Crystal Lake Child Custody Litigation Attorneys
Few issues are more important for parents going though divorce than child custody. At Manassa, Stassen & Vaclavek, P.C., our lawyers have the ability to successfully manage the most complex child custody disputes while protecting the interests of your children. With offices in Barrington, Crystal Lake, St. Charles, Oakbrook and Deerfield, we serve clients throughout the Chicago metropolitan area of Illinois.
In any divorce where children are present, the court's concern is for the best interests of the children. Determining those best interests when the parents cannot agree typically involves a child custody evaluation. There are two types of custody evaluations:
• 604(b) custody evaluation: A 604(b) custody evaluation is one performed by the court's experts. Evaluators are typically child psychologists or psychiatrists, but may be licensed social workers with experience in child custody issues. The evaluator is the court's own witness and does not represent either party. The evaluator's report will be used as evidence in your case. A custody evaluator will consider many factors in making a recommendation for custody such as whether the primary residential parent will promote the relationship of the children with the other parent. Therefore, parental alienation, if found, is a very negative factor in a custody evaluation.
• 604.5 custody evaluation: The 604.5 custody evaluation is the same as a 604(b) evaluation, except that it is performed by your expert. You would have to pay for the evaluation and introduce it into evidence. If the expert's opinion is not favorable to your case, you can choose not to have a report written by your expert.
The court will appoint a representative for your child. There are several different types of appointments:
• Guardian ad litem: While often an attorney, a guardian ad litem does not act as an attorney. Instead, he or she is an investigator who can do home visits, observe interactions between the child and each parent, talk to collateral witnesses, and prepare a report that will come into evidence at your trial. A guardian ad litem is the judge's own expert and is subject to cross-examination.
• Attorney for child: An attorney for child or AFC is an attorney who represents your child and does what your child asks him or her to do. An AFC, when appointed, is typically appointed for older children.
• Child representative: A child representative is an attorney who serves a similar role as an AFC. Unlike an AFC, however, a child representative can decide what is in the best interests of the child. A child representative is typically appointed for younger children.
Contact Our Contested Child Custody Attorneys
Call 815-384-2238, 847-282-4051 or 630-412-1178 or email us to schedule a free consultation with one of our Barrington attorneys concerning your child custody questions.
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