The Chicago courts do not differentiate between father’s rights and mother’s rights when making decisions about the custody of a child. Their decisions are based solely on what is considered to be in the best interest of the child. A judge will consider a number of things when determining the custody arrangement.
To minimize the devastating impact that a divorce can have on children, the courts favor as little disruption in the child’s routine as possible. They are unlikely to make a decision that will force the children to have to leave the home they have known if a parent is remaining in the marital home. If the parents have been living separately, the court may favor the parent who has been taking care of the children.
The courts expect divorcing parents to put the welfare of their children first. The feeling is that both parents are the best parenting option, and that children should have time with each parent. Interference with visitation is frowned upon by the courts. Although sole physical custody is commonly granted, the other parent is typically given generous visitation rights.
The wishes of the child are taken into consideration, especially when teenagers are involved. The child’s wishes are not automatically granted, but they will weigh into the final decision. The wishes of each parent are considered, but unless the parents are in agreement, these wishes are simply another factor that will be taken into account.
A history of violence by either parent is taken seriously. It can affect both the custody decision as well as the visitation granted. Alternatively, if a spouse falsely accused the other parent of violence, it can work against the lying spouse in the final decision.
Many parents have the misconception that misbehavior by the other spouse, particularly in divorces on grounds of fault will affect custody. In example, infidelity will not count against a parent if the children were unaware of it. However, drug or alcohol addiction may affect custody because it may put children at risk.
Child custody law is extremely complicated, and every case is unique. To ensure that your rights, and your children’s best interests, are protected, consult an experienced family law attorney. They may be able to help you reach an agreement directly with your spouse, rather than enduring a painful, expensive, and lengthy court battle.
The attorneys at David M. Siegel and Associates strive to minimize the negative impact these difficult proceedings can have on your family, but will aggressively defend your rights in court. Call (847) 520-8100 for a consultation.