Should a divorce lawyer fight for child custody?

Sounds like a silly question?  Maybe not so silly, if you were able to get a candid answer from a family law attorney. Many custody lawyers like myself, feel that the label of custody is an illusion for many. Unfortunately, the illusion is promulgated by attorneys that would rather earn a buck than act in their client’s best interests.

Custody seems important, so what do divorce lawyers know that the rest of us don’t?  Well, that’s easy. Largely, custody is mislabeled in Illinois.  In this great State, custody only pertains to making decisions about upbringing. Classic examples are medical decisions, educational decisions, and religious upbringing. Divorce lawyers know, that rarely are these issues the topic of litigation.  Mostly, parents disagree as to how much time each will spend with the children.

Fighting for sole custody (one parent makes decisions) versus joint custody (both making decisions) usually happens when lawyers don’t explain how slight the variance is between these two approaches.  Some lawyers believe it is meaningless all together.  A parent that fights for sole custody is usually not well advised.

A new House Bill pending in Springfield highlights just how silly a custody fight can be.  In that Bill, it proposes to do away with the label of custody, something that good divorce lawyers knew all along.  This Bill, if it becomes law will banish that horrible term that lawyers have capitalized on for so many years.  (I’m curious as to how many exotic sport cars that label has paid for?).

The new Bill (Bill 1452) essentially breaks down the issue in terms of parenting time (the amount of time each parent spends with the child) and responsibilities (with presumptions in favor of both parents).  Seems like a winning plan, unless custody lawyers lobby to protect their wallet.

So, back to the question:  why is your lawyer fighting over custody?


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