Child Custody Litigation

Kane County Courthouse  |  Geneva, Illinois

Given the emotional nature of child custody matters, parents can quickly find themselves in the midst of a court battle. With so much on the line, it is important that you have an attorney who understands how to get results in litigation, protecting your rights as a parent and the relationship you have with your child.

At Petti Murphy & Associates, our lawyers are prepared to go to battle for you in court, putting together legal strategies that will protect you and your children.

The Child Custody Litigation Process — Navigating Custody Disputes

Where there is a dispute over which parent should have residential custody of a minor child, this dispute must be resolved within 18 months from the divorce. Typically, in such a dispute a Guardian Ad Litem is appointed by the Court to interview the parents, and the minor child or children and then make a recommendation to the Court as to which of the parents should have residential custody of the minor child in the opinion of the GAL.

The GAL's opinion may be rebutted by the hiring of an independent expert by the nonrecommended spouse. This expert is often a psychologist who would have the right to interview the parents, and the minor child or children and testify as to why the spouse who has hired him or her should receive residential custody of the children.

The object always is to determine what is in the "best" interests of the minor child or children — not which of the contesting spouses feels more entitled to have residential custody of the child or children.

Another alternative to having a Guardian Ad Litem appointed, is to retain the services of an independent psychologist who is known as a Rule 604(b) evaluator.

The fees involved for such a psychologist can be quite expensive. Such psychologists are very adept and expert at determining what is in the best interest of the minor child or children. Again, the opinion of a 604(b) evaluator may be rebutted by another expert physiologist hired by the nonrecommended parent. Such an expert is known as a Supreme Court Rule 605 evaluator. Such an evaluator/psychologist is a "hired gun" so to speak as the expert is testifying on behalf of the spouse who has not been recommended by the initial 604(b) psychologist evaluator.

From the above, it may be concluded that often the best course is for the parents to reach agreement as to which parent should have residential custody of the children, if possible.