Illinois Child Custody & Support Lawyers
Representing Client Interests in the Allocation of Parental Responsibilities and the Payment of Child Support
If divorcing spouses do not agree on how parental responsibility and parenting time should be shared, it is up to the family court judge to decide the matter following a period of litigation and hearings in court. The Chicagoland family law attorneys at Pluymert, MacDonald, Hargrove & Lee represent clients in negotiations with their spouses to craft a workable schedule for parenting time. If a solution cannot be reached, our lawyers provide strong and dedicated advocacy in court to ensure our clients’ interests are represented in any outcome regarding parenting plans and child support.
Illinois Child Custody Basics
As of January 2016, the terms “child custody” and “visitation” are no longer used in the state of Illinois. Instead, you will find the attorneys and the judge talking about “parental responsibility” and “parenting time.” In making these changes, the Illinois legislature recognized that both parents share in the responsibility for raising their children, and that the time either parent spends with the children is equally valuable parenting time. The new terms are meant to take away the stigma some felt were attached to being a “non-custodial” parent or to only having “visitation” with their children.
Help with Illinois Parental Responsibility & Child Support Determinations
Although some form of shared parenting is generally favored by the courts, parenting time does not have to be split equally between the parents. If the parties cannot agree on a parenting plan, one will be decided by the judge. Although there are many factors to consider in deciding how to fashion a parenting plan, the one most important factor that trumps all the others is what the judge believes would be in the best interests of the child. The family law attorneys at Pluymert, MacDonald, Hargrove & Lee serve as zealous advocates for their clients and make compelling arguments as to what type of parenting arrangement would be in the child’s best interest. Other factors considered by the court include:
- The wishes of each parent
- The wishes of the child
- The child’s needs
- The parent-child relationship with each parent
- The child’s relationship with siblings
- The child’s current adjustment to school, home and community
In allocating parental responsibility, the court decides not only parenting time but also parental decisionmaking, which means the right and responsibility to make decisions regarding the child’s upbringing in every area from health care and religion to schooling and extracurricular activities. As with parenting time, the allocation of parental decisionmaking may be shared equally or granted solely to one parent, or shared in any other way the court deems appropriate. Pluymert, MacDonald, Hargrove & Lee works hard to ensure that your interests are represented in the allocation of parental responsibility and parenting time, and that the final decisions made are workable for you and your children.
Child Support in Illinois Divorce
Both parents are legally bound to support their children financially, regardless of whether they were ever married or not. In a divorce, the court follows statutory guidelines which take into account both parents’ incomes as a share of total income, the number of children to be supported, and additional expenses such as child care, health insurance, and any special medical or other needs. These guidelines will tell the judge how much in child support will be ordered to be paid from one spouse to the other. However, the court is not bound to follow the guideline amount but may deviate from the formula when convinced it would be in the child’s best interests to do so.
At Pluymert, MacDonald, Hargrove & Lee, our family law attorneys can assist in the child support determination by helping our clients calculate income and identify needs, while ensuring that the other spouse is not underreporting income or hiding assets to avoid paying a fair share of support. We also represent clients in arguing for or against a deviation from the guidelines amount as appropriate.
Get Help with the Allocation of Parental Responsibility and Child Support from Skilled and Knowledgeable Illinois Divorce Attorneys
To make sure you are fairly represented in the allocation of parental responsibility, including parenting time and decisionmaking, as well as the order for child support, contact Pluymert, MacDonald, Hargrove & Lee. With offices in Hoffman Estates & Des Plaines, we serve clients throughout the greater Chicagoland area with dedication and compassion.