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move, Wheaton family law attorneyFathers' rights are a critical issue for many Illinois men, especially with respect to questions of child relocation. When one parent tries to move a child out-of-state without the other parent's consent (or knowledge), it may be necessary for the other to seek a court order to protect their own parent-child relationship. Even when the mother has legal and physical responsibility for the child, Illinois law can still protect a father's interest in maintaining an active role in the child's life.

Court Says Five-Month “Visit” Established Child's Residency

A recent case from here in DuPage County illustrates how the courts can protect father-child relationships. In this case, two unmarried parents have a five-year-old child. The mother has custody. She lives in North Carolina, but in October 2013, the mother allowed the child to stay with the father's parents in Illinois while she underwent a minor surgical procedure. The father, a member of the United States armed forces, was on active duty during this time.

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name, Wheaton family law attorneyMany people choose to change their name following a divorce, either to go back to their premarital last name or to adopt the surname of a new spouse. Illinois divorce decrees typically contain language authorizing a spouse to resume use of a maiden name. But even if the spouse does not wish to immediately change their name following a divorce, they are typically free to do so later by petitioning an Illinois court.

If an ex-spouse also wishes to change the last names of their children, however, the law is a bit more complicated. A judge will only approve such a name change if it is in the child's “best interest.” Illinois law specifies a number of factors the court must consider in deciding a parent's application to change their child's name:

  • Does the other parent or person with “physical custody” of the child approve?
  • Does the child want to change their name?
  • What is the “interaction or interrelationship” between the child and their parents or other family members? For example, if a mother wishes for her child to adopt her last name, what is the extent of the child's relationship with the father?

Court Enjoins Mother From Unilaterally Changing Kids' Last Names

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Posted on in Child Custody

custody order, DuPage County family law attorneyWhen an Illinois court issues a judgment regarding child custody arrangements, both parents must abide by the judge's decision. If a parent is dissatisfied with the terms of the order, he or she must pursue a legal avenue for seeking to amend the decision. A parent must never try to circumvent a child custody order by taking actions designed to undermine the rights and responsibilities of the other parent.

Mother Loses Custody After Making False Abuse Allegations Against Father

Indeed, such actions can backfire, as a recent Illinois appeals court decision illustrates. This case involves a divorced couple with three young children. Six years ago, an Illinois circuit court issued a custody order giving the mother “sole custody” while granting certain visitation rights to the father. The custody order further required the mother to “consult” with the father regarding “major health and education matters” affecting the children.

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Posted on in Child Custody

fathers, DuPage County family law attorneysIn the past - and, unfortunately, at times still today - the courts have traditionally favored mothers when it comes to deciding which parent should be granted primary custody, or whether fathers can share equally in both parenting time and the right to make important decisions about their children's lives.

Illinois has made strides in recent years towards recognizing that fathers play just as important a caretaking role as mothers do and deserve equal treatment when it comes to custody decisions. Our experienced parental responsibilities lawyers believe strongly that neither parent should - based solely on his or her gender - have a right to an automatic presumption of custody.

Rather, the court should consider the best interest of the child, the existing relationship between a child and each of his or her parents, the stability of a parent's home environment, and the type of support each parent provides the child, including financial, physical, emotional, and educational support, among other factors.

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Posted on in Child Custody

relocation, Wheaton family law attorneysOne parent's relocation can significantly impact a parenting plan. If you have a parenting plan in place and you are considering relocation, or you learn that your child's other parent is planning to relocate, you will need the help of an experienced family law attorney in Illinois.

Factors Considered by Court for Relocation

There are several factors the court will consider when deciding for or against relocation when a parenting plan is in place. The court will look at how the current arrangement will be affected and whether similar or comparably fair division of parenting time will be feasible if the relocation occurs.

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