Hoffman Estates Child Custody Attorney
In the 1950s, when Hoffman Estates first began growing, divorced fathers usually got full custody of the children, largely because women had few economic rights in those days. In the 1970s, during a second spurt of growth, the pendulum had swung the other way. Because of the tender years doctrine, divorced fathers usually got only limited visitation rights, at best. Today, co-parenting is the norm. Both parents have important roles to play in the lives of their children.
While family law has changed over the years, the methods we use at the Andrea Heckman Law. are largely the same. Our Hoffman Estates child custody attorneys research the facts, apply the law, and then tenaciously fight for you. Through it all, we keep the best interests of your children in mind as we uphold your legal and financial rights.
Factors to Consider
Under Illinois law, child custody divisions must be in the best interests of the children. Most parents agree on this broad principle, but they disagree about the specifics. So, the law also sets forth a number of factors to consider in this area. Some of them include:
- Consistency: There is an old saying that the devil you know is better than the devil you do not know. So, even if the current parenting time split is not perfect, most judges like to keep the current split in place, at least for the most part.
- Parental Preferences: Some parents are unwilling to take on the responsibilities of a residential parent. Many times, these preferences are unspoken. The court will presume such a preference if, during the marriage, a parent showed little interest in school plays, music recitals, soccer games, and other such activities.
- Child’s Preferences: In Illinois, a child’s preference is usually relevant but rarely controlling. The judge always has the final say. Furthermore, as most parents know, there is a difference between best interests and personal preference.
- Family Violence: Most judges do not tolerate physical, emotional, or other family violence, especially if it affected the children or the children witnessed it. Verified allegations of family violence usually mean restricted visitation and other conditions, like attending anger management or parenting classes.
Other factors include the abilities of each parent and any agreements between the parties.
Child Custody Divisions
For the most part, the aforementioned factors help determine the residential and non-residential parents. The parenting time division itself is another matter.
In many cases, the traditional every other weekend/every other holiday arrangement works very well. However, such a division usually results in about a 70-30 split. Under Illinois’ new co-parenting law, such a division may be too unequal. Some other possibilities include:
- Extended Weekend: The cumulative effect of small changes often have a big impact. Beginning the weekends on Thursday and ending them on Monday usually results in a much more equal division of time.
- Empty Nest: The children remain in the same place, usually the family home, and the parents exchange residences according to the visitation schedule. The empty nest is usually very good for children who never have to leave their own bedrooms.
- Block Schedule: Children spend a week or two with Parent A, a week or two with Parent B, and the cycle repeats. This straightforward division is usually the same 12 months a year, except for some tweaks around major holidays.
For the most part, these alternatives usually work if the parents live relatively close together and get along reasonably well.
Rely on an Experienced Lawyer
Child custody divisions must always reflect the best interests of the children. For a free consultation with an experienced child custody attorney in Hoffman Estates, contact the Andrea Heckman Law