Westchester Child Custody Lawyer

Perhaps the most emotional part of getting a divorce–and one of the reasons that many parents who are unhappy decide to stay married regardless–is the idea of losing custody of one’s child. In fact, just the idea of disturbing a child’s life can be trying for parents; the thought of not living with one’s child or only being able to see a child occasionally can be heartbreaking.

If you are seeking a divorce and have questions about Westchester child custody, our lawyers can provide you with answers and offer you representation as you navigate the legal process. Call the law offices of M. Scott Gordon today to get started.

Types of Parental Responsibilities in Illinois

Illinois no longer uses the term “custody” to talk about where a child will live or which parent will make decisions about the child’s life; instead, the term parental responsibilities is used. Per Illinois law, there are two primary types of parental responsibilities:

  1. Parenting time. Parenting time refers to what used to be known as “physical custody.” In other words, how parenting time is allocated will have a direct effect on with which parent the child lives, what the rights of the other parent are, and how much time each parent is allocated to spend with a child. Parenting time can be shared or may be allocated to just one parent.
  2. Decision-making power. Decision-making power, on the other hand, refers to which parent has the right to make decisions about a child’s life and upbringing, such as what religion the child will be raised or where the child will go to school. Typically, but not always, decision-making power is shared between parents.

How Are Parental Responsibilities Determined?

When parents are separating, they have the option–and are highly encouraged–to work together to create a parenting plan. The parenting plan should outline where the child will primarily live, how much time each parent will have with the child, how the child will be transported between parents’ homes, who will make important decisions related to the child’s life, how disagreements between parents will be resolved, and more. Parents are encouraged to work with a neutral, third-party mediator to come to an agreement that works for both.

In the event that parents cannot reach an agreement, then the case will go to court. If a judge makes a determination about parental responsibility, the judge will do so based on statutory requirements. Illinois law states that the following should be considered when making a determination about child custody:

  • The wishes of the child;
  • The child’s adjustment to school, home, and community;
  • The health, mental and physical, or all parties;
  • The ability of both parents to cooperate to make decisions;
  • The wishes of the parents;
  • The child’s needs;
  • The distance between each parent’s home;
  • The ability and willingness of each parent to foster a loving relationship between the child and the other parent; and
  • More, including any factors the court finds relevant.

Our Westchester Child Custody Lawyers Can Help

The idea of losing custody of your child can be very upsetting. If you are divorcing, you need representation from a skilled Westchester child custody lawyer. Call the law office of Gordon & Perlut, LLC today for the help you need.

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