If you have recently gone through a breakup or divorce, it is natural that you would want to move on to a new relationship. However, when you and your ex have children together and a child custody case pending, the other parent and the court may have a right to know more about the people you are spending time with, especially if that time is spent around your child.
How a Court Makes Custody Decisions
When a judge in Illinois is making a decision about parental responsibilities and parenting time, the judge must consider what is in the best interest of a child. Some of the factors a judge will consider include:
What arrangement provides the child with the most stability?
Who can best provide for a child’s physical, mental, and emotional needs?
Where will the child be safest?
What is the environment like in each parent’s home?
What level of parenting skills does each parent possess?
If there is another adult, such as a new romantic partner, who spends a considerable amount of time around the child, the court will consider the influence of that adult on the child. In these types of cases, judges often appoint experts to help study the situation and issue a report to the court. Judges can appoint a custody evaluator or a guardian ad litem.
A guardian ad litem is a lawyer with the authority to conduct an investigation into the family’s circumstances and make a recommendation to the court about the outcome of the case. A custody evaluator is typically a child development expert, often a licensed counselor, who meets with both parents and the child. Any expert the court appoints will also likely want to meet with other adults living in the household. Both a guardian ad litem and a custody evaluator will make a written report to the judge that includes recommendations for custody and visitation.
Should You Date During a Child-Related Dispute?
During a parenting dispute, both sides are often angry at one another. The child may also be angry with both parents. Upset parents and children can make for a volatile emotional situation. When a new family dynamic, such as a new romantic partner, is introduced, it can make resolving an already tense situation even harder.
If the new romantic interest moves in, the other parent may want to know all the particulars about this new influence. Any past mistakes such as a criminal record, substance abuse issues, or anger issues, may be used to show the court that one parent is introducing instability into the life of the children. Since child custody determinations can be difficult, when one side introduces someone or something that poses a risk to the children’s well-being, it can give the court more reasons to see the other side as more stable and a better choice as a primary residential parent.
Contact a Wheaton Child Custody Lawyer for Help
If you have questions about how your new relationship may affect your parental responsibilities or parenting time, you should speak with a skilled and knowledgeable DuPage County family law attorney for answers. Call 630-871-1002 for a free consultation at Andrew Cores Family Law Group today. We will work hard to ensure you understand your rights and to protect the best interests of your family.