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Custody disputes in Illinois

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Most in the legal profession understand that a custody dispute is one of the most emotionally taxing cases to handle. Few people desire to give up control over their own child, and this is exacerbated by the fact that a person may be losing control to a person to which he or she harbors resentment.

Many cases award both parents joint legal custody and assign one parent as the primary residential custodian. Legal custody means that both parents will have a say in the major decisions affecting the child. The residential custodian will be the parent the parent with whom the child will live with most of the time.

Illinois, like most states, considers the “best interest of the child” as the overriding concern in a custody matter. How the best interest of the child is determined is comprised of a number of factors, with no one factor considered determinative. The factors include:

  • The desires of each parent as to custody;
  • The desire of the child, if the child is old enough to articulate a preference;
  • The willingness of each parent to provide parenting time to the other parent;
  • The child’s living arrangements, including ties to school and social relationships;
  • The child’s relationships with siblings;
  • The emotional stability of each parent and those other with whom a child may reside;
  • A history of drug, alcohol or domestic abuse of either parent of those who may reside with the child;
  • The ability of each parent to provide a safe, stable, nurturing environment for the child.

Custody lawyers in Lake Bluff must where a number of hats when handling a domestic custody dispute. He or she must be part advisor, part mediator, part investigator and part counselor. All roles may come into play at one time or another during the proceedings with some more than others.

But most of all, a custody lawyer must be an advocate for their client. This requires zealous representation of the client’s interests. The attorney must take the factors identified in statutes and case law and apply them to the facts. Because their client will be going before a judge who knows neither party, it is the duty of the custody attorney to present their client to the court and identify as many factors as possible, placing their client in the best light before the tribunal. Clients seeking an attorney for their domestic dispute should seek attorneys best skilled at doing so.