For many couples, the most challenging aspects of a divorce are the custody issues. A child custody lawyer may be required to help parents with high conflict types of divorces, or when joint custody is not an option, to assist with their Chicago divorce case or modification of custody case.
However, before talking to your attorney, it is a good idea to know what is meant by specific legal terms. Often the specifics of these terms cause confusion, and it is always important to ask your attorney if you are not sure what he or she is referring to.
Words to Know
The following are terms, words, or phrases your child custody lawyer may use. Remember, attorneys will assume you know what they mean unless you ask for clarification.
- Joint custody – in Illinois joint custody is not always assumed in every divorce, although it is often the most beneficial for the children. Joint custody means that both parents are involved in decisions pertaining to the child or children including education, health, religion and mental health issues among others. Joint custody also involves some time spent at Moms as well as at Dads, but it doesn’t automatically mean a 50/50 split of time, and, in fact, it rarely does.
- Sole Custody – sole custody means that one parent will make all the decisions for the child. This is often awarded if parents are unable to work together or if one parent has demonstrated an inability to make decisions for the children that are in their best interests.
- Best interests of the child – the courts in Illinois are not interested in what is best for either parent; rather they want to ensure the children are in a safe, loving, stable and consistent environment. No parent is expected to be perfect, but they do have to be competent and capable of providing these issues for their child or children.
In cases when the other spouse or the parent to the child for never married parents has been abusive or is otherwise unable to care for the children, involving a child custody lawyer in Chicago early in the divorce may be in your best interests.
This allows the attorney to have the expert witnesses, to ensure custody evaluations are completed, and to have the documentation in place to show the judge that the children are best in your care.
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