Child Custody at O'Flaherty Law

Not All Child Custody Lawyers Are The Same

The child custody lawyer you select will have a significant impact on your life, and your child’s life, potentially for years. When you are thinking about who you want on your side in a custody dispute, you need to look for a team that will keep you informed, explain the details of your case to you and always assert your rights as a parent in court. O’Flaherty Law is that team.

O’Flaherty Law takes a proactive approach to custody disputes and provides the client with the information and support they need to get the best possible result in court. You won’t have any trouble getting in touch with your attorney or the support staff at O'Flaherty Law and you can expect to have your questions and concerns addressed quickly, with regular status updates and strategy discussions.  

When you choose O’Flaherty Law to represent you, you can rest assured that you not only have an experienced child custody lawyer, you have an experienced child custody team who is ready to work hard and see that your rights as a parent are protected.  

O'Flaherty Law Family Lawyers - What We Can Offer

We believe in comprehensive legal service, which is why our family law attorneys can handle many areas of law, including:

Remote Consultation

The uncertainty of the Coronavirus, doesn't mean you have to put your legal needs on hold. You can receive a consultation and most legal services without leaving your home. Our attorneys are happy to speak to you by phone, video conference, or e-mail.

Divorce Lawyers

Our divorce law team has experienced lawyers knowledgeable in each area of divorce. Backed up by paralegals and legal assistants, we are a complete divorce law firm.

Family Law

When you are trying to deal with a family law issue or are considering adding a member to your family, it is essential that you have an experienced family law attorney on your side to guide you through the process.

Child Support

Child support is a complex matter and point of significant distress during the divorce process. Still each parent has a responsibility to support their children after divorce or separation. We help you simplify the process.

Alimony

Calculating spousal support, also known as alimony, can feel unfair to both parties in a divorce. At O'Flaherty Law, we are committing to your best interests and securing your financial future.

Expertise Best Child Support Lawyers in Chicago 201710 Best 2016 Client Satisfaction American Institute of Family Law AttorneysAvvo Clients' Choice 2016 DivorceRising Stars Kevin P. O'Flaherty SuperLawyers.com10 Best Law Firms 2018 Client Satisfaction American Institute of Family Legal Counsel Attorneys Estate Planning Law

Our Family Law and Child Custody Attorneys are Here to Guide You Through Your Custody Case!

Child custody is often a hotly debated issue in a divorce with minor children or between partners who were unmarried but have children together. The emotional component of the situation cannot be overstated. It can be a time of incredible frustration and worry for parents. Furthermore, there is a lot of confusion about parental rights are and how the court will determine child custody and visitation. The team at O’Flaherty Law will make sure that you are fully informed on all aspects of your child custody case and what you can reasonably expect given your individual circumstances.

Attorney Consultation

The purpose of a consultation is to determine whether our firm is a good fit for your legal needs. Although we often discuss expected results and costs, our attorneys do not give legal advice unless and until you choose to retain us. We take your legal matters very seriously, which is why with each consultation, we strive to ensure you feel confident about the future of your case.

  • Attorneys experienced in many areas of law
  • Sympathetic yet effective counsel
  • Putting the best interests of you and your children first!
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What to Expect from Your Child Custody Attorney

You will have an initial consultation with an attorney at O'Flaherty Law, where you will discuss your situation and they will advise if they can offer the help that you need. Once you have retained O’Flaherty Law, we will move forward on achieving your legal goals, whether that first step is setting up mediation or preparing for a court appearance. Our policy at O’Flaherty Law is open door communication between the team and the client, so you can expect regular updates that address all of your questions and concerns. Experienced representation from O’Flaherty Law is guaranteed, our family law attorneys are extremely experienced in all family law issues and related litigation.

How Does the Court Determine Who Should Have Custody?

The court will consider many factors when deciding custody and visitation; most important being what is in the child's  best interest, which may not always align with what is most convenient for the parents. Some states will begin with an automatic presumption that joint legal custody of the child is in the child's best interest, allowing for both parents to make decisions on the child's behalf. Of course, that presumption can be overcome with proper evidence.

States will then look at who spends the most time with the child, taking care of the child, and will factor that into a custody decision. The court wants to try and create as much consistency as possible for the child, and that could mean the child staying with the parents who give them the most time and day-to-day care.

Child custody cases will always “fall back” to the best interest standard, and the question of if the child would be better cared for by one or both parents. The court will consider the mental and emotional health of the child and both parents, If the child is old enough the court will also consider the child's wishes when making a custody decision.

