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Illinois custody attorneyIf you and your spouse have any children, one of you will be ordered to pay child support starting after your divorce proceedings, as well as possibly spousal support. While the court’s decision must stand for the moment, it is possible to modify either support order after enough time has passed. The law holds that there must have been a “substantial change in circumstances” in order to do so, however, and that vague term can sometimes cause confusion.

Timelines Matter

Unlike in other states, a child support or spousal support order may be modified by the court anytime after its entry, though the timing will be scrutinized to ensure that it is being requested for appropriate reasons. (In other words, a modification requested solely to vex the other parent will not only be denied, it may result in a contempt of court citation for the requester.) Also, any support obligation that is already due and owing may not be retroactively modified, even if your request is granted.


Illinios custody attorneyDuring a divorce or custody proceeding, a phrase that comes up with regularity is the “best interests of the child.” This is the standard used by the court to arrive at final decisions on issues like parenting time, but it can sometimes be defined in confusing ways, especially because the same standard can be used for multiple different issues. If you are going to court to discuss custody issues, having an idea of what this standard actually means can be a big help to you.

Parents’ Decisions Usually Honored

First and foremost, it helps to know that the court will only become involved in custody-related questions in some cases, not all. Generally, a court will honor any agreement that you and your spouse come to regarding parenting time, support, and any other issues like healthcare or education unless that agreement can be shown to be manifestly unreasonable. For example, the court will not permit a couple to put all the financial burden of care for a child onto the spouse who makes less money. If you cannot agree or the agreement is unconscionable, the court will step in.


Posted on in Child Custody

Illinois divorce attorneyWhen parents split up, it is not always done with a complete plan in place as to how the couple will share time with the children or parental responsibility. This can sometimes lead to disagreements as to which parent will keep the children and how often the other parent will see them. These disagreements are best settled with a court order, and parents can file for an emergency order while the divorce is pending.

Because both parents have parental rights when it comes to their children, unless a court has previously terminated those rights, each parent has a right to keep the children when the parents are separated. For example, the parents have an informal agreement that the children will stay in the marital home with the mother and visit the father. If the father takes the children for a visit and then decides not to return the children to their mother, the mother would have little recourse without going to court.

Even if the mother calls the police, the police are unlikely to take any action unless the children are in danger. Because both parents have legal rights to have physical custody of the children, the father is not technically breaking any law by keeping the children. The father is only breaking the terms of the informal agreement with the mother.


The state of Illinois recognizes that many children may experience negative short-term and long-term effects related to their parents' divorce. To help mitigate the impact, parents with minor children who file for divorce are required to attend and complete a class. DuPage County offers a helpful summary of the parent education requirement and information about enrolling in the mandatory class.

What is the Law?


Posted on in Child Custody

child custody, parental rights, Illinois Family LawyerIn Illinois, it is possible for you to become your spouse's child's legal parent by adopting him or her after you marry his or her parent. This is known as a stepparent adoption. Stepparent adoptions, like other types of adoption, are covered under a state law known the The Adoption Act.

Adopting your spouse's child involves a very different process than adopting a child through an agency or a private adoption and in most cases, it is a much easier process to complete. If the child's other parent is involved in his or her life, he or she must consent to the adoption. Additionally, there are certain obligations that you must fulfill to complete the process.

The Stepparent Adoption Process

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