In our last post, we discussed some common issues unmarried fathers confront when they are trying to obtain custody of their child in Illinois. Whether they were previously married to their child’s other parent or not, all fathers seeking custody will have to show that they can act in the best interests of their child.
Research on the benefits of fathers being involved in the lives of their children is overwhelming, and Illinois courts are more willing than ever to allow both parents to have a presence in the life of a child, as long as it will be in the child’s best interests. Here, we look at some things you can do to increase your chances of winning custodial responsibilities for your child.
Build a Relationship with the Child
Building relationships with children takes time and effort. After divorce or separation, children may be angry or withdrawn. Stick with your child and make a sincere, ongoing effort to connect with them in a loving and supportive way. If you have a clear record of communicating with your child, you will not only be more likely to get custody, you will be more likely to have a positive relationship with your child.
Make Your Home a Child-Friendly Place
If the child is old enough to competently understand and express their preferences about which parent they want to be with, the court will take their preferences into consideration. You can help your case by making your home a place where a child wants to be. This does not mean you should be overindulgent; remember that courts want parents to demonstrate that they know what is best for a child. Rather, making your home a clean, safe, comfortable, and loving environment will ensure that your child is happy there.
Seek Educational and Social Opportunities
Living in a great school district goes a long way towards giving your child educational and social opportunities, but you can seek these out in other ways as well. Community centers, religious programs, sports teams, and neighborhood parenting groups are all great sources for connecting your child with nearby children their age.
Be Your Best Self
As cliché as this may sound, you will be a better father when you are taking good care of yourself. Every step you take to improve yourself will improve the life of your family as well. Resolving personal issues through parenting classes or a qualified therapist will help you be a happier, more wholesome father. Exercising, preparing healthy meals, and managing your finances wisely will improve your and your child’s lives and show the court that you are serious about being an involved, supportive father.
Work with a Wheaton, IL Father’s Rights Attorney
The attorneys at Andrew Cores Family Law Group understand that being a loving, nurturing presence in your child’s life is one of the most rewarding experiences a father can have. We will work hard to represent your interests and help you understand the factors that are most likely to give you a favorable outcome in your custody case. Call us today at 630-871-1002 to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced DuPage County family lawyers.