5 Warning Indicators That Child Custody Modification Is a Good Idea
While many indications that you might need to assume sole custody of your children are more obvious than others, there are still plenty of warning signs—both blatant and subtle—that now might be the right time to take legal action. Overall, the most important thing to consider with any order modifications related to your kids is whether making such changes will be in your children’s best interests. Here are some of the most significant reasons to seek such modifications:
You suspect your co-parent is abusing your children, be it physically, sexually, or in any other way that causes harm to them. In most cases, if your children are found to be in immediate harm’s way, this will expedite such modification orders.
Your co-parent has been convicted of a crime that will prevent him or her from fulfilling parental obligations. If the co-parent is sentenced to prison time, then obviously changes will need to be made to the child custody orders. These will usually be uncontested since there is really not any argument the co-parent can make against most of these modifications.
Your co-parent has a substance abuse or other behavioral problem that prevents him or her from upholding parental responsibilities. For instance, if your co-parent now has a drug addiction that puts your children in jeopardy or prevents your co-parent from parenting properly and safely, then the children need to be taken out of that situation. In addition, if your co-parent enters an alcohol or drug rehabilitation program, then the orders will also need to change.
Your co-parent violates the court orders set in place for your shared parenting objectives. Especially if done repeatedly, lack of compliance with court orders and refusal to adhere to the guidelines set forth in your divorce agreement and original child custody orders might mean that the other co-parent needs to be excised from your children’s care for negligence and non-compliance.
If any other circumstances change in your co-parent’s life that could significantly affect your children’s best interests, then modification of child custody orders might be necessary. Possible other examples of this include your co-parent’s relocation to a different state, making agreed-upon visitation rights/parenting time and frequencies impossible to achieve. Also, a change in your co-parent’s environment may make it increasingly difficult for your children to have their needs met when under the co-parent’s care.
Contact a Wheaton, IL Child Custody Order Modification Lawyer
If any of the aforementioned scenarios describe your current circumstances with your co-parent—or if anything your co-parent is currently doing might not be in your children’s best interests, you have the right to seek modification orders for child custody/allocation of parental responsibilities, visitation rights/parenting time, or any other number of parenting concerns. To do this, contact a DuPage County family law attorney at 630-871-1002 for a free consultation. The compassionate professionals at Andrew Cores Family Law Group will develop, file, and argue the appropriate modification orders to safeguard your children’s well-being.
Over the last few months, it may have become increasingly difficult for you and your co-parent to properly follow your court-approved parenting plan. You both want to fulfill your parental responsibilities and ensure that you can spend a fair amount of parenting time with your kids, but you also do not want to put anyone’s health or safety at risk. Conflicts in these areas may be even worse if you and your co-parent have different philosophies regarding the Illinois Stay-at-Home Order. Governor Pritzker deemed from the beginning of the order that it is essential for parents to honor their court-ordered parenting commitments, but under certain circumstances, doing so might not be a good idea. Here are some things to consider while you both adapt to the “new normal” as co-parents during a crisis:
What to Consider When Addressing Co-Parenting Conflicts
Perhaps your co-parent refuses to wear a mask in public as ordered by the governor, or your co-parent has accused you of not keeping your home sanitary enough during these challenging times. Before getting into a heated argument about these issues, you may want to consider some of these main points when addressing each grievance:
Remain calm. Heated arguments will not do anyone any good. During a crisis such as this, contentious disputes can be even more detrimental than under normal circumstances. It certainly will not help your children if they witness any of that behavior, since they likely already dealing with enough stress.
Always keep your children’s best interests in mind. Even if you truly believe that your house is “clean enough” or that you and your children do not need to wear masks, you should still err on the side of caution, especially if your co-parent is particularly adamant about specific issues. Just as you did during the divorce process while you were making decisions about child custody, you both need to make compromises based on what is in your children’s best interests. Right now, their health and safety should be your top priority.
