Child Custody in Illinois: What You Need to Know
The Uniform Child-Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act is a uniform State law that was passed in 1997. According to the Department of Justice, the law was passed “to deter interstate parental kidnapping and promote uniform jurisdiction and enforcement provisions in interstate child-custody and visitation cases.” According to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Protection, each year “more than 1,000,000 children in the U.S. are affected by the divorce of their parents.” The agency suggests that half of all children born to married parents will go through their parents’ divorce before their 18th birthday.
The law is not a custody statute, and does “not dictate standards for making or modifying child-custody and visitation decisions.” Instead, it “requires State courts to enforce valid child-custody and visitation determinations made by sister State courts.” The state in which a child is determined a legal resident is the state allowed to hold the custody hearings. For a child to be considered an Illinois resident, he:
- must have lived in Illinois for the last six months (or since birth)
- has lived in Illinois within the past six months and one of the parent’s resides there
- no other home state, and either there’s evidence that the child’s care and relationships exist in Illinois or one parent has significant connections in the state
Some states consider joint custody to always be in the best interest of the child: not so in Illinois. According to the Illinois General Assembly, “there shall be no presumption in favor of or against joint custody.” The child’s wishes will be considered with equal importance as the wishes of the battling parents.
Child custody is only one of the complicated steps a divorcing couple must go through. Don’t do it alone. Contact an experienced Illinois family law attorney today.
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