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Elmhurst, IL Child Custody Issues AttorneyWhen divorcing spouses share children, the divorce process is much more complex – legally, financially, and personally. If you are a parent getting a divorce in Illinois, it is essential to know what to expect. By educating yourself on child custody concerns, you can prepare for these concerns in advance. The better prepared you are, the better position you will be in to make the decisions that are right for you and your family.

For help, contact a skilled divorce lawyer who understands the unique challenges parents face during divorce and how to meet these challenges head-on. Getting divorced as a parent can seem overwhelming and intimidating, but you do not have to face this situation alone. An experienced attorney can protect your rights, explore your options with you, and help you take the legal steps necessary to accomplish your child custody goals. 

Determining Child Custody 

Illinois no longer uses the term “child custody” to refer to where a child lives and how parents divide parenting authority after a divorce. In 2016, the laws regulating child custody in Illinois changed substantially. Child custody is now broken down into two main components: parental responsibilities and parenting time. However, the terms child custody and visitation are still used informally to refer to parenting obligations and will be used throughout this blog for brevity.

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IL divorce lawyerEven though a divorce technically just involves you and your spouse, the two of you are not the only ones who will be affected by the divorce. Getting a divorce affects the whole family, especially if you have children. Having children also means there is likely a greater chance that there will be disagreement during your divorce proceedings. When it comes to child-related issues, it is not uncommon for parents to be unable to see eye-to-eye. In cases in which there is extensive disagreement, a judge may appoint a guardian ad litem (GAL) to your case to help your children’s voices be heard.

What Is a GAL?

In Illinois, the default procedure is to encourage parents to come to an agreement on child-related issues. The court will try to get the parents to use various methods of negotiation, including mediation, to settle disagreements. If the judge determines that the parents are unable to work together or put their children’s needs ahead of their own, they may appoint a GAL to help keep the children’s best interests in mind. A GAL is a highly-trained professional, often an attorney, who is appointed to basically be the attorney for the children and protect their best interests.

How Will a GAL Impact My Case?

To accomplish their job, a GAL will employ a variety of methods for gathering information so they can make their recommendations. Many times, a GAL will conduct interviews with each of the children, the parents, and other people that are present in the family’s lives, such as teachers or psychologists. The GAL will also likely conduct a home visit during which they will observe the interactions between the family members.

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