Child Custody and Visitation in Illinois

Child Custody and Visitation Laws in Illinois Aren’t Just About You and Your Spouse, It’s About Your Children as Well

In many divorces, spouses fight over child custody and visitation, often without considering the most important factor in the dispute: The children themselves.

During any divorce proceeding, the children and their best interests are what matter most in deciding disputes regarding custody and visitation. At Lawrence R. Surinak Ltd., we treat child custody and visitation as two of the most important issues, prioritizing the interests and emotional well-being of the children and our clients in all matters.

Until 2016, There Were Two Types of Custody in Illinois: Sole and Joint

Prior to the beginning of 2016 in Illinois, there were two types of custody granted in any divorce: Sole custody and joint custody:

  • Sole Custody – One parent makes all important decisions regarding the minor children. The other parent maintains visitation rights but cannot influence decisions.
  • Joint Custody – Joint custody allows former spouses to work together and make decisions in the interest of the minor children, although the children will still live with one parent the majority of the time.

Today, custody is referred to as “parental responsibilities.” These responsibilities are all allocated between the parties with a parenting plan that better specifies the authority each parent holds in making significant decisions for the children.

Please click here to learn more about parental responsibilities as part of your divorce in DuPage, Kendall, Kane, or Will County.

Establishing Parenting Rights for Parents in Illinois

Because there is no longer “custodial” or “non-custodial” parents, both parents are granted parenting time with their children according to a set schedule.

Like most matters involving children and divorce, the parenting schedule must be in the best interest of the children. This means that all minor children should enjoy reasonable time with both parents and both parents should play an integral role in the upbringing and support of the children.

To learn more about parenting schedules and your rights as a non-custodial parent, please click here.

Every Family is Different, as is Their Ideal Child Custody and Visitation Arrangements

At Lawrence R. Surinak Ltd., we understand that the needs and situations of each family are different. That’s why we combine a communicative approach and over 35 years of experience to serve as a positive influence in identifying the best custody and visitation arrangements for your children.

We understand that child custody and visitation is a confusing topic, especially in light of the recent changes to Illinois child custody laws. If you have any questions or concerns regarding either of these topics in your divorce, don’t hesitate to contact us at 630-470-9990 to discuss your situation or to set up a free, 30-minute consultation with Larry. You can also set up an appointment or submit questions via our convenient online form.

We look forward to discussing your circumstances and offering the best course of action for your needs.


Child Custody and Visitation in Illinois: What You Need To Know

Parental Responsibilities: Both Parents Working Together in the Best Interest of Their Child(ren)

Divorcing parents often worry about the same issues when it comes to their children:

  • How often will I get to see my children?
  • How difficult is it going to be to share the children’s time with their already busy schedules?
  • Will the children be living with me or my former spouse?

These common concerns can cause great emotional stress, especially because both parents care about the well-being of their children. Likewise, these issues can bring out the worst in both parents who sometimes view a parenting schedule as a way to hurt the other parent.

At Lawrence R. Surinak Ltd., we view children as the most important individuals involved in any divorce, aside from our clients, of course. As such, we approach custody, now referred to as parental responsibility as of January 1, 2016, with the best interests of the children in mind. Doing so allows us to protect the interests of our clients while ensuring that the children get to spend time with both their mother and father.

There are New Illinois Child Custody Laws, all of Which are Designed to Better Meet Your Family’s Needs

Prior to January 1, 2016, Illinois was like many other states as there were two types of custody in any divorce: Sole or joint custody. Likewise, one parent was named the Residential Custodial parent while the other, non-custodial parent was granted a visitation schedule.

Although this worked for many families, the new laws make it possible for both parents to play an active role in the lives of their children. As such, both parents share parenting time according to a parenting schedule that is drafted and accepted during your divorce proceeding. 

