Frequently Asked Child Custody Questions

Child custody matters often bring about confusion and many questions, and understandably so. Issues involving children can be emotional, and decisions made can affect the future of your family. Below is a list of frequently asked questions (FAQ) about child custody.

For more information and a free initial consultation, contact me, Shorewood attorney Anthony Boyer, at 815-207-8263 or send a message online.

What do the Illinois family courts consider a priority for custody matters?

The immediate objective is to ensure that children are in a safe place. They also prioritize stability for children, especially during any heated custody battles. In all matters, including final custody orders, the courts will look at what is in the children's best interests.

How do the courts determine custody?

If the parents cannot agree on custody, the court will allocate decision making responsibility in the areas of education, healthcare, religious education and extracurricular activities, as well as a determination for physical custody. Under the new Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, terms such as sole custody or joint custody are no longer used. If that responsibility is allocated to one parent it is similar to what was termed sole custody. If that responsibility is allocated between them equally, it is similar to what was termed joint custody. I will help you to build a cohesive case that frames up arguments using the 15 factors the court will consider in making such a decision.

How do I determine what type of custody is best for my children?

When deciding custody allocations, both parents should take time to determine if that decision is in their children's best interests. Will children have enough access to both parents? How will custody plans affect your children's school and home life? In some situations, more equal allocation of custody may be feasible. In others, it may be best for children to live with one parent and have a regular visitation schedule with the other parent.

Who usually determines final custody arrangements?

In a typical court scenario, the presiding judge would make a final determination regarding your custody schedule. Alternatively, you can keep more control over arrangements by working with your spouse to come to an agreement through mediation or negotiation strategies. These options are typically less expensive and result in less disruption for your entire family. As an experienced lawyer, I can help you through the entire custody process and help you achieve the best outcome.

What types of behavior should parents avoid?

Although much of this is common sense, when emotions run high in a divorce or other custody situation, it can be easy to forget. Parents should not:

  • Talk badly about the other parent around their children
  • Talk about the details of the divorce, custody or support matters in front of their children
  • Make their children feel bad about spending time with the other parent
  • Block their children from speaking to or seeing the other parent
  • Interrupt their children's time with the other parent
  • Argue with the other parent in the presence of their children, either in person or over the phone
  • Ask their children to spy on the other parent or ask them questions about the other parent's life
  • Ask their children to keep secrets from the other parent
  • Send verbal or written messages to the other parent through their children
  • Blame the other parent for the divorce or other family law matters
  • Treat their children like adults rather than confiding in other resources
  • Ignore each other or sit on opposite sides of the room for children's school, medical, extracurricular or other activities
  • Prevent children from taking items between homes, such as a blanket, toy or electronic item
  • Use guilt or pressure to get children to say they love one parent more or make them choose where they want to live

All too often, these types of behaviors make the instigating parent look bad in the eyes of the court.