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Posted on in Child Custody

custody-modificationWhen the court determines an appropriate custody arrangement for your child, it does so with your child's best interest in mind. However, your child's best interests do not necessarily remain static over the years. In fact, as he or she matures, it is most likely that the right custody arrangement will change along with your child. If this is the case, consider modifying your child's custody arrangement. Seeking a modification of the custody schedule does not mean that you or your former spouse is a bad parent or a better parent than the other. It means that your child's needs have changed and you are working together to create a custody arrangement that best meets those needs.

If you feel a modified child custody arrangement is in your child's best interest, the first person to speak to about a potential change is your former spouse. After all, this modification will involve him or her and his or her relationship with your child. The next party to speak with is your attorney to discuss the legal process of altering a child custody arrangement. Do not be casual about changing your arrangement – even if you and your partner agree to a modified schedule and can follow it now without a problem, following a custody schedule that deviates from your court order is technically contempt of court. Do not put yourself in this position by failing to take the correct steps to alter your child custody arrangement.

Issues to Consider

Posted on in Divorce

Illinois divorce attorney, Illinois family lawyer, non-custodial, As a parent with a custody arrangement, you are surely familiar with the struggle of planning family outings and special events around your court-ordered parenting schedule. One of the biggest concerns that parents entering custody arrangements have is how to handle the holidays. When a custody schedule is arranged so that each parent has specific days, such as alternating weekends or having the children spend half the week with each parent, one parent can miss a significant number of holidays with his or her children because of the days of the week that those holidays occur.

This is why it is important to include provisions for holidays in your child custody arrangement. You can plan ahead for future holiday gatherings and keep family traditions intact by working with your former spouse and the court to develop a custody arrangement that allows for a fair distribution of holiday parenting time.

Options for Your Holiday Arrangement

Posted on in Adoption

parental rights, Illinois child custody law, Illinois family law attorney, Illinois law applies the best interest standard in civil matters involving children. Divorce proceedings, child custody battles, adoptions and visitation hearings are all examples of matters where a court must consider what is in the best interests of the child. These best interests include maximizing the child’s physical, mental, moral and emotional well-being.

It is difficult to define the best interest standard precisely, because as any parent knows, what is best for one child might not be what is best for another. However, the law sets forth relevant factors for courts to consider. That list is meant to be a starting point. Courts may consider all relevant factors and not merely those delineated here:

  • The child’s wishes regarding custody, adoption, and visitation rights, if the child is old enough and has the mental capacity to express such wishes;
  • The parent’s (or prospective parent’s) wishes regarding custody, adoption and visitation rights;
  • The relationship between the child and his parents, siblings and any other relevant person, such as a parent’s boyfriend or girlfriend;
  • How well-adjusted the child is to his current home, school and community (if the court is considering an arrangement that would uproot the child);
  • The mental and physical health of all persons involved;
  • Whether there is a pattern or history of domestic abuse in the child’s current or potential home;
  • How willing both parents are to facilitate a relationship between the child and the other parent (especially with the parent who does not have primary custody);
  • Whether one of the parents is a sex offender; and
  • Whether one of the parents is a member of the military.

Note: One important aspect of the best interest standard is that courts typically presume that is in the child’s best interests for both parents to be involved. However, in a custody proceeding, there is also no presumption in favor of – or against – joint custody.

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