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Posted on in Child Custody and Support

Child Custody in IllinoisDetermining who gets custody of the child and how visitation will work out after divorce is one of the most difficult processes that any divorcing couple with kids must undergo. Tensions are already running high in a divorce, and when kids are involved this becomes all the more trying. The specifics of custody laws and visitation rights vary by state. In any situation, the most important first step if you’re considering divorce—especially if you have kids—is to contact a divorce attorney. An attorney will be able to walk you through the steps you’re going to have to take, and can help you resolve the divorce in a way that could actually be beneficial to you or your family. In Illinois, a judge makes a decision about child custody based on what “he or she think is in the child’s best interest,” according to WomensLaw.org.

How does a judge determine what’s in the child’s best interest? There is, of course, room for error here, because the judge will make the decision based solely on what he or she is able to see. This is another reason that you’ll want an experienced family law attorney on your side when you’re in court awaiting a custody decision. According to WomensLaw.org, to determine what’s in the best interest of the child includes, but is not limited to:

  • the parent’s wishes
  • the child’s wishes
  • the relationship the child has with siblings who live in or near the house
  • the mental and physical health of both parents and the child
  • any physical violence or threat of physical violence
  • willingness of each parent to encourage a relationship between the other parent and the child
  • whether either parent is an active member of the U.S. military

According to a Southern Illinois University School of Law publication, Illinois law states that the “court shall not modify a prior custody judgment unless it finds clear and convincing evidence, upon basis of facts that have arisen since the prior judgment or that were unknown to the court at the time of entry of the prior judgment.” This means that it’s especially important to make sure that the custody agreement that is come to first is the right one.

divorce courtDivorce is a stressful event in anyone’s life.  It does not just affect the two exes involved but can ripple through whole families.  Kids are especially affected by the consequences of a divorce.  In order to keep the hassles of a divorce to a minimum, there are a couple of different methods you can employ to lower the stress.

The first advice is to acknowledge the cause of your divorce but avoid pointing fingers.  Look towards the things that you would stress your relationship such as financial issues, bad habits, drug use, or other things.  By understanding the things that set you off, you can try to limit how it affects you.

Also notice how you would communicate to your spouse and what is deficient about that communication.  Use that information to guide show you how to act more collaboratively while seeking a divorce.  That can mean learning how to communicate with your ex in a constructive manner in which you can explain what you feel without being angry or hurtful.

Laura (Dropbox photo) Kane County divorce attorneyIf a guardian ad litem has been appointed in your custody case, it's important to know how to relate to this individual and what information to provide this person throughout the course of your case. A guardian ad litem is appointed to represent the interests of the children in divorce cases with contested custody. The guardian ad litem will prepare a report. This report will be submitted to the judge to assist with the determination of the final custody order. It goes without saying that your communication with the guardian ad litem should be professional at all times.

To start with, always follow the guardian ad litem's instructions regarding their requested mode of communication and any desired meetings. Typically, your first meeting with the guardian ad litem (GAL) will be an overview of how the process will work and the filling out of a questionnaire that will allow the attorney to obtain the information needed to conduct research. Make sure to include all contact information that is requested by the GAL. It might help to begin a contact sheet of possible references before you interact with the attorney.

Having your own documents in order will greatly assist you in your communication with this lawyer. Be sure to provide copies of all relevant court documents, pleadings, and any orders associated with your case. Staying organized and cooperating with the investigation is the most appropriate way to stay involved. All communication with the GAL should be focused on child related issues.

Child custody in divorces is decided individually by state courts, but all states do put the best interests of the child first. Often times, however, parents are concerned about what will happen to their children and have many questions about the process and how the courts will treat each case in Illinois. Your Geneva family law attorney can help you understand the process of determining child custody, and help you to find the best situation for your family.

Lucy   Geneva family law attorneyOne question that may come up is whether or not a parent’s psychological problems will have an effect on the custody of the child and if so, what the impact will be. Just because a parent may have a psychological problem, suffer from substance abuse or suffer from mental illness, the courts do not automatically take away the parent's custody rights.

These factors are considered though, such as if the parent’s mental state has a history of causing severe behavior that may harm the child. The court also considers the fact that each parent may be not in a normal mental state during the custody case due to the trauma of the divorce and lifestyle change that comes along with it as well.

Family law attorney      (Lucy)A new university study has found that children that have two religious parents are more likely to leave the church if his or her parents get divorced. Researchers from Baylor University discovered that children of divorce of religious parents are twice as likely to become estranged from their church compared to children of religious parents who stay together.

The lead author of the study and professor at Baylor University Jeremy Uecker told U.S. News and World Report that, “When both parents are religious, the effect of divorce has a negative effect of religiosity. They might think their parents’ marriage was ordained by God or something and that breakup can have more of an effect on their religiousness in adulthood.”

The study concluded by stating that children’s religious beliefs were affected after the divorce in all religions. Researchers are hoping to further explore the root of the issue as to why divorced children may not be as religious following a divorce in their family.

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