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Illinois: Child Custody Lawyers
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Child Custody and Visitation
Working out a parenting agreement that covers child custody and visitation can be difficult, especially when there is animosity between parents. Whether you're recently separated and looking to learn the basics of types of custody or you've had an open case for years that needs modifications due to life changes, you can find resources here. FindLaw's Child Custody and Visitation directory contains information about many local Illinois attorneys who can help you through your child custody and visitation case.
What Is Child Custody?
Child custody refers to a situation in which a parent (or parents in cases where there is joint legal or physical custody) is charged with the responsibility of raising and protecting their child. During bitter divorce or separation proceedings, or in cases where abuse is alleged to have occurred (either against the child or against a spouse, or both), custody hearings may be brought to court.
What Is Visitation?
Visitation refers to the schedule set out (either mutually by the parents, or by the order of the court) by which the noncustodial parent may be able to see their child. In some cases, there may be zero visitation allowable at the discretion of the custodial parent or the courts, typically in cases of abuse.
Visitation can be supervised or unsupervised, depending on the context of the visitation agreement and schedule, as well as the relationship shared between the custodial parent and the noncustodial parent. Supervised visitation is strictly monitored from a legal perspective, and any violations of agreed-upon or mandated supervision may result in the loss of visitation.
Do You Need a Lawyer in Illinois?
Anyone who is aiming to file a lawsuit or who must defend themselves against a lawsuit (civil) or criminal allegations should find an Illinois lawyer who has experience in the type of case they’re facing. Whether you reside in Illinois or any other state, the rule of law (and the complexity thereof) makes it preferable in most situations to have an attorney to represent your interests in civil or criminal court rather than representing yourself.
Defendants in the Illinois court system — or those facing federal charges for felonies, particularly — will most likely see better results with proper legal counsel. Criminal convictions can result in lengthy jail or prison sentences, as well as the creation of a permanent criminal record for first-time offenders. A skilled lawyer can help you craft the best defense possible, improving your chances of acquittal — and if the prosecution is willing to negotiate rather than go to trial, an attorney can help you get the best deal possible.
If you are seeking restitution, you should consider consulting a lawyer for both civil and criminal court. Whether the defendant is the state or an individual, attorneys working as prosecutors can use a body of provided evidence such as physical evidence, eyewitness accounts, digital communications or surveillance, to create a compelling argument in your favor
In almost all instances, representing yourself in a court of law is not recommended, particularly if the consequences of a conviction (or a failure to successfully prosecute) are significant. Attorneys are often called upon to act as experts, and their expertise can often be invaluable.
How to Find a Lawyer in Illinois
To find an Illinois lawyer, you will want to consider both budget and reputation. It is important to find a lawyer that is within your financial reach but also has strong legal experience and a track record of established success.
Extensive research is also important when selecting a lawyer to represent your best interests. You can check the Illinois State Bar Association to research potential candidates.
Before hiring a lawyer, it’s important to cross-reference results in web searches, to ensure consistent and reliable information. Including checking through prominent cases, social media profiles, local or state media coverage and going directly to the attorney or firm’s website.
How Much Does a Lawyer Cost in Illinois?
In Illinois, a general estimate of the per-hour cost for a lawyer can range from about $130 to $400 per hour, depending on location, expertise and the complexity of the case in question.
In some cases, attorneys may opt to offer clients a flat-rate fee instead of a per-hour fee. This typically arises in criminal defense law as well as certain divorce court proceedings. A fee for a misdemeanor defense is usually far less than the flat fee for a felony defense. Representation on issues related to juvenile offenses and traffic offenses may cost you less than the representation on situations involving corporate law or bankruptcies.
Finally, certain lawyers, such as personal injury lawyers, typically offer clients representation based on contingency. If you win a settlement from such a case, such as slipping and falling at a business establishment and incurring a serious injury, your personal injury lawyer will retain a percentage of your total settlement, rather than charging you any per-hour or flat-rate fees.
If you cannot afford representation in a legal matter, legal aid may be an option to consider.
What Types of Cases Can an Illinois Lawyer Help With?
While an Illinois lawyer can take on cases of any sort, the most common criminal cases in Illinois involve simple assault or aggravated assault, sexual assault, violations of the Controlled Substances Act, burglary (business and residential), driving while under the influence (DUI) and severe violent crime such as homicide and armed robbery.
Illinois lawyers are also typically called upon to represent parties in marital disputes leading to divorce or separation, the custody battles common to such cases, and other civil proceedings.