When a couple elects to get a divorce, the process can be incredibly emotionally challenging. This is especially true when children are involved in divorce. Not only are parents looking to ensure that the divorce will not jeopardize their financial security, but they are also looking to gain significant custodial privileges. Due to changes to child custody laws in the state of Illinois, there is no longer a sole-custody parent. That being said, one parent can be awarded the vast majority of custodial time, leaving the other parent with less time with their children and in many cases a child support payment plan. In order to ensure that you secure the parental responsibilities you are looking for, it is important to know the first steps to take.
With recent revisions to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), state courts now allocate parental responsibilities to divorcing parents. The court will consider various criteria as they make their decision. While it may seem as though the court’s decision is out of your control, there are a number of steps you can take to display why you need to remain a figure in your child’s life.
Have a Place for Your Child: If you are forced to find a new place to live due to your separation from your spouse, it is incredibly important that you have space for your child. Set up a bedroom for them and ensure that the house is safe and suitable for a child. The court will weigh which parent can offer the child the best living experience, if you are looking to have your child for months out of the year, they need to have a comfortable living experience.
Avoid Reckless Behavior Patterns: While the divorce process can be incredibly stressful, you need to do everything you can to avoid reckless behavior during your divorce, in order to secure parental responsibilities. If the court finds that you have been using drugs, drinking heavily, or acting erratically, they are likely to deem that your spouse is a much more suitable parent. Remaining calm and collected throughout this process will also display that you can maintain a professional relationship with your spouse post-divorce.
Be Engaged: As the court makes their decision, you need to display that you are engaged in your child’s life. Be sure to have knowledge of your child’s academic experience, know what classes they excel in, and which ones they possibly struggle in. If possible, find housing that will enable them to remain in their current school. You can also make huge steps in the eye of the court if you are engaged in your child’s extra-curricular activities. Volunteering with their youth sports, or being a constant support figure can be monumentally important as these decisions are made.
While these steps are important steps you can take on your own, the most critical decision you can make during the divorce process is hiring an attorney you can believe in. At J. Aldrich Law, P.C., we are committed to assisting you throughout every step of the divorce process. As you deal with the emotional aspects of your divorce, we will do everything in our power to secure the parenting responsibilities you deserve. To schedule a complimentary initial consultation with a skilled DuPage County divorce attorney, call us today at 630-953-3000.