Just like any couple, Cooper and Sasha never imagined their marriage heading toward divorce. They settled into their dream home and eventually the two had a son. However, fast-forward seven years later, Sasha could not stand the sight of Cooper and his quirkiness, which during their courtship endeared him to her. Sasha finally asked Cooper for a divorce.
They had an amicable divorce. Cooper and Sasha settled on an agreement about allocation of parental responsibilities. The son would stay and live most of the time with his mother. Sasha and her son moved to a different neighborhood. Two years later, Sasha, after a few months of dating, had her boyfriend Sammy over and he moved in with her and the son.
Cooper had his reservations and felt that his son did not like Sammy. After being divorced for about two years, when the son was about to turn nine years old, Cooper made up his mind to petition for a transfer of custody of his son. Under Illinois state law, the burden of having a change or transfer of custody from one parent to the other parent falls on the parent who is seeking the shift in custody. The non-custodial parent has to provide clear and valid evidence that there has been circumstantial change in the lives of the parties and that modifying custody is in the child’s best interests.
After providing clear evidence of circumstantial change to the court, the non-custodial parent must now provide evidence that modifying custody is in the best interests of the child. Here is a list of several elements and considerations that the court will be concerned about when deciding if custody ought to be modified:
- The interaction of the child with each parent;
- The better option in home, community, and school when it comes to raising the child;
- An expert mental health professional who would support the modification in custody, that is, having the child move from one parent to the other;
- The parent who has the better potential to encourage and nurture a close relationship with the other parent;
- The parent who has more quality time to spend with the child, considering their lifestyle and work schedule.
Seeking to modify child custody is emotionally challenging for parents and children. If you are thinking of having custody modified, make sure you have had enough time and the use of better judgement to make a decision. Speak with one of our family lawyers today to discuss your options or if you are in the early stages of planning your divorce so we can help you understand your rights and options.