Illinois child custody exchange sites play important role

On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in Child Custody on Wednesday, December 11, 2013.

Co-parenting is very difficult for many Illinois residents. Even when a divorced couple’s relationship remains fairly amicable, it can be tough for exes to get on the same page when it comes to parenting. And, when the relationship between ex-spouses is adverse – as is often the case after divorce – sharing physical and/or legal custody of children is easier said than done.

Many divorced individuals never want to see or communicate with their exes again, but this is not very realistic for co-parents who must split time with children. However, the state of Illinois does make resources available to help such parents minimize friction.

Illinois has child custody exchange sites that parents may use to exchange custody of children without having to see each other face-to-face. The buildings are managed by the state government, and they provide a safe, supervised and neutral place where one parent can leave a child for the other parent to pick up or visit him or her. This type of transition can be beneficial for parents as well as for children who would otherwise witness arguing between their parents during pickups and drop-offs.

The centers are funded by $5 fees that are assessed to all divorced couples.

Last year, a divorced couple filed a lawsuit, challenging the constitutionality of the fee, claiming that it is a tax. The lawsuit asked counties to reimburse couples who have paid the fee. A trial court and an appellate court have now ruled against the plaintiffs, finding that the fee benefits the courts; the child exchange centers help prevent disputes from occurring and ending up in the courts.

The plaintiffs plan to file an appeal.

Parents who are interested in exchanging custody at neutral sites may wish to discuss this with their family law attorneys.

Source: Belleville News-Democrat, “Judges rule in favor of $5 fee for child custody exchange centers,” Elizabeth Donald, Nov. 19, 2013

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