When disagreements over appropriate levels of child custody and parenting time threaten to delay your Illinois divorce or require litigation, The Law Firm of Debra J. Braselton, P.C., offers experienced, responsive representation you can trust.
Respected by her peers, appreciated by her clients and dedicated to your mission, attorney Debra Braselton offers comprehensive legal services for the full range of family law matters, including the important issue of protecting your children's best interests during divorce and the end of a nonmarital relationship in which the parties have a child.
New Terminology Regarding Custody
Important changes to child custody statutes took effect in 2016 that have changed the landscape of custody disputes. The most significant change is the elimination of the term "custody" itself, as well as the term "visitation." The objective is to emphasize that under normal circumstances, both parents are encouraged to remain actively involved in their child's life.
The court will refer to "parental responsibility" instead of "legal custody" (the right to participate in decisions regarding a child's education, health care, religious upbringing and extracurricular activities). The term "visitation" will be replaced by "parenting time."
Working For Solutions
Illinois judges serve the best interests of the child when deciding on parental responsibility and parenting time. Factors they consider include:
- The wishes of the child's parent or parents
- The wishes of the child (taking into account the child's maturity and ability to make reasoned decisions)
- The interaction and interrelationship of the child with his or her parent or parents, his or her siblings and any other person who may significantly affect the child's best interest, including how involved each parent was in decision-making affecting the child
- The child's adjustment to his home, school and community
- The mental and physical health of all individuals involved
- The physical violence or threat of physical violence by the child's potential custodian, whether directed against the child or directed against another person
- The occurrence of ongoing abuse as defined in Section 103 of the Illinois Domestic Violence Act of 1986, whether directed against the child or directed against another person
- The willingness and ability of each parent to foster a close and healthy relationship with the child's other parent
Experienced As A Guardian Ad Litem
The court may appoint a guardian ad litem, an attorney for the child or child's representative, to represent the child or look out for his or her best interest in a custody or visitation dispute. Debra Braselton is an experienced guardian ad litem, and is frequently appointed to represent the best interests of children when their parents do not agree and have brought their dispute to court.
If after investigation, negotiation and mediation, parents are unable to reach an agreement on parental responsibility and parenting time, these issues are presented to the court for decision in a trial in which witnesses are called and arguments are presented. The matter is out of the parents' control as the judge decides what arrangement to impose, which is why we strive to resolve disputes without the need to litigate.
We invite you to contact us and schedule an initial consultation to discuss your family law matter. Call experienced DuPage County child custody lawyer Debra Braselton at 630-DIVORCE (630-348-6723). See our Initial Consultation page for further information. All contacts with our firm are kept strictly confidential.