Child CustodyFollowing an appeal to California’s Supreme Court, a foster family hopes to maintain custody of their 6-year-old foster child. The girl, named Lexi, is at the center of a battle between her foster parents and her relatives, who are related to her biological father. A lower court has ruled that the child should be placed with her relatives, even though she had been in the foster family’s care since she was 17 months old. The case highlights some of the unique issues faced by families in custody disputes, whether involving fostering, divorce, child support, or other custody-related concerns. In the case of Lexi, the courts considered custody laws and the best interests of the child, including the location of her siblings, her Native American heritage, and other factors.

Common Child Custody Issues

A custody battle can be emotionally charged and highly contentious. It can become a conflict in which the child’s best interests aren’t the foremost consideration for the parents. They may disagree on where the child should live, how much parenting time each should have, primary decision making responsibilities, and how much child support should be paid. Couples who can discuss these issues in a civil manner typically have an easier time going through custody hearings and handling the situation in a way that’s beneficial both for them and the child.

As of January 1, 2016, the state of Illinois started using the phrase “allocation of parental responsibilities,” rather than custody in child custody cases. The allocation of parental responsibilities includes decisions about which parent will make the major decisions for the child, where the child will reside, and how much parenting time is allocated to each parent. If the parents were unmarried, the court will make a determination of paternity. For married couples, paternity is assumed unless contested by one party or the other. A child custody attorney is essential to ensuring that parental rights are protected, especially in cases where there are major disagreements between the parties.

Handling Custody Issues Effectively

Consulting with a Chicago child custody attorney can be the most effective way for a parent to protect their rights, including access to their child, a fair share of parenting time, and decision making responsibilities. Parental rights and custody issues are governed by a complex set of laws. Without an attorney, it can be difficult to understand all the different factors that go into allocating parental rights.