Although it may not seem obvious at first, there are both advantages and disadvantages to opening an Illinois custody case. As individual situations differ, there is no correct answer on how parents should proceed.
As Illinois residents may know, relocation for a better paying job, family assistance with children or education is common in today's mobile society. A custodial parent may face obstacles, particularly if the child custody arrangement does not make provision for this alteration. It is important to know what is expected to make the transition easier.
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 be curious as to how a judge decides child custody when divorcing parents are unable to agree. Custody may be sole or joint. Despite the name, joint child custody does not necessitate that the parents share parenting time equally. It simply means that both parents participate in parenting. Legal custody also includes the right to make important decisions regarding the child, such as where the child will go to school or the child's religious upbringing.
Like several other states, Illinois is re-examining its policy on child custody and may be changing the way custody is routinely awarded. Some argue that despite the changing landscape of work and childcare over the past few decades, judges still tend to give primary custody to the mother, and fathers increasingly feel left out. Some parents, lawmakers and others argue that a child does better if both parents share custody equally.
We are still talking about the difficulty of enforcing child support agreements. If a noncustodial parent fails to pay, the custodial parent can go to court, certainly, but Illinois has had a poor track record of enforcing those court orders.
We are picking up the discussion from our Nov. 14 post. The subject is nonpayment of child support here in Illinois. The state Department of Healthcare and Family Services has been doing a better job of collecting and disbursing support payments from recalcitrant noncustodial parents, but "better" means moving from collecting 55 percent of what was owed in 2008 to collecting 58 percent in 2012 -- and those percentages only represent cases handled by the department. That leaves a lot of families without the income they need to make ends meet.
For Illinois parents, going through a divorce can be nerve-racking. For many parents, child custody is the most important part of their divorce, but many people are unsure of the process itself. While every case is different, the state of Illinois provides clear and helpful information about the different types of custody and how child custody is determined.