Divorce is hard, no matter what the circumstances are or how “friendly” the divorce may be. Not only is it the end of a marriage, but the finality often hits home over and over again as discussions and negotiations take place regarding a couple’s assets and debts. Who gets the living room set? Who gets the good china? However, the hardest part about divorce typically involves the couple’s children and how parental responsibilities and parenting time are going to be divided.
When You and the Other Parent Cannot Agree
In the best cases, parents are able to come to an agreement and work out a parenting plan that will serve the best interests of their child while respecting each parent’s rights. In such cases, the court will generally approve the plan presented by the parents. Sometimes, however, the parents cannot agree, and litigation becomes necessary. Unfortunately, litigation has a tendency to turn bitter and contentious, which can be extremely difficult for children to deal with.
No matter what the situation may be, you can help protect your children when you are facing a parenting-related dispute by doing a few key things, including:
Retain the services of an experienced family law attorney. While you might think you are able to represent yourself or that you can save money by doing so, the end result can be costlier than any attorney’s fee. Illinois family law statutes can be confusing, and litigation mistakes can result in loss of responsibilities or parenting time. Your emotions are also likely to run high, which can affect how you act and react in a courtroom.
Always tell the truth. Although it may be tempting to stretch the truth, if the lie is exposed (and it probably will be, especially if the other parent has hired a good attorney), you could potentially lose all credibility with the court.
Ask questions. If you do not understand a certain procedure or how the judicial process is working, you should always ask your attorney to explain. Going through a custody battle is an emotional roller coaster, but not understanding what is taking place can cause even more stress. Not only can this stress affect you and the other parent, but it can also trickle down and be upsetting to the children too.
Never coach your child on what to say. In many custody battles, either a guardian ad litem or another court official will interview the child. These individuals are trained to recognize when a child is speaking in his or her own words or if the child has been coached by someone else regarding what to say. Again, just like lying, this can backfire, and you could risk losing time with your child.
Contact a Kane County Family Law Attorney
If you are considering a divorce and you anticipate a dispute over the allocation of parental responsibilities, contact an experienced St. Charles child custody lawyer. Call 630-584-4800 to schedule a free initial consultation at Goostree Law Group today.