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Springfield, Illinois Divorce Law Blog

How we advocate for a father's joint custody rights

Due to a recent change in Illinois law, it is now more appropriate to talk about commonly known family law concepts such as "custody" and "parenting time" as an "allocation of parental responsibilities." Parental responsibilities include not only seeing one's child, but also how Illinois parents will make decisions on big issues like healthcare, religion and education.

In short, what was once thought of as joint custody is now just a subset of "parental responsibilities" that a court, or the two parents, must cover as part of a comprehensive parenting plan, which is supposed to lay down ground rules for a couple going through a divorce or other child custody case.

Parenting coordinators as resource in custody cases

A previous post on this blog talked about how a guardian ad litem can be a valuable resource to fathers, as well as mothers, when it comes to solving a child custody case. This blog has also mentioned that mediation is a good way for parents to work out their issues regarding child custody and parenting time outside of court.

Yet another resource Springfield, Illinois, parents can use when working through a child custody dispute is a parenting coordinator. A parenting coordinator is not the same as a guardian ad litem or custody mediator, but they do many of the same things.

How a guardian ad litem can benefit fathers

Like several states, Illinois courts may use a guardian ad litem in a child custody case. The reason for appointing a guardian ad litem is so the court can have a better idea of what custody arrangement is in the best interest of the child.

Generally speaking, a guardian ad litem, or GAL, is an attorney, but does not have to be. In custody cases, the GAL's role is to investigate the child's living circumstances and also to speak with those involved in the child's life, as well as the child. After doing an investigation, the GAL files a report with the court summarizing their conclusions and making recommendations to the judge. The judge does not have to accept these recommendations, and either parent may contest or add to the GAL's report or call the GAL as a witness in the custody case.

The importance of fighting for joint legal custody

Many Springfield, Illinois, residents get very focused on how much time they get to spend with their children and for good reason. After all, it is very hard for a dad to bond with his children and develop his relationship with them if he's only allowed to see them on a very limited basis.

However, dads should also be concerned about advocating for one of the most important fathers' rights, which is the right to ask an Illinois court hearing their custody case to award joint legal custody.

We can help in a child support dispute over income

A previous post discussed how, even with the recent changes in the way Illinois determines child support, the income of each parent still makes a lot of difference when it comes to determining the dollar amount of a parent's weekly child support payment.

While a Springfield, Illinois, resident might think that figuring out each parent's income is relatively straightforward, such is not always the case. Sometimes, a person makes irregular income that can be hard to average or even calculate correctly. At other times, a parent makes income from sources other than employment or self-employment, and this circumstance can be grounds for a dispute.

What constitutes income for child support purposes?

11494725_S.jpgAlthough child support in Illinois is determined by a set formula, even under the recently revised guidelines, how much a parent should pay can still be a controversial family law question. After all, Springfield couples can argue quite a bit about what raw numbers should go in to the Illinois' child support formula, especially when it comes to deciding how much income each parent makes.

In Illinois, a parent's income includes every dollar that the parent makes, even if the income is not taxable under either federal or Illinois law. This means that all income should be included in child support calculations, even if that income can later be offset by expenses.

Is it true that moms are the preferred custodial parent?

11517768_S.jpgIt is hard to deny that, historically, if a Springfield, Illinois dad was not living in the same home as his children for any reason, he was unlikely to get primary custody of the children absent something extraordinary like a credible allegation of domestic violence, drug abuse or something of the like.

However, particularly with the advent of the fathers' rights movement and a deeper appreciation of the important role fathers play in the lives of their children, there has been a deeper appreciation for what has, legally speaking, been true for a long time in Illinois: specifically, that when it comes to child custody, a father and a mother are on equal footing.

Understanding how paternity tests are conducted

15364909_S.jpgAs previously discussed, some Illinois parents have to deal with paternity issues. This family law problem could arise for various reasons, but the underlying question that is being asked when paternity is at issue is whether a man is or is not the biological father of a child. Proving or disproving paternity could help a man obtain a relationship with their child, help a man terminate child support obligations or help a mother secure child support.

In order to establish paternity, a paternity test must be conducted. This is test that uses the DNA of a child and the presumed father. This methodology evaluates the DNA samples collected, determining whether the individuals are biologically related as parent and child. A paternity DNA test thereby determines if a man is the father of a child.

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Stange Law Firm, PC

Stange Law Firm, PC
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Springfield, Illinois 62701

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