Just because you are the other parent of your child are not married does not mean that you cannot both care for your child. At times, unmarried parents may struggle with creating a parenting plan that works for both of them.

A Will County lawyer can help you to create a child custody plan that works for your unique circumstances. Our dedicated attorneys can advocate for your interests to make sure any parenting time plan is fair to you.

The Best Interest of the Child

The laws regarding families of all sorts have been codified in the Illinois Compiled Statutes. In general, when ruling on issues involving children, the courts prioritize the best interest of the children. Per 750 ILCS 5/620.5(c), the court may consider several factors in creating a child custody order, including:

  • The wishes of the child, considering their maturity level
  • The child’s adjustment to their home, school, and community
  • The mental and physical health of all involved individuals
  • The parents’ wishes
  • Distance between the parents’ homes
  • The level of each parent’s past participation in decision-making for the child

A lawyer can help you show that a custody plan would be in the best interests of your children.

Parenting Plans for Unmarried Parents

Under the statutes in Illinois, you may establish paternity by obtaining an Order of Paternity. If the father of the children voluntarily acknowledges paternity, he may declare this to the court as well. After both the father and mother have acknowledged their parentage, they may ask the court to create a child custody order if one was not included in an Order of Paternity.

A child custody order will generally delineate the rights and responsibilities for both you and the other parent. This includes, parenting schedule, decision making, transportation, and financial obligations.

Unmarried parents may petition the court for more time with the children or for a change in primary custody. If the court issues a modification to a child custody agreement between unmarried parents, the changed order will supersede all prior child-sharing mandates. An experienced attorney is well-versed in child custody orders and how they work in cases involving unmarried parents.

Parental Responsibilities for Unmarried Parents

The court may have jurisdiction to allocate parental responsibilities to each unmarried parent. Parental responsibilities may include decision-making abilities for a child’s education, health, and upbringing. In allocating parental responsibilities, the court will always prioritize the best interests of the child.

Sometimes one of the parents may try to introduce evidence of improper conduct on the part of the other parent. However, the court may not consider such allegations, unless the wrongful actions could interfere with that parent’s relationship with the child.

The parties can agree to share in major decisions, which is sometimes referred to as joint custody, or one parent may be awarded sole decision making. When emergencies arise, the parent with physical possession of the child at the time may make an executive decision for the care of the youth regardless of sole versus joint decision making. Moreover, routine choices may be made throughout the day when one parent is with the child even if one parent has sole custody.

Contact a Will County Attorney To Discuss Child Custody for Unmarried Parents

An experienced Will County attorney who has dealt with child custody motions for unmarried parents can help you. Call Reidy Law Office LLC today to discuss your rights as an unmarried parent.