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Child Custody Issues Interviewer: Can you please give us an overview of child custody issues? Mark Kezy: If my clients have children, I generally start off any discussion with regard to divorce with custody and visitation. The reason is that, usually, that’s the most time consuming and the most expensive part of any divorce. As far as custody goes, a lot of times, people aren’t fighting over joint custody or sole custody. They’re fighting over where the children are going to reside. Sole custody generally means that the children are going to reside with one parent on a day-to-day basis. That parent has the right to make all decisions for the children and the other parent has the right to visitation and the obligation to pay support…

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Common Misconceptions about Child Custody Interviewer: What would you say are some of the top misconceptions that people have about custody? I know you mentioned one earlier. Joint Custody Mark Kezy: One of the top misconceptions about custody is that joint custody means that the children are going to reside with both parents equally. As I explained, that’s really not the case. There’s sole custody and there’s joint custody, but it’s regardless of whether you have a joint custody or sole custody arrangement. The children are going to still reside with one parent on a day-to-day basis. And again, that the other parent has the right to visitation and the obligation to pay support.That doesn’t mean that the children can’t reside…

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What is Mediation and How it Helps the Parents in Child Custody Disputes? When I say custody battle, I’m talking about a battle over where the children are going to reside. In Illinois, if Mother says, “I want the children to reside with me,” and Dad says, “I want the children to reside with me,” one of the first things that happens is that the parties are sent off to mediation. In Cook County, mediation is usually provided through the county. In the outlying suburbs and in other counties, it’s generally done by private attorneys who are provided by the court. Now, one thing about mediation is that the courts will generally send the parties off to mediation immediately, before dealing with any other issues. In mediation, all …

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Failing to Reach an Agreement Regarding Child Custody in Mediation Leads to a Court-Appointed Attorney or the Child’s Representative If people can’t reach an agreement regarding custody and dissertation in mediation, then the next step is generally that the courts will appoint what they call an attorney for the children, or a child’s representative. The child’s representative or attorney for the children is exactly what it sounds like. It’s the attorney who is appointed by the courts. Now, this avenue is more expensive than mediation because you’re going to have to pay a retainer to that children’s attorney. The attorney will generally begin by meeting with the mother and the father and anybody else involved in the case, and…

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Custody Agreements Involving Multiple Children Interviewer: Are the cases any different when there are several children involved? Could it be that one child stays longer with one parent? Mark Kezy: In Orlando, generally, whether it’s one child or two children or three or more, there are not different parenting arrangements for the children. Generally, they treat the children as a unit. You rarely see one kid going to see mom.. Usually, the kids will go together. Mom has parenting time with both or all children at this time and Dad will have parenting time with both or all children at another time. Changes to the Custody Agreement Interviewer: After several years have passed, could there be alterations made to the arrangement? Mark …

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