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Child Custody Q&A

Despite how the media may portray divorce and child custody, most divorcing couples quickly come to a resolution for custody that is in the best interests of the children. Where there is not an obvious result, disputed child custody cases in Illinois can be litigious and expensive. While we strive to be thorough with all the information we provide, these Q&As are not a substitute for the advice of a qualified legal professional. H. Joseph Gitlin Law Office represents clients in contested custody cases in northern Illinois. If you have a disputed custody case or need a divorce lawyer, contact H. Joseph Gitlin Law Office.

Custody of Children

Child custody can be one of the most intensely litigated issues in divorces. While there are two major types of custody under Illinois law, and significant discretion in the court’s ability to determine an appropriate visitation schedule for the non-custodial parent, close case, those cases where there is not a clear history of which parent was the primary caretaker for the children, tend to be the most litigious and expensive. Above all else, the court should attempt to make a decision that is in the children’s best interests when child custody is disputed.


Change of Child Custody

The court can always modify (change) custody, but it requires first alleging and proving that the circumstances of the child, or the custodian have changed. Changes in child custody are not favored in Illinois and generally can only be made when the non-custodial parent demonstrated, by clear and convincing evidence, that child custody must be changed to promote the best interests of the children.


Joint Child Custody

Joint custody is a statutory term found in Illinois divorce law and has a specific meaning. While not appropriate in all cases, joint custody has been widely embraced by parents, psychological professionals and lawyers. Here you can find additional information about joint custody in Illinois.


Child Visitation

If a parent does not have custody of the children, then the parent should be granted visitation. Illinois divorce law gives the courts broad discretion in deciding what visitation the parent will have, but directs the court to consider the best interests of the children in determining reasonable visitation. Absent special circumstances, the custodial parent cannot unilaterally determine the other parent will not have visits with the children once the court determines a visitation schedule.


Restricting Child Visitation

A non-custodial parent is entitled to reasonable visitation unless visitation would seriously endanger the children. Where visitation would seriously endanger the children, the custodial parent can ask the court to restrict or limit visitation including eliminating overnight visits or requiring supervised visitation.


Grandparent Visitation in Illinois

Grandparent visitation in Illinois, as in the rest of the United States, is extremely limited. Fit parents have the right to the control and education of their children. In Illinois, grandparents can get visitation with grandchildren, but only under certain circumstances (such as the death of one parent) and showing the court that the parents decision to deny visitation harms the children.