Aurora Custody Proceedings Lawyer
Custody proceedings are always the hardest fought issue in any divorce trial. Obviously, tensions are high in any custody situation as your children’s future is at stake. If you have reservations about the ability of your spouse to raise your children appropriately, you may need to seek custody.
A custody trial can be a very complicated and time consuming event. Typically the Court will want the opinions of experts to assist in making a custody determination. The Judge will appoint an independent attorney or Guardian Ad Litem and possibly an independent psychologist or psychiatrist to perform an evaluation of the parties and to make recommendations as to which parent should have custody. The selection of the Guardian or Evaluator is many times critical to the success or failure of your case. In addition, thorough research and extensive investigation are essential to any successful custody trial.
On January 1st of 2016 the Illinois legislature passed comprehensive new laws regarding the rights of parents regarding their minor children in 750 ilcs 5/600. In essence the legislature deleted the term “custody”, “sole custody”, “joint custody” and visitation from the statutes. In their place we now have terms such as “parental responsibilities” and “parenting time”.
“Parenting Responsibilities” means both parenting time and significant decision making responsibilities with respect to the child. Such decision making responsibilities include education, health, religion and extracurricular activities. Unless the parents agree in writing on the allocation of these responsibilities, the court will allocate to one or both parents these significant responsibilities. The court shall make this determination keeping in mind what is in the best interests of the child.
“Parenting Time” means the time spent with a minor child by the parent. The court shall allocate parenting time based upon the best interests of the child. It is presumed that both parents are fit and the court shall not place restrictions on parenting time unless it finds parenting time would seriously endanger the child’s physical, mental, moral or emotional health.
According to the new law, the parties must present a Parenting Plan that sets forth the four different decision making areas stated earlier and state who will be responsible for these various decisions along with the parenting time that each parent will have with the minor children. The Parenting Plan must also contain a number of required information such as the parties’ residence and work addresses, the Right of First Refusal, a determination of the primary parent and many other provisions. The Parenting Plan must be presented within 120 days of the filing of a divorce or custody proceeding.