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When a couple gets divorced, they may be able to come to a mutual agreement about child custody arrangements, but that is quite rare. In most instances, the two spouses must go through child custody hearings, where a judge will award either sole custody, typically allowing the other parent reasonable visitation, or joint custody, in which both parents will receive custody of their child or children. Of course, during these hearings, you want the best result possible and there are some tips you can follow to ensure that happens.
During the proceedings, a judge will award custody based on what is in the child’s best interests. This means that the child cannot decide which parent they want to live with. Although a judge will weigh a child’s preference when making the decision, and more weight is given to a child’s preference the older the child is, the deciding factor is always what is in the best interests of the child. A judge will also look at the reasons why a child wants to live with a certain parent. For example, if it is only because one parent is not a disciplinarian, that reason will likely not be enough.
A judge will also look at how much time each parent currently spends with the child when making child custody decisions. The more time that is spent with a child, the more likely that parent will be awarded custody. As such, it is important to keep track of how much time you spend with the child. This includes helping them with homework, taking them to extracurricular activities, and driving them to and from school.
You should also have an idea of how much time your spouse spends with the child, as it can provide an indication of how a judge will award custody. If the other parent is involved in the child’s life and does not have major issues, such as a criminal record or a history of abuse, the judge is unlikely to award sole custody.
Historically, women were awarded child custody simply because they typically stayed at home to raise the children. However, times have changed and that is no longer always the case. Although people, including some divorce lawyers, like to talk about mother’s rights or father’s rights, there is no such thing in Illinois. The law provides both parents equal rights and the judge will look at what is in the child’s best interests only, not the gender of the parent.
Child custody is one of the most important, and most contentious, aspects of any divorce. It is also highly misunderstood by the parents going through proceedings. If child custody is going to be part of your divorce, call our skilled Hinsdale family lawyers at the Law Office of Martoccio & Martoccio. We can advise on your case, tell you what to expect during proceedings, and help you secure the best result possible. Call us today at 630-920-8855 or contact us online to arrange a free consultation with one of our experienced attorneys.