Category Archives: Illinois Law

How Do Mothers’ Rights Impact an Illinois Divorce?

Wheaton divorce attorneyIn recent years, a lot of emphasis has been placed on fathers’ rights during and after a divorce. This is partly due to a trend in which many dads have taken more active roles in parenting compared to fathers in previous generations. In divorces that took place in the past, mothers were typically awarded what was called “sole custody” of the children, as well as alimony, child support, the marital home, and other assets. However, things often turn out differently in today’s divorces, since many mothers and fathers share in earning household income and raising children.

In modern divorce cases, mothers’ rights regarding child custody should not be automatically assumed like they often were in the past. During divorce, both parents should be sure to understand their rights and the ways they can reach a favorable outcome.

Protecting the Best Interests of the Child

In Illinois, the court is instructed to consider what is in the best interests of the child when it comes to the “allocation of parental responsibilities” (formerly known as child custody) and “parenting time” (formerly known as visitation). According to Illinois law, if married parents reside in the state, then a family court will decide on these matters as a part of their divorce proceedings. For an unmarried couple, paternity must be established before a court can address matters of parental responsibility and parenting time.

Many factors play a part in deciding parental rights. While the court will not necessarily address which parent is “better” or “worse,” it will consider how the decisions made will affect the child’s well-being. Some of these factors a judge will consider when determining what is in a child’s best interests include:

  • The wishes of the child’s parents regarding who will have parental responsibilities

  • The wishes of the child

  • The child’s relationship with parents, siblings, and other relatives

  • The child’s adjustment to their home, school, and community

  • The mental and physical health of all family members who are involved in the child’s life

  • The occurrence or threat of physical violence against the child by either parent

  • Any domestic abuse against the child or others in the household

  • The willingness of each parent to promote a continuing relationship between the child and the other parent

  • Whether either parent is a sex offender

Mothers play pivotal roles in the nurturing and development of their children. Therefore, they should have equal rights and a say in the outcome of a divorce, especially when it comes to future parenting.

Contact a Wheaton Family Law Attorney

There are many aspects to consider during a divorce, and decisions about parenting time and the allocation of parental responsibilities are often some of the most important issues to resolve. If you are a mother who is concerned about your rights as a divorcee, the compassionate legal team at Andrew Cores Family Law Group will explain your rights and work with you to reach a positive outcome to your case. Call a compassionate DuPage County divorce lawyer at 630-871-1002 to schedule a free consultation.



When Is Supervised Parenting Time Appropriate in an Illinois Divorce?

Wheaton-supervised-parenting-time-lawyerDuring and after a divorce, the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act allows both parents to have reasonable parenting time with their child. In some situations, if a parent is worried about his or her child’s physical or mental well-being when spending time with the other parent, he or she can request a hearing to ask for supervised visits. The parent requesting this supervision needs to show evidence to support this request. If you are ordered to have supervised parenting time with your child, an experienced family law attorney can help you determine the best way to proceed.

Factors that May Require Supervision

Many factors are considered when deciding if parenting time will be supervised or not. In general, Illinois courts prefer to promote a healthy parent-child relationship, even during disputes over parental responsibilities (child custody). For a parent to have supervised parenting time, the court must consider the child to be in serious danger if he or she were to be left alone for a period of time with that parent. The court also has the right to modify an existing parenting time order if needed.
If two ex-spouses have an argument, or if one parent does not like the other parent’s new partner, that typically does not qualify as seriously endangering the child mentally, physically, or emotionally. On the other hand, if the other parent (or his or her new love interest) is physically or verbally abusive to the child, that is grounds for seeking supervised parenting time. In some cases involving domestic abuse to the other parent or the child, the court may issue an order of protection to limit or restrict an allegedly abusive parent’s access to the child entirely.
If one parent is diagnosed as mentally ill or is found to be abusing drugs or alcohol, those would be valid reasons for supervised parenting time. After a certain amount of time, supervised parenting time orders can be reviewed to determine if they should be reversed or modified. This could happen in cases where an alcoholic parent becomes sober, or if they are under the care of a physician and are seeking treatment or therapy for a mental disorder.

Who Can Supervise Parenting Time?

Once supervised parenting time is ordered, the court can appoint another family member, a friend, or a third party to supervise the visits between a parent and child. Supervised parenting time centers can provide a neutral meeting place where trained staff or social workers can observe the visits. In most scenarios, there is no fee for low-income families to attend these centers.
In Illinois, courts can place other types of restrictions on parenting time if they determine it is necessary or in the best interest of the child, including specifying certain locations for visits,  denying parenting time when the parent is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or restricting overnight parenting time.
Normally, only parents have a legal right to parenting time. In certain situations, however,  grandparents, great-grandparents, step-parents, and siblings can request a visitation order from the court if they so choose.

Contact a DuPage County Parenting Time Lawyer

Divorce can be difficult in many ways. If certain events lead to you being required to have supervised parenting time with your child, you should speak to a diligent Wheaton family law attorney. We can review your case to determine if the order can be reversed or modified. Call our office today at 630-871-1002 for a free consultation.



Why You Might Object to the Divorce Venue Your Spouse Selected

venue, DuPage County divorce attorneysIf your spouse has filed a petition for divorce, he or she had the choice of where the file the petition. This means that your spouse selected the county in which the proceedings for your divorce will take place. You may be somewhat surprised to know that you are not necessarily stuck with the choice your spouse made. He or she may have initiated the divorce action, but you have the right to file an objection to the selected venue. You do, however, need to act quickly.

Understanding Venue

In the practice of the law, the word “venue” means the court system where a given case is heard. It can refer to a county court or a federal district court, but for a divorce in Illinois, a case will be heard in the circuit court of the selected county. The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) provides that a divorce case should be held in the county where at least one of the spouses lives. For example, if the couple has separated, and the wife moved to DuPage County while her husband moved to Will County, the law presumes that the couple will for divorce in either of those counties.

With a valid reason, the petitioner can also select a county where neither of the parties lives. If, for example, the couple mentioned above spent most of their married life in Kane County, or both spouses work near the courthouse in Kane County, it could be argued that Kane County circuit court is a reasonable venue for their divorce.

The Issue of Jurisdiction

It is important to understand the difference between “venue” and “jurisdiction,” because the two terms are often used interchangeably, but they are not the same. While “venue” refers to the court where a case is heard, “jurisdiction” refers to a court’s authority to hear a particular case. The IMDMA specifies that all county courts in Illinois have the jurisdiction to hear a divorce case, regardless of where in the state the parties live. This means that a court’s decision in a divorce cannot be appealed on the grounds that the particular county court lacked the authority to rule on the case.

When to Challenge the Venue

Your spouse may have chosen a specific venue for any number of reasons, including that he or she did not realize that there were options. If those reasons could give your spouse an unfair advantage during the proceedings, your attorney can help you file an objection. You may wish to contest the choice of venue if:

  • Your spouse is well known or has significant influence in a given county that could affect a court’s impartiality;
  • The chosen county court is known for ruling a certain way on particular divorce issues; or
  • The chosen county is unreasonably far away from you, making court appearances unnecessarily difficult.

If you choose to object to the venue, you must do in your response to your spouse’s filing. Motions regarding venue will not generally be heard once the case begins.

We Can Help

To learn more about the importance of venue in an Illinois divorce, or to challenge your spouse’s selection, contact an experienced DuPage County divorce attorney. Call 630-871-1002 for a free, no-obligation consultation at Andrew Cores Family Law Group today.