Should I Ask for Sole Custody?
Whether in divorce or following a break-up between unmarried parents, determining arrangements for custody of your child can be a very difficult process. In fact, if you are like many parents, you may be struggling with even knowing where to start. You undoubtedly want is best for your child, and for some, the best option may be a sole custody situation.
What is Sole Custody?
Legal custody of a child in Illinois refers to the responsibility of the child’s parents in making the necessary decisions related to his or her upbringing. Sole custody may be granted to one parent who then assumes full accountability for decision-making regarding the child. Conferring with the other parent is not assumed, nor is it necessary under the law in sole custody situations. There may, of course, be sole custody arrangements in which the parents choose to cooperate in making decisions, but the ultimate responsibility for them falls upon the parent who has been awarded custody.
Factors to Consider
As you decide whether or not to seek sole custody of your child, there a number of things that are important to keep in mind. Not only will many these considerations impact the actual proceedings, but the long-term well-being of your child, as well.
- Good faith cooperation with the other parent: Understanding the maturity of your relationship with the other parent is a major first step in deciding how to proceed with custody requests. Do you trust the other parent to make decisions in the child’s best interests? Can you work together? Beyond yes or no, recognize why you came to those conclusions and decide if sole custody is the best approach;
- Good faith on your part: Why do you want sole custody? Are you still mad at the other parent or do you honestly believe you can offer your child more through sole custody. Revenge is not an acceptable reason to ask for sole custody, as your child should never be used a bargaining chip or to gain an advantage over your ex. Develop a clear understanding of your own reasons for wanting custody, because you will be required to justify them when the court considers your case;
- Visitation will still be a reality: Unless you have valid reasons to request restrictions, sole custody does not eliminate the other parent from your child’s life. He or she will be granted reasonable rights to visitation, and you should be ready, willing, and able to help foster your child’s relationship with his or her. Looking to block all access to the child could have a negative impact on your pursuit of custody, and if you refuse to be reasonable, sole custody may even be granted to the other parent.
- What you can prove: When you go before the court to ask for sole custody, you will need to provide evidence to support your request. It will not be enough to simply say you do not want your ex involved in decision-making; you will need to explain exactly why. Likewise, you must demonstrate that you have the ability and wherewithal to take on the responsibility of sole custody on your own. While you may not have papers or documents to use as evidence, concrete examples and patterns of behaviors often suffice.
If you are seeking sole custody of your child, contact an experienced Geneva family law attorney today. Attorney Doug Warlick has worked with hundreds of families dealing with all types of legal matters and is prepared to help you protect your child’s best interest. With his knowledge of the law and familiarity with the courts, Mr. Warlick will work with you every step of the way as you look to provide the best possible situation for both you and your child.