If you are considering filing for child custody in Illinois, or are already facing a custody dispute, you likely have numerous questions. It is important to understand that there may be complex legal challenges that arise in your case. There is also important information you need to know at the outset of your case. Read the information below to learn about common issues in many custody matters. Then, contact an experienced local attorney to discuss your unique circumstances.
Are There Different Types of Custody?
There are two types of child custody: legal and physical. Legal custody is a parent’s authority to make major decisions in their child’s life. For example, a parent with legal custody may make educational, medical, and religious decisions for their child. On the other hand, physical custody refers to the child’s living situation. In other words, the parent with primary physical custody is the parent who lives with the child the majority of the time.
How Is Custody Divided?
Under Illinois law, the child’s best interests are the top legal priority in any custody matter. This means that when a judge considers how custody is divided, they will consider a number of factors. These factors, as defined by state law, are designed to determine what is actually in the child’s best interests. These factors include:
- The child’s mental and physical health;
- Each parent’s mental and physical health;
- The child’s preference in regards to their living situation (when appropriate);
- Each parent’s ability and willingness to encourage a close relationship between the child and the other parent; and
- Other factors relevant to the family situation.
Because every child has different needs, the specific circumstances in any custody case will determine how custody is resolved. In some cases, a judge will determine custody. Other times, the parties may settle custody out of court, often through a process known as mediation.
How Does Custody Affect Child Support?
Child support is determined by a complicated calculation that also involves many factors. The custody arrangement is counted among these factors. Generally, the non-custodial parent pays child support to the custodial parent. Legally, both parents have an obligation to provide financial support to their child. So, even in cases where both parents equally share physical custody, one parent may pay child support to the other parent.
It is important to note that even when one parent violates the custodial agreement or court order, the other parent cannot refuse to make child support payment. That is, if the custodial parent unlawfully withholds the child from the other parent, the non-custodial cannot just stop making payments. In fact, knowingly and unlawfully withholding child support is a misdemeanor crime in Illinois.
Contact Wheaton Child Custody Lawyers
Our experienced lawyers at Fay, Farrow & Associates, P.C. understand how complicated any family law matter can become. We will use our 95 years of combined legal experience to answer your questions and address your concerns. Since 1979, we have loyally served the Wheaton community, and helped parents through difficult custody disputes. Call us today at (630) 961-0060 or contact us online to schedule an initial consultation. You can discuss the details of your situation with a lawyer for free.