Evanston Attorneys for Child Custody Issues
Helping Those With Child Custody and Support Related Issues in Chicago and the Suburbs
As if getting divorced were not difficult enough, attempting to reach a compromise regarding the allocation of parental responsibiliites (child custody), paernting time (visitation), child support and other issues which affect how your child will be raised can add an entire new layer of complexity. Parenting issues are tough and emotional, yet a highly experienced Illinois divorce attorney from the Weiss-Kunz & Oliver, LLC can help smooth the way, making your child-related issues less difficult to navigate.
How Parental Responsibilities Are Determined in Illinois
When parents are simply unable to reach a decision regarding how to divide parental responsibilities for their child, the court will make that determination, based on the best interests of the child. Illinois courts will consider the parents’ wishes, the interactions of the child with each parent, how the child has adjusted to home, school and community, the mental and physical health of each parent, any history of domestic violence, the willingness of each parent to encourage a close, continuing relationship with the other parent, and—depending on the age, maturity and education of the child—the child’s wishes.
Determining Child Support Following Updates to Illinois Law in July 2017
On July 1, 2017, an update to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act went into effect that redefined how child support is calculated in Illinois. Prior to this update, the amount of child support was calculated using a percentage of the non-custodial parent's income based on the number of children being supported. In order to better provide for children and consider the needs and resources of both parents, the updated law has switched to an income sharing model that bases child support on both parents' incomes.
To calculate the amount of child support, courts will determine parents' combined net income and then use tables provided by the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services to determine the amount that would typically be spent to care for children at that combined income range. Each parent will be responsible for a portion of this amount based on their percentage share of the combined income. Parents' respective amount of parenting time and parental responsibilities will also be considered, and parents may also be required to contribute to children's healthcare and childcare costs.
Grandparent’s Rights, Step-Parent Rights, and Other Non-Parents’ Rights
Although the rights of grandparents continue to evolve in the state of Illinois, the grandparents may petition for visitation rights for grandchildren who are at least a year old. The grandparents will be required to show they have been deprived of visitation by one or both parents and that one of the following factors exists:
- Parental incompetence;
- One parent missing or dead for a period of at least three months;
- Parental incarceration;
- Parents are separated, divorced, or in the midst of a divorce; and
- Parents are living apart and the child was born out of wedlock.
Depending on the situation, step-parents and other non-parents may also have limited rights to seek visitation with a child. These parameters are narrow and hard to overcome, but each case is different and the law recognizes those differences if you meet certain factors.
Most parents hope their children will seek higher education. The state of Illinois governs this issue under Section 513 of the Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act which provides that parties may be required to contribute to the support of a child after the child has attained majority. This obligation can be imposed for the support of a disabled child or for educational expenses of the child. The law firm of Weiss-Kunz & Oliver, LLC has specific experience litigating these post-decree litigation matters. Should an agreement not be reached, our attorneys will aggressively represent the best interests of your child’s future, including college and medical expense coverage.
Dealing with Parental Relocation
In the state of Illinois, a child may not be permanently moved beyond a certain distance from his or current home without the court's approval. The parent who desires the relocation must prove to the court the move is in the best interests of the child unless the other parent agrees. The move must enhance the quality of life for both the moving parent and the child for the court to consider the move.
The law provides a number of factors that courts must take into consideration in relocation cases, including:
- The likelihood that the move will enhance the general quality of life for both the custodial parent and the children;
- The motives of the moving parent in seeking to move to determine whether the removal is merely a ruse intended to defeat or frustrate the other parent;
- The motives of the non-moving parent in contesting the removal;
- That it is in the best interest of the child to have a healthy and close relationship with both parents, and therefore the parenting time rights of the non-moving parent should be carefully considered; and
- Whether a realistic and reasonable visitation schedule can be reached if the move is allowed.
604(b) and 604.5 Psychological Evaluations
During particularly contentious custody fights, a child psychologist or psychiatrist may be brought in to administer a 604 evaluation. The evaluator will interview the child one to three times, for approximately an hour. Taking into consideration the needs of the child along with other information gathered, the evaluator will recommend a custody arrangement they feel is best for the child. The judge will consider the recommendation but is not bound by it.
Attorney Maxine Weiss Kunz has successfully tried numerous supervised visitation cases. Nearly almost all of her trial experience has involved children and 604(b) and 604.5 custody evaluations
Visitation in Illinois
According to Illinois law (750 ILCS 5/602), the best interest of a child is considered before determining a visitation or parenting time agreement. If there are any reasons a child might be in danger of physical, mental, moral, or emotional threats, the court may deny parenting time rights or require supervised visits. Our attorneys are experienced in handling matters such as visitation agreements and visitation petitions for parents, other relatives such as grandparents, and other individuals. We also understand that changing life circumstances often occur. In these instances you may need to modify or discontinue your current custody arrangement. At Weiss-Kunz & Oliver, LLC we are prepared to handle all of your child visitation matters.
Getting the Help You Need
As shown above, there are many different issues to sort out relating to the children of divorcing parents. Our attorneys have extensive experience in helping parents reach the best decisions for their children. Maxine Weiss Kunz worked for one of the top family law firms in Chicago, maintains a 10.0 rating on Avvo, and was named a Super Lawyers Rising Star. Contact Weiss-Kunz & Oliver, LLC today.