“My wife and I talk regularly but we don’t agree on anything. We don’t agree on whether the children should go to private school or religious school or whether the children should live at my house or at her house. Can’t we just split the kids up so that they live we me 50% of the time and with her 50% of the time? Why can’t they practice my religion during my week and her religion during her week?”

“My spouse doesn’t permit me to speak to our daughter on the telephone. She always tells me that she is busy or asleep. What are my rights?”

“I have moved on and live with my new partner. Our home is safe and pleasant and the children enjoy spending time there. My spouse won’t permit our children to visit my home until she inspects it and interviews my new partner. What do you advise?”

“I would like to set up a skype or video conferencing mechanism to communicate with my children when I am on business trips. My spouse won’t cooperate. What can I do?”

Often the most difficult, time consuming and heart rendering cases are those involving custody and visitation disputes. Custody and visitation orders define the parties’ rights and responsibilities toward their children. As the children grow and their parent’s circumstances change, modification of custody and visitation orders may be in the children’s best interests. Julie will discuss with you the law pertaining to custody and visitation, the burden of proof to modify orders and the process involved. Under current law the court will act to resolve custody disputes within 18 months following a procedure established by statute involving mandatory attendance at parenting classes, mediation, the appointment of a child’s representative or guardian ad litem and potentially the appointment of an evaluator to assess the best interests of the child. Under certain circumstances that time limit may be exceeded. Currently Illinois law provides for statutory awards of sole or joint custody. However the overhaul of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act may impact how custody awards are designated and how custody/decisionmaking is shared between the parents.