Chicago Divorces: Three Issues To Consider When Kids Are Involved
Determining what happens to children can be one of the most contentious and time-consuming parts of the divorce process. Divorcing parents are met with a host of different issues related to children during a divorce that are both complicated and, often, hotly contested. Divorcing parents often don’t meet eye to eye when it comes to issues such as who will be the custodial parent of the children, what the visitation schedule will be, and how much child support should be assessed. These common questions and more are important issues that must be ironed out or ruled upon by a judge when children are involved in a divorce proceeding. In a Chicago divorce, there are several main issues that are often the subject of controversy and delay in a divorce proceeding.
Issue Number One: Child Custody
Child custody is probably one of the most well-known and controversial issues in a divorce involving children. Child custody is a legal term that refers to the relationship between a guardian (often a parent, but also sometimes a grandparent, other family member, or other guardian, depending on the law) and a child, and the legal rights and responsibilities between parents in regards to the children. In a Chicago divorce, under Illinois marriage and divorce laws, both legal and physical custody of the children in a divorce must be determined. Legal custody pertains to a parent’s rights and responsibilities to make decisions on behalf of the child, such as education, religion, and other important life decisions. Physical custody refers to which parent is designated as the parent the child will physically live with. Most states, including Illinois, recognize joint custody (both parents sharing custody) in addition to sole custody (one parent having custody), when it comes to both legal and physical custody.
Issue Number Two: Child Support
Child support is a term that many people may be familiar with, even if they haven’t been involved in the divorce process. Child support is money that is typically paid by the non-custodial parent to the parent who has custody of the child or children to benefit the children. There are many factors that a court analyzes in order to determine the appropriate amount of child support under Illinois law.
Issue Number Three: Visitation
As noted, Illinois courts may award both legal and physical custody to one parent, or both, or may award both parents a combination of legal and physical custody. However, in the case that one parent has physical custody of the child, that parent is referred to as the “custodial parent.” The non-custodial parent, in most cases, and depending on the best interests of the child or children, has legal rights to spend time with the child, which is called “visitation.” Illinois law sets forth a minimum time length for visitation that is enforced in most cases, although there are exceptions to minimum visitation if such visitation would not be in the best interests of the child and if there are other factors that warrant no visitation or more limited visitation.
Hiring a Divorce Lawyer When Children are Involved
Child custody, child support, and visitation are important issues in every divorce when children are involved. A parent should know their legal rights and what they are entitled to under the law, and should consider having an experienced family lawyer on their side. The Chicago child custody lawyers at Birnbaum Gelfman Sharma & Arnoux are experienced in handling divorce cases involving children and are here to help. If you are considering a divorce or are involved in divorce proceedings involving children, reach out to us today to chat about your case and learn your rights.