location 166 W. Washington St., Ste. 400, Chicago, IL 60602
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George Skuros
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phone 312-884-1222

Park Ridge custody attorneyWhen parents divorce or unmarried parents break up, they will need to determine how to raise their children. In Illinois, the two main components of child custody are the allocation of parenting time and parental responsibilities. Understandably, many parents have strong opinions about how to handle parenting duties, childcare, and other child-related matters. When parents have different opinions, the situation can quickly escalate. What starts as a minor disagreement can turn into a full-blown custody battle.

If you are in a situation like this, know that you are not alone and that you have options. An experienced family law attorney knowledgeable in child custody matters can help you understand these options and take the next steps.  As you navigate the process, keep the following tips in mind: 

Educate Yourself About Illinois Child Custody Law

Each state handles child custody differently. In Illinois, divorcing parents are asked to create a “parenting plan.” This document describes how the parents will share parenting time (formerly called visitation) and parental responsibilities (decision-making authority over the child). There are over a dozen specific elements you must address in the parenting plan. Reading through this information can help you prepare a well-thought-out plan.

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IL Family Law Attorney for Parental RightsIllinois law presumes that parents have the ability to adequately care for their children and provide a safe living environment. Consequently, anyone who has established parentage or paternity of a child is entitled to certain parental rights. Among these rights is the right to be awarded “parenting time” or time with the child. However, some parents will need to take steps to gain parental rights. Furthermore, some circumstances may lead to the restriction or termination of a parent’s parental rights.

When Does a Parent Have a Right to Visitation?

Parenting time, which used to be called “visitation,” is the time that a parent watches his or her child and cares for the child’s everyday needs. Divorced parents allocate parenting time in their parenting plan. However, in order to be entitled to parenting time, unmarried fathers may need to establish paternity. Paternity may be established by signing a Voluntary Acknowledgement of Paternity (VAP) upon the child’s birth or through a judicial or administrative process.

Parents may be subject to a parenting time restriction if there are concerns that normal parenting time may endanger the child’s health or wellbeing. Parenting time restrictions may include a reduction of parenting time, supervised visits, or, in rare cases, the total elimination of the parent’s parenting time.     

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