For the first time ever, most children do not live in traditional households. Instead, many children live with stepparents and/or stepsiblings. Others live in single-parent households or with their grandparents. Parenting time orders are usually involved in these situations. A Wheeling child custody attorney knows that the legal procedures involved are sometimes straightforward and sometimes extremely complex. Typically, the issues are somewhere in between these two extremes.
Regardless of the child custody issues in your case, the sensitive attorneys at the Andrea Heckman Law are here to help. During our initial consultation, we take as much time as necessary and we listen to you. Then, working together, we review your legal options, answer any questions you have, and select a course of action. Then, we relentlessly follow that path until we achieve the best possible results under the circumstances.
Some Parenting Time Options in Illinois
Until fairly recently, a parenting time division usually meant some variation of the old every-other weekend and every-other-holiday model. This preference stemmed from the old “tender years” doctrine, which held that children were better off with their mothers than their fathers.
Recent research has challenged this belief, however. That is especially true for teenagers and grade school age children. In 2016, Illinois lawmakers significantly reworked the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage statutes to more accurately reflect this change. Today, there is a presumption that children benefit most from consistent and meaningful contact with both their parents.
So, many parenting time divisions in Wheeling have some rather innovative features. The “empty nest” arrangement is one example. This model began in California and spread eastward. In traditional child custody arrangements, the children go back and forth between the parents, but in empty nest situations, the children stay in one place and the parents move back and forth.
This arrangement obviously works best when the parents get along well or are at least civil toward each other.
In other cases, block parenting time works well. The children spend two weeks with one parent, two weeks with the other parent, and then the cycle begins again. School schedules and holidays usually do not matter. Block parenting time also eases the complex pickup and drop-off schedules that are often a problem in other parenting time plans.
The bottom line is that there are a number of innovative solutions for your family. Child custody plans are no longer one size fits all.
What Happens in a Cook County Child Custody Case?
In most divorce cases, the judge holds a temporary hearing shortly after someone files a petition. The decisions at this hearing often form the basis for the final parenting time division. Unless significant new evidence arises, most judges hesitate to disturb the status quo, even if it is imperfect.
Many times, that new evidence comes in the form of the social services investigation. In contested cases, most Cook County judges order these inquiries. After looking into the facts and speaking with the principals involved (parents, children, and witnesses), the investigator files a recommendation with the court. These reports are not binding, but they do carry a considerable amount of weight.
Mediation usually produces the final resolution. However, a few Wheeling child custody cases go all the way to trial.
Connect with Dedicated Lawyers
Sound parenting time divisions help stabilize your family in an unstable situation. For a free consultation with an experienced family law attorney in Wheeling, contact the Andrea Heckman Law We routinely handle child custody matters in Cook County and nearby jurisdictions.