Chicago Lawyers Answer Child Custody Arrangement FAQs

Child custody rights can be one of the most complex issues found in family law today. Whether a final decision is reached through mediation or through the courts, it is never a clear cut process. The law firm of Nottage and Ward, LLP has over 20 years of experience with child custody issues throughout the greater Chicago area and has helped countless parents find the resolution they seek. While there are often no easy answers in such disputes, you can rest assured that our attorneys will work tirelessly on your behalf to secure the best possible outcome. For additional information contact us online or continue to the questions below.

What if we cannot agree on our child custody arrangement?

What form of custody does a court usually impose?

Does our child have a say in who gets custody?

If the child chooses, would the court award custody to a stepparent?

How can we determine the best custody arrangement and prevent a possibly unfavorable court custody order if we can't agree on the terms?




Q: What if we cannot agree on our child custody arrangement?

A: The court will decide for you. You should try to work it out. Negotiation is always better than imposition. If you leave it up to the court to decide, you are including the element of surprise. You can never tell what a judge may decide and you may discover that it is neither what you, your spouse, nor your child or children desire.

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Q: What form of custody does a court usually impose?

A: Without a written parental custody agreement, it is presumed that each parent is fit and that a fit parent acts in the best interest of his or her child.

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Q: Does our child have a say in who gets custody?

A: The judge will often appoint an attorney for the child and a psychological evaluator to make recommendations regarding custody and visitation based, in part, on their conversations and interactions with the child.

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Q: If the child chooses, would the court award custody to a stepparent?

A: Oftentimes, it is determined to be in the best interest of the child that the natural parent be awarded custody. The court may, however, decide to give custody to a stepparent under certain circumstances:

  1. The child must be at least 12 years old;
  2. The child resided with the parent and stepparent during at least 5 years of marriage;
  3. The custodial parent is deceased or is disabled and cannot perform parental duties;
  4. The stepparent provided for the care, control, and welfare of the child BEFORE beginning custody proceedings;
  5. The child wishes to live with the stepparent; and,
  6. It is determined to be in the best interests and welfare of the child.

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Q: How can we determine the best custody arrangement and prevent a possibly unfavorable court custody order if we can't agree on the terms?

A: If you and your former spouse cannot agree, but also do not want the court to impose a custody order, it is best to consult with an experienced Illinois family law attorney. The child custody attorneys at Nottage and Ward, LLP have a critical understanding of Illinois custody laws and can work with you to determine the best custody arrangement for your family. To stop the arguing and come to the right decision, call us at (312) 332-2915.

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