Our Team Will Coach You Through Child Custody Mediation

The Court uses required child custody mediation but there is a positive aspect to mediation, this is your opportunity to create an arrangement you can live with, as opposed to an order you have to follow. You are allowed to have your attorney present for a mediation session and often clients choose this option. Mediation is where you sit down with your spouse and a neutral third-party mediator to try and work out a parenting plan and a custody arrangement. Your attorney can be with you to step outside the mediation and discuss the long-term consequences of an arrangement or if an issue is something you should litigate in court.

There are Multiple Child Custody Types

Sole custody is precisely what it sounds like, sole legal and physical custody. The other parent might get visitation but won’t have a say in decisions affecting the child’s daily life. The court rarely awards sole legal and physical custody; it's use is only for the most extreme cases.

There are two main types of custody, physical and legal. The court favors joint legal and would like to grant joint physical is that is feasible. Again, the decision is based on many factors, and everyone’s situation is different. You will need to have a frank conversation with your attorney about what you think is achievable regarding joint physical custody.

Our Lawyers will Fight For Your Child Custody Rights in Court (If Necessary!)

If it turns out that your custody issues need litigation, O’Flaherty Law has attorneys who are very experienced at fighting it out in court. Your rights as a parent should be protected and at O’Flaherty Law we are ready to litigate if it comes to that. Ideally, a custody agreement can be agreed upon in mediation but if it’s not, you will have experienced and aggressive representation in court. We understand the importance of being part of your child's health, education, and religious decisions.

Frequently Asked Questions

We will be available to you for any questions you have as we help you with your child custody case. We want you to feel that every question and concern we has been addressed when your final custody order is entered, so that you can move on from the experience with a lighter step, feeling confident about the results, and happy with our representation of you. Although we will be available to answer all of your questions during your custody case, here are few of the most frequently asked questions.

What is a Child Custody Agreement?

A child custody agreement is a document that lays out the terms for the physical and legal custody of your child or children and a visitation schedule. The preference is for the parents of the children to at least attempt to come up with their own custody agreement. Mutually decided agreements tend to make everyone happier and have fewer long-term problems. However, if the parents are unable to agree, the court will have them try to work it out in mediation.

A child custody agreement is not set in stone. You can have your attorney ask the court for the modification of the agreement, providing you a strong, legal reason.  

Do I Have to Go Through a Child Custody Evaluation?

It depends. In some states, if the parents cannot reach a child custody agreement on their own or through court-ordered mediation, the judge might order a child custody evaluation. If the court orders it, you have to participate in the assessment. Not complying with the evaluation could hurt your chances at the custody you want.

The child custody evaluation is usually conducted by a counselor or therapist who is experienced in working with children. The evaluator will interview you, the other parent, and any children before writing a report and making a recommendation to the court on who should get custody.

Can I Still See My Kids if I Lose Custody?

Yes you can still see your kids if you do not have custody of them. Custody and visitation are two entirely different legal issues, and the non-custodial parent can still see the children.

However, if your parental rights have been terminated, you are not allowed to see the children.

How Long Does it Take to Get a Custody Order?

A temporary order should be in place while the matter is litigated. As soon as one party files for a divorce with minor children, they should request that the court enter a temporary order for custody, visitation and support of those children. If there is a custody dispute, the parents will engage in mediation and, if necessary, take the issue of custody to court. Once the mediation or litigation is finished, the court will enter a permanent custody order. If necessary, that custody order can be modified if and when circumstances change. It is difficult to predict how long it will take to get a permanent custody order in place. It depends on many factors, the most prevalent being how hard the parties fight for custody or if they even fight for custody.

What is the “Best Interest Rule” in Child Custody Cases?

The needs of the child, as opposed to the needs of wants of the parents. What that means in plain language is that the court will consider what the child needs, not what the parents want or if their intentions are good. The court will look at which parents is the most stable and the most likely to provide the right environment, consistency and structure that contributes to the growth and well-being of the child. A court will also consider the responsibility each parent exhibits through their behavior and choices. As one example, a parent with a history of violence or substance abuse would most likely not be the choice that is in the best interest of the child.

Are Custody Types the same for Divorcing Couples Vs. Unmarried Parents?

Yes, your marital status has no bearing on what type of custody you can get. As long as paternity is acknowledged there is no difference between the custody rights of an unmarried parent and a married parent.

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