These days, many Illinois couples who make the decision to separate may not be married. Whether married or not, those with children typically have to consider child custody. Until recently, custody cases involving single parents were not held in the same courtrooms as those with divorcing parents. This has since changed, however.
According to experts, Cook County was the only large court jurisdiction in the United States that separated divorcing parents and single parents by sending them to different courtrooms. Over the years, Cook County's Parentage and Child Support Court was held in various buildings around Chicago, including police station courtrooms and the basement of the Loop's Daley Center court complex. Recently, however, this court has been abolished in response to allegations over its constitutionality.
Some attorneys believe that the separate courts had a negative impact on single parents. Others state that although the cases were not heard in the same type of courtroom, both categories of parents were treated the same. Regardless of these debates, all child custody and support cases will now be heard in divorce court in downtown Chicago.
Whether someone with children is married or not, he or she would likely benefit from consulting an experienced Illinois family law attorney when choosing to separate from a significant other. An attorney could assist a person who is seeking child custody by helping to determine the best course of action for his or her situation, as well as represent the client in the courtroom. Additionally, an attorney could provide guidance and support to a client throughout the legal proceedings.
Source: U.S. News & World Report, "Cook County Court for Unwed Parents Quietly Disappears", Accessed on Oct. 10, 2017