Barrington Child Custody Attorney

Child Custody Lawyers in Barrington, IL

In any divorce where children are present, making sure they have involvement with and support from their parents is an important factor to consider. When parents separate or divorce, parental rights can be incorporated into the legal separation or divorce decree. When parents are unmarried, they must first establish paternity before parenting time can be decided.

At Manassa Law, P.C., the best interest of your child is our primary concern. Each Barrington child custody attorney at our law firm is dedicated to helping parents maintain a healthy relationship with their children. In other words, our experienced family law attorneys can help you resolve your divorce and parenting matters in a way that protects your children and preserves your parental rights.

Barrington Child Custody Guide

Manassa Law Team

Why You Need a Family Law Attorney for Child Custody in Barrington, IL

First, it's important to clarify that Illinois no longer uses the word "custody" in family law situations. Instead, courts will determine "parental responsibilities." Also, instead of visitation, "parenting time" and "parenting schedules" will be established. Since most people are more familiar with discussing custody and visitation, we'll use both sets of terms here.

Having a family law attorney by your side in a child custody case is invaluable for several reasons:

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  • Guidance: Our family law attorneys are well-versed in Barrington’s child custody laws and can provide legal help tailored to your specific situation.
  • Representation in Court: If your case goes to court, your attorney will represent you, presenting your case effectively and arguing for the parenting arrangement that best protects your child’s interests.
  • Negotiation Skills: Family law attorneys have negotiation skills when it comes to reaching a favorable agreement with the other parent, often without needing a court trial.
  • Handling Legal Procedures: These cases involve complex procedures and documentation. Our family law attorneys make sure all paperwork is correctly filed and deadlines are met, avoiding potentially costly mistakes.
  • Child’s Best Interests: A Barrington child custody attorney is adept at demonstrating to the court what is in the best interests of children, which is the paramount consideration in these cases.
  • Stress Reduction: Dealing with custody issues can be emotionally taxing. An attorney takes on all complex legal issues, allowing you to focus on your child’s emotional well-being.

In short, a Barrington child custody attorney from our law firm provides essential support, representation, and guidance, making a significant difference in the outcome of your child custody case.

We Help Create Parental Arrangements That Meet Your Needs

While the best interest of the child is the ultimate standard that must be met for any arrangement to be approved by the courts, parents have the opportunity to negotiate creative parenting arrangements that meet the specific needs of their situation.

Maintaining an amicable relationship with your former partner will help facilitate agreements. When feasible, this will be our goal. Our attorneys are also accomplished, skilled litigators if we need to argue your position to a judge.

From the moment you contact us for an initial consultation, we will begin exploring your legal options with you. Our attorney-client relationship is one that we take very seriously. We begin by taking the time to listen to your unique circumstances and understand your concerns. We know that every family is different, and parenting solutions need to reflect those differences. That is why we work to help divorcing parents find creative solutions to their issues while keeping the children as the primary focus.

We know that divorce is a highly emotional time. That is why we offer compassionate and caring legal assistance through every phase of the divorce process.

What is a Typical Child Custody Arrangement or Parental Responsibility Agreement?

A typical child custody arrangement after divorce or separation aims to ensure that the child maintains a strong relationship with both parents while also considering factors such as the child's age, the parents' work schedules, and the distance between their homes.

Here are some common elements of a typical custody arrangement:

  1. Physical custody/Primary Parental Responsibilities: One parent may have primary physical custody, meaning the child lives with them most of the time. The other parent has visitation rights or secondary parental responsibility, which could include every other weekend, alternating weeks, one weeknight, or a similar schedule.
  2. Legal custody: Parents often share legal custody, which means they both have the right to make important decisions about the child's upbringing, such as education, healthcare, and religious practices.
  3. Holiday and vacation schedules: Parents typically alternate major holidays and school breaks, ensuring the child spends time with both parents during these special occasions. Summer vacations may be split equally or divided based on the parents' work schedules.
  4. Flexibility and modifications: As the child grows older or if parents' circumstances change (e.g., job schedules or relocation), the custody arrangement may need to be modified. Parents should be open to making changes that prioritize the child's best interests.
  5. Communication and co-parenting: Effective communication between parents is crucial for a successful parenting arrangement. Parents should strive to maintain a cordial relationship and make decisions together for the child's well-being.

It's important to note that every family is unique, and custody arrangements can vary based on individual circumstances.

Some families may opt for joint physical custody, where the child spends roughly equal time with both parents. Others may have sole custody arrangements due to factors such as domestic violence, substance abuse, or a parent's inability to care for the child.

Ultimately, the goal is to create a stable, nurturing environment that supports the child's emotional, physical, and developmental needs.

Different Types of Custody in Barrington


Physical and Legal Custody

As previously mentioned, the term “custody” is no longer used in the legal world. Instead, parents share decision-making responsibilities and physical care of their children. Physical care is awarded to the parent who provides for the child the majority of the time.

