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1776 S. Naperville Road, Building B, Suite 202,
Wheaton, IL 60189
The Stogsdill Law Firm, P.C.

Wheaton Parenting Time LawyerWith the help of a mediator or collaborative divorce team, most parents can come to an agreement about a parenting plan during their Illinois divorce. But for some families, the presence of domestic violence, substance abuse, or the death of a parent can make negotiating and planning difficult or impossible. 

When parents cannot make decisions in a child’s best interests, a judge will do so. While a judge has to use discretion and good judgement, a “child’s best interests” is not a completely subjective term. Rather, the Illinois legislature gives up at least 15 factors that a judge could consider when making decisions about a child’s well-being. Read on to learn what these are. 

What Factors Are Considered in a Child’s Well-Being in an Illinois Custody Dispute? 

The factors a judge will consider must depend on the circumstances of each case. The child’s age, the parent’s home environment, and the relationship between a child and a non-parent  pursuing custody can affect which factors will be taken into account. The most common things a judge will consider include, but are not limited to: 

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wheaton divorce lawyerAs life moves on after divorce and you and your minor children adjust to living in a one-parent home, certain changes may necessitate modifying parts of your original divorce decree. One common feature of life after divorce is remarriage, whether it be yours or that of your former spouse. In addition to the other changes that come with remarriage, you may also be wondering whether it will change your parenting plan or other parts of your divorce decree, like child support or spousal support. If you or your ex are getting remarried in Illinois, read on. 

Can I Change Our Custody Arrangements if I Get Remarried in Illinois? 

Unless a remarriage of either parent would impact the best interests of the child, the parenting plan is not likely to need a modification following the wedding. However, certain circumstances may warrant petitioning for a change in a parenting plan, including: 

  • A child who is old enough to express her preferences who wants to spend more time in one household than the parenting plan currently allows for 

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wheaton divorce lawyerGetting sole custody of a child is difficult in Illinois and many fathers who have tried would argue that it is even more difficult if you are not a child’s mother. Judges are reluctant to keep a child away from a parent without a compelling reason, and although many parents dislike their ex’s parenting style, few behaviors are serious enough to warrant giving full parental responsibilities and parenting time to just one parent. 

In genuine cases of abuse or neglect, Illinois courts can and do restrict the abusive parent’s access to a child, either by heavily limiting contact or curtailing it entirely. Yet the difficulty of bringing such a case before a judge should not dissuade fathers who are concerned their children are suffering. If you find yourself wondering whether you may be able to get full custody of your children in Illinois, read this blog and then contact a custody modification attorney who can help. 

When is a Parent Unfit in Illinois? 

Because Illinois law recognizes that children do best when both parents play a substantial role in their lives, parents are rarely deemed unfit even when their parenting style leaves much to be desired. However, there are some parental behaviors that do merit either significant restriction or complete termination of parental rights in Illinois. This include: 

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wheaton child relocation lawyerMany reasons compel parents to move out of state with their children after divorce. A new job, living closer to family, and a desire to move away from the midwest’s infamous winters all give families good reasons to relocate. But for divorced parents, there are certain procedures that must be followed before they can move children out of state. Parents who share parenting time and parental responsibilities must get permission from each other and/or the court before moving the children outside certain parameters. 

When Does Moving With Children Require Permission? 

Parents with the majority of parenting time who want to move with their children may do so without getting permission from the other parent or the court if their move is less than a certain distance from where they currently live. For parents living in Will, McHenry, Lake, Kane, DuPage, or Cook counties, they may move 25 miles or less from their current residence without obtaining permission. For parents in any other county, they may move 50 miles or less from their previous home, as long as the new residence is in Illinois. If the new residence is not in Illinois, such as over the state line into Indiana, the distance is shortened to 25 miles from the current residence. 

Notifying an Ex-Spouse

Often the easiest way to move out of state is for the parent who is moving to just get permission from the other parent. There are two ways to do this. First, the parent with the majority of parenting time who wishes to move the children out of state can send a notice to the other parent. If the other parent does not object within 21 days, the move is allowed. The second way is by the parents simply talking to each other. If both parents consent to the move, then it is important to put the agreement in writing in case the consenting parent changes their mind. 

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wheaton child custody lawyerUnfortunately, some divorces are so fractious and bitter that parents cannot decide upon a parenting plan that works for everyone. Sometimes, both parents are struggling with personal issues that get in the way of their parenting capabilities. Perhaps one parent will make accusations about another parent’s behavior, and a judge is unsure whether the accusing parent is telling the truth. 

These are just a few examples of situations in which a court may decide to appoint a custody evaluator. Formally, these situations are known under Illinois law as “604b Evaluations” – when the court asks an outside representative to investigate and make a report or recommendation regarding how parental responsibilities should be allocated. 

What is a Custody Evaluator? 

A custody evaluator is almost always a mental health professional, such as a psychologist or a psychiatrist. They complete an extensive investigation into a child’s environment to create a report about what they believe to be in the best interests of the child. Custody evaluators can be very expensive, and parents are often required to pay for the services of the custody evaluator themselves. 

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