Consider risks and resources equally. Under normal circumstances, your children may have needed to travel to see the other parent often, and they might have been required to take public transportation or travel by air. If you, your children, or the other parent feel uncomfortable with that idea, then you will need to think about alternative means of communication and visitation, such as video calls. In addition, if your house is inhabited by “higher-risk” individuals like grandparents, you might not want to bring the children around too often. If either of you or others in your household spend significant time in public, then your home might not be the safest environment at this time. However, while you are weighing these risks, you should also consider the benefits and resources. For example, if your Internet connection is more reliable, or if your neighborhood has more open spaces for safe public activities, your home might be a better option for your kids during these unprecedented times.
Call your lawyer for help. If you and your co-parent cannot make any headway on resolving your co-parenting conflicts, if you need advice in general about what what you should do, or if you and your co-parent have agreed to update your parenting agreement with some modifications of child custody orders, reach out to your lawyer to get legal guidance and make sure your rights are protected.
Contact a Wheaton Parenting Time Lawyer
In times of crisis, tempers may flare, and finding common ground can seem impossible as you try to successfully co-parent your children. No matter how different your approaches to parenting are, you have the option to revise your parenting plans or make verbal agreements about temporary changes to child custody arrangements. Whether you are seeking modifications to your current child custody orders or need help addressing concerns about your children’s safety, contact a DuPage County family law attorney at 630-871-1002 for a free consultation.
Throughout the divorce process, if you have children, you and your co-parent will need to devise a parenting plan that clearly defines the allocation of parental responsibilities, parenting time schedules, and other child-related issues. In the state of Illinois, the standard used to determine many of these concerns is referred to as “the best interests of the child.” When decisions are made regarding custody of children of divorcing or separating parents, their best interests have the greatest bearing on the end result. While Illinois has a strict set of guidelines elaborating on those “best interests,” these issues may be open to interpretation, especially since the circumstances surrounding each child custody case are unique. In some cases, determining how much of a say children should have regarding what is in their best interests can be difficult.
3 Ways to Accept Your Children’s Opinion of Their “Best Interests”
Although “the best interests of the child” are critical, parents may not take children’s desires into account when addressing these matters. Here are some ways to make sure you, your co-parent, your attorney, and the court maintain a clear understanding of your children’s best interests and how their wishes may affect your case:
Reject the idea that young children have no understanding of what is good for them. Many social scientists and other experts believe that the so-called “age of reason” for children is seven years old. By that age, they are able to make decisions and judgments based on their own ideas, observations, opinions, and insights. With this in mind, if your children are around that age or older, but they tend to shy away from the spotlight, consider enlisting the assistance of social workers or other similar professionals who can observe the child and interview them to understand exactly how they feel about everything, including the impending divorce itself.
Be open to the possibility of juvenile rights in child custody being employed. Children will not be considered legal adults until they reach the age of 18, and at this point, they will be able to make major decisions for themselves, and you will no longer be responsible for them by law. However, even when children are younger, they can still provide input and insight into how matters related to child custody should be decided. Of course, courts will not rely solely on this information. When you are negotiating agreements regarding the allocation of parental responsibilities, the children’s input is useful and often quite vital, and in some cases, it may be necessary to appoint a guardian ad litem or child custody evaluator to gain an understanding of children’s wishes and determine the role they should play in the decisions being made.
Know that children are very honest and perceptive. Many children, especially those at younger ages, do not usually intentionally lie unless taught or instructed to do so. They will most likely make their feelings known about your divorce. In many cases, you will discover much more about your children’s best interests in their own truthful proclamations than you might ever be able to learn through other methods.
Contact a DuPage County Divorce Attorney
As you work to determine what is in your children’s best interests during your divorce, you should give careful thought and consideration to your children’s own perspective. For legal help creating a parenting plan and addressing other family law issues, reach out to a Wheaton, IL child custody lawyer at 630-871-1002 for a free consultation. The skilled professionals at Andrew Cores Family Law Group will work with you to reach a positive outcome to your case and ensure that your children’s ongoing needs will be met.