Contested child custody cases can be difficult for parents and children alike. Things like having a guardian ad litem come in and interview your children or having a judge evaluate how involved in your child’s life you are can be immensely stressful. However, some of the difficult processes your family will go through are essential to helping the court make the best decisions. Remember that every decision the judge makes must be based on what is in the best interests of the child in question. While the judge strives to determine what type of parenting time calendar and allocation of parental responsibilities would be best for your child, there are steps you as a parent can take to protect your child’s well-being during the process. It is important to follow your Illinois family law attorney’s advice and keep them advised of your co-parenting strategy during an active custody dispute.
Preparing Children Without Coaching
A common issue in contested child custody cases is coaching. “Coaching” refers to a parent teaching their child what to say to the judge and guardian ad litem. An unscrupulous parent might train their young children to say ugly things about the other parent or to complain of abuse that never happened. It is normally quite apparent to the trained eye of a GAL when a child is only repeating what they were told to say.
Preparing your child for these conversations is different. You can talk with your child about the questions they might be asked without suggesting a response. It can also help to explain the roles of your lawyers, the GAL, and the judge so the child feels that they understand what is happening....