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 Woodridge Child Custody Attorney Can Explain Visitation Law Changes

Old law -- In the past, “visitation time” was the term which referred to the schedule which sets out 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 between both, but now neither parent is labeled 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 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 Our DuPage County Child Custody Attorney for Help

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, that 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 County custody lawyers are on your side. We will listen to your concerns and goals and address your individual child custody needs in order to come up with the best solution possible. We will be there to guide you through the entire divorce and custody process and to take the burdens off you by handling all legal hurdles, filings, court appearances, and negotiations, so you can concentrate on your family and rebuilding your lives. Call us today at (630) 305-0222 for a free initial consultation with an experienced and compassionate child custody attorney in Woodridge.

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