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When parents separate or divorce in Illinois, one of the most important issues to resolve is a parenting plan arrangement, also known as child custody. Negotiating agreements can be extremely emotional and challenging. However, there are steps you can take with an Illinois attorney to help achieve a fair outcome that prioritizes your child’s best interests.
The parenting plan laws are designed to promote the child’s welfare and best interests. Illinois uses the “best interests of the child” standard to determine custody. The court considers factors like the wishes of the parents and child, the child’s interactions with family, the child’s adjustment to home and school, and the mental and physical health of all parties.
Courts typically order joint custody, unless there are reasons against it. Joint custody means parents share decision-making rights and parenting time. Taking time to understand these laws and factors will help you negotiate within the framework of Illinois guidelines.
Before negotiating, you should gather all relevant facts about schedules, lifestyles, school options, and transportation logistics. Financial realities, including household incomes, insurance, child care costs, and other expenses, also impact practical custody options. Understanding these logistics for both parents will lead to smoother negotiations and realistic schedules and agreements. Discuss any concerns openly.
Even if communication is strained between parents, keeping the dialog open is key. Focusing discussion on the child’s needs often provides common ground for agreements. Parents who remain rigidly inflexible will often endure lengthy court battles when compromise and negotiation could have avoided litigation. Seek mediation if needed.
To avoid contested litigation, parents can voluntarily engage in dispute resolution processes like mediation or arbitration. These facilitated processes with trained professionals aim to produce agreements satisfying both parents. Mediation can be especially useful for highly emotional conflicts or when communication has broken down.
Seeking legal advice from an Illinois family law attorney can help protect your rights as a parent. We can help you review any proposed agreements to ensure they adhere to state laws and reflect your interests before you sign.
Putting your child’s best interests first will lead you in the right direction and create a fair parenting plan. Call Law Office of Martoccio & Martoccio at 630-920-8855 to schedule your free consultation and see what next step you should take.