This can be just one parent, or both parents can share the care of the child. The parenting plan outlines how much time each parent spends physically with the child, and joint physical care does not necessarily mean equal parenting time. In other words, a couple could share joint physical care, but the child may live with one parent 5 days a week.

Legal decision-making responsibilities are often shared by both parents. This allows both parents the legal rights to jointly make decisions regarding:

What Are Shared Parental Responsibilities?

This arrangement requires the parties to agree that they can co-parent with each other to make major decisions and raise their children. Typically, the courts prefer joint parenting as long as it is in the best interest of the children.

What Is a Sole Decision Maker?

The court will sometimes award one parent the sole right to make decisions concerning the medical, educational, religious, and extracurricular activities of the children. It is only ordered if the courts determine that this arrangement is best for the children.

How Parental Disagreements Are Resolved

Parental disagreements and visitation rights/parenting schedules can be resolved in one of two ways:

  1. Mediation, collaborative law, and negotiation: Parents can meet with each other, an unbiased third party, or their lawyers to reach an agreement on the decision-making and visitation rights. Mediation and negotiation can save divorcing couples a significant amount of time and money. These methods also allow the couple the freedom to reach constructive and creative solutions to their own family issues.
  2. Family court: A family court judge makes the final decision on legal decision-making and visitation rights based on the facts presented and the best interest of the child. This is often the last resort when a couple cannot come to an agreement on their own.

Factors That Can Determine Parental Responsibility

Sometimes, the best interest of the child can be difficult to determine. Therefore, courts use several factors to determine who should have physical care and legal decision-making responsibilities.

One of the main factors is which parent is the child's "primary caretaker" (the person who does the majority of meal planning and prepping, purchases clothes and does laundry, bathes or grooms the child, and fosters participation in sports or extracurricular activities).

Other factors to consider include:

  • Wishes of the child (if the child is old enough to express a preference)
  • Religion or cultural considerations
  • Age and gender of the child
  • Mental and physical health of the parents
  • The ability of parents to perform parental responsibilities
  • Adjustment to the child's school or community

How Can I Get Primary Care of My Children?

In Illinois, the courts have one main goal: to do what is in the child's best interest. Most often, the courts believe that spending time with both parents is beneficial to the child and their well-being. However, sometimes it is not. Getting primary physical care of your children is not easy.

Yet, with legal assistance on your side, you may be successful. For instance, if there is a history of domestic violence, substance abuse, or incarceration, our family lawyers can help you protect your children from further harm.

Can I move Out of State with my Children?

Moving out of the state with your children is difficult, but not impossible. Recently, the courts have become more receptive to moves, especially when they improve the lives of the children. However, these types of parenting battles are not easy and can be intense.

You will need to clearly establish to the courts that you are moving for legitimate purposes, that the move will be in the child's best interest, and that you will maintain the child's connection to their other parent. Even when these elements are clearly established, the courts may still not award you the right to move out of state. To discuss your legal options and the possibilities of moving out of the state, call our law firm immediately.

How Can I Change my Child Custody Agreement?

Remember, Illinois no longer uses the term “child custody” so you may need to ask for a modification of your Parenting Agreement. Parents are now allocated parenting time with their children, and they may share in the decision-making process. However, you may need to modify your existing parenting agreement under some circumstances.

Changes in living circumstances and healthcare needs are two main reasons why an existing agreement may need to change. When this occurs, an experienced divorce attorney can walk you through the modification process.

Courts are hesitant to change existing agreements unless you can clearly establish that a change is in the child's best interest, not necessarily in your best interest. For this reason, it is important to let our attorneys build a strong case for you before heading to court.

What is Joint Decision Making or Joint Parenting?

When the court allows both parents to share the responsibilities of making important decisions about their children, it is known as joint decision-making. Parents who are joint decision-makers must make important decisions about healthcare, religion, education, and extracurricular activities together.

The court may also allow both parents to share childcare and parenting responsibilities. This is known as joint physical care or joint parenting. However, joint physical care does not always mean equal parenting time. It simply means that both parents share the responsibilities of physically raising their children.

Your divorce attorney can help you understand the differences and protect your parental rights throughout the process.

Lawrence S. Manassa, Child Custody Laywer

Lawrenc Manassa, Barrington Child Custody Attorney

Contact Manassa Law, P.C. for a Free Initial Consultation

Our Barrington child support lawyers have the experience and ability to successfully manage the most complex cases and look forward to helping you arrive at a result that protects your rights and meets the needs of your children.

Contact us today for a free consultation with one of our Barrington divorce attorneys. We can answer your questions about parental responsibility, child support, spousal support, and divorce.

Our law office is located in Barrington, Illinois. However, our family lawyers also serve clients in: Chicago, Crystal Lake, Arlington Heights, Palatine, Schaumburg, Elgin, Buffalo Grove, Lakewood, Cook County, Lake County, McHenry County, DuPage County, Kane County, and the surrounding communities.

Manassa Law - Barrington Office

1000 Hart Rd 3rd Floor
Barrington, IL 60010

P: (847) 996-9177