When parents are going through a divorce, one or both of them may seek child custody. It is important to understand Illinois law regarding child custody in order to know what to expect.
An individual can research state laws, but people may also want to consider hiring an attorney. One way to identify attorneys is by asking friends and family for recommendations. Parents may want to take the time to talk to several different attorneys about their background in family law. There are a few questions that a parent might ask. One is what types of cases they usually work with and what they feel strongly about. Parents should also be sure to get concrete information about costs, payment terms and how the attorney communicates with updates and information on the case. They should find out how much time the attorney has to devote to the case as well.
Going through divorce and hiring a lawyer does not mean having to go to litigation, and an attorney may be helpful in pursuing a solution outside of court. An attorney may also help a parent understand unfamiliar terms and concepts, such as legal versus physical custody. The former refers to who has the power to make major decisions about the child's life while the latter is about where the child lives.
An attorney may also be able to advise a parent about strategies if it is necessary to go to court. For example, parents may want to bring documentation that establishes their role as primary caregiver to the child. This could include paperwork that shows the parent has been taking the child to medical appointments and attending school meetings. A judge usually also looks more favorably on a parent who shows willingness to cooperate with the other parent.