When Illinois couples divorce and cannot come to an agreement regarding pivotal issues such child custody and visitation, state law empowers the court to make determinations with respect to those issues. While making these determinations, the court is to prioritize the best interests of the child. For instance, if the court deems that spending time with one particular parent may imperil the child's wellbeing, then visitation rights may be denied to that parent.
Illinois law requires custodial parents who receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, medical or food stamp benefits for themselves and their child to cooperate with their child support enforcement office. For child-only benefits cases, those who receive benefits for their child alone is not required to cooperate with enforcement activities
In Illinois, a person can file for legal separation if they are no longer living with their spouse without fault. By filing for legal separation, the petitioner may be able to seek a reasonable amount in financial support or spousal maintenance while the couple is still married but are not together.
Illinois families who need help obtaining child support may be able to find assistance through the Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS). Through their Child Support Program, a family can have access to a variety of services, including help finding the non-custodial parent, withholding income from the non-custodial parent's job or unemployment benefits, enrolling dependents in a health insurance coverage plan, obtaining or adjusting a child support order and establishing paternity.
To get the divorce process started, an individual must first file a petition and pay the fee. In Illinois, a divorce cannot be granted until at least one member of the marriage has lived in the state for at least 90 days. In order to successfully divorce, the two spouses must come to an agreement with regard to the custody of their children, the division of any property they may own and all financial matters. If they cannot come to an agreement, a judge will make a decision on these matters for them.
Birth parents can choose to involve an agency in the adoption process or handle the selection of the adoptive parents for themselves. In cases where a relative adopts the child from the birth parents, the law does not require an agency to oversee the adoption. Both parents must sign over their parental rights as part of the process unless a judge rules one unfit based on that parent's level of interest and responsibility in the child's welfare.
There are various circumstances that can affect the need to determine custody issues for a child in Illinois. While divorce is the most common situation, there are other events that may prompt a need for someone other than a parent to file for custody. The courts in Illinois are concerned with the best interests of a child being represented, and in some cases, a representative may be appointed on behalf of a child to ensure that best interests are not ignored.
Illinois parents may know that child custody may be one of the most critical issues they face in divorce. For many, the way child custody is determined and how it is defined may be confusing.
Couples in Illinois who no longer wish to remain together will usually file for divorce, but this is not true in every case. In some situations, a divorce could have serious financial consequences, and a couple may choose to remain legally married while leading separate lives. In these situations, entering into a legal separation agreement may be advisable.