During a divorce, one of the hardest decisions to be made is the custody of the children that are involved. Both parents love their children and want to stay as involved in the lives of their children as possible. But once you are divorced, neither parent can have total custody all the time. Your children need to spend as much time with each of you as possible. But agreeing to an arrangement that benefits the children and is acceptable to both parents is not always easy.
The rules governing child custody seem to be simple but can become complicated in a matter of minutes. All aspects of your life and the other parent become factors in who will retain custody of the children you had together. Your income, where you live, who lives with you, the adjustment of the children to their home and environment and who spent the most parenting time with the children while you were married are just a few of the many factors that can be considered by the courts when determining child custody.
Putting your children and their best interests in front of your own will be one of the best things you can do for them. Consider not only their immediate future but the long term future of your children. Think about extra-curricular activities they may be involved in, will you be able to attend and support them in these activities? Will the other parent be supportive and in attendance as much as possible? Can you provide assistance to your children if they are struggling in school? Can you support yourself and your children without working long hours and cutting into the quality time you spend with them? Then consider the action(s) of the other parent on the same topics. Can the other parent provide a more stable home? Can the other parent be more involved than you are able to be?
In Illinois, there are several factors that a court must look at before deciding custody, including but not limited to, the following factors:
- Income of both parents
- Stability of each parent
- Other people directly involved in the lives of the children
- Who the primary caregiver has been
- Emotional, psychological and emotional needs of the children
- Wishes of the children
- Safety of the children
- Wishes of both parents
- History of domestic abuse, drug abuse, criminal record
- Adjustment of children to their home & school
One key to a good case are the notes you take about the situation the other parent provides as well as the history of the parent. You should document dates, times, places of any actions you feel relevant to your case and share them with King Law Offices. Make sure you are staying as involved as possible in the life of your children.
There are options for custody. The most common is sole custody where the children live with one parent and visit the other on a regular basis. Sole custody will be considered when the parents live in different towns or a parent works 2nd shift or other odd hours that may obscure the time they have to spend with the children. Both parents will have time to spend with the children in a sole custody agreement.
Joint custody is an option but not as common as sole custody. Joint custody may be an option when both parents live close to each other, generally in the same school district. The parents must be able to agree upon not only the time each spends with the children, but also legal decisions or life decisions.
In some cases, one parent may be provided with physical custody and the other parent is provided legal custody of the children. While not a common outcome, in certain cases, this arrangement can be in the best interests of your children.
Child support and custody arrangements are made “in the best interests of the children” where one parent is generally awarded primary custody and the noncustodial parent has visitation rights. Sometimes, you may have good reason to modify a custody arrangement. Modifications may be granted if one parent is moving out of state, the income of one parent changes, the children start having problems in school, at home or with friends. King Law Offices can help you determine when the time is right to request a modification of custody.
If you have a custody battle in your future, contact King Law Offices for professional, caring, and personalized legal counsel to protect the wishes of you and your children.