As you can imagine, not all parents are amicable or cooperative regarding the best schedule for their children’s needs. Drafting and agreeing upon a parenting schedule can be contentious and force many cases into litigation. But at Lawrence R. Surinak Ltd., we pursue a collaborative approach to avoid the high costs of litigation and reach an agreement with your spouse outside of the courtroom.

There are Several Issues That Must be Addressed in any Parenting Plan 

As your children enter their formative years, there are several issues that must be addressed and agreed-upon to ensure their successful upbringing. For parents who agree upon how to raise their children, drafting a parenting plan is relatively simple. But for parents who disagree, it can be a time-consuming, difficult process.

There are several issues that should be addressed in any parenting plan, including:

  • Living arrangements
  • Decisions regarding education, child care, healthcare, and important matters like religion
  • Discipline
  • Household rules
  • Extracurricular activities
  • Procedures in case of emergency

Of course, the parenting schedule will also designate who the children are with and at what times. Doing so offers parents clarity in how their weeks will unfold and children the stability of a “home” during this time of transition in their lives.

Contact Lawrence R. Surinak Ltd. With Your Questions or Concerns Regarding Parental Responsibility in Your Divorce 

As a parent, it’s natural to be concerned with the future and well-being of your children. For this reason, it’s important to retain an attorney and team who will represent not only your best interests, but the best interests of your children as well.

If you have questions regarding parental responsibilities or would like to set up a free, 30-minute consultation to speak to Larry one-on-one, contact a member of our team at 630-470-9990. If you prefer, you can also request an appointment or ask a question via our convenient online form.

We look forward to providing you with the guidance and support necessary for both you and your children during your case.


Child Visitation: What You Need To Know

Child Visitation is Important for Both Parents to Play an Active Role in the Lives of Their Children

For children, spending time with both parents is essential to maintaining a healthy, productive life following their parent’s divorce. For this reason and several others, establishing child visitation, or parenting time, schedule is vital for the well-being and happiness of the parents and the children alike.

At Lawrence R. Surinak Ltd., your children’s interests always come first in a divorce. As such, we strive to resolve visitation disputes in mediation, but will defend our client’s interests in the courtroom as necessary. Doing so guarantees that your children receive the stable, bright future they deserve and ensures you enjoy the same as well.

There are a Number of Important Factors That Must be Accounted for When Creating a Parenting Schedule 

In almost all divorce cases, both parents are guaranteed parenting time with their children. However, no two parenting schedules will look alike, especially because each is influenced by highly personal factors and individual details.

Just some of these factors include:

  • The preferences of both parents
  • The age of the minor children
  • The level of involvement both parents played before the divorce was filed; and
  • Work schedules and other varied, logistical factors

While all of these factors will play a role in the parenting time schedule, one factor is more important than all others: The children. And at our firm, we focus our attention on the needs and preferences of the children to ensure they are accounted for first in all child visitation-related matters.

Using Mediation to Reach an Agreement That Works for All Parties

Our approach in most any divorce is to use mediation as a means to amicably address disputes between two spouses regarding parenting time. This strategy minimizes costs while expediting a divorce, allowing both parents and their children to begin life anew and focus on establishing a regular schedule once again.

In some cases where our clients and their spouses cannot agree on certain visitation-related matters, litigation is required. The Court will appoint a Guardian Ad Litem to meet with the children and determine how we can adjust a parenting schedule to best meet their needs. In doing so, we guarantee that once again, your children’s needs are put first.

Contact Our Team to Discuss Your Questions and Concerns in Greater Detail

If you’re filing for divorce in the Naperville area, the team at Lawrence R. Surinak Ltd. can help. We offer over 35 years of experience on child visitation and related matters, ensuring that both you and your children are accounted and provided for following your divorce.

If you have questions or concerns regarding parenting schedules in your divorce or would like to schedule your free, 30-minute consultation with Larry, please contact us at 630-470-9990. If you prefer, you can also ask a question or request an appointment via our convenient online form.

We understand that child visitation can be an overwhelming and confusing topic. Let our team help you through this process by contacting us, today!