f you and your ex-spouse find yourselves unable to reach an agreement when it comes to child custody during your divorce, a judge will create an arrangement for you. An “allocation of parental responsibility” judgment created in court is based primarily upon Illinois law and what the judge considers to be in the best interests of the children, but it will not always work with the lifestyle of your family. When arguing your case in court, your goal is to represent beyond any doubt that more time with you is what is best for your children. Use these tips to help strengthen your case:
1. Educate Yourself
It is essential to understand that every state has a unique set of laws surrounding child custody. To best prepare your case, you should thoroughly investigate the laws and the factors a judge will use to make their decision. In Illinois, judgments of how to allocate parenting time and parental responsibility are based entirely on the best interests of the children, and the factors a judge will consider include:
- The wishes of everyone involved.
- The quality of each parent-child relationship.
- The mental and physical health of all parties.
- The willingness of each parent to facilitate a relationship with the other parent.
- Which parent has provided care for children in the past.
- The ability of a parent to provide a stable and loving environment.
- The level of adjustment the child has to the current situation.
2. Evaluate Your Positives
Your first instinct may be to tear down the other parent in order to bolster your own good qualities. However, this thinking does not always result in a positive outcome, and it can cause you to lose points when a judge is considering the “willingness of each parent to facilitate a relationship with the other parent.” Instead, focus on your positives. Start with a basic list of why you best meet the criteria described above. Then, begin accumulating hard evidence to support your claims. This may include:
- Character reference letters from those who know you.
- A log of hours spent volunteering at your children’s school.
- Photographic evidence of field trips you have chaperoned.
- A thank-you note from a parent whose child you coached on a sports team.
3. Get Legal Help from a DuPage County Family Law Attorney
If you are having trouble reaching an agreement on a parenting plan during your divorce, a Wheaton child custody lawyer can help. At Andrew Cores Family Law Group, we will carefully assess your situation, identify your strengths, and use them to your advantage to help you achieve the best possible result in your case. We have guided families to success through even the most tumultuous divorce and child custody cases for more than a decade. Find out how we can help by scheduling your free personalized consultation at our office. Call us today at 630-871-1002.