If you have an upcoming custody hearing, then you need to prepare. Few meetings in life are as crucial as this, and a lack of preparation will harm your chances of getting the result you want.
First, you need to consider if what you want is beneficial for your child and fair to your co-parent. If a judge does not think it is, they will not give it to you.
Judge’s seek to act in the child’s best interest when awarding custody
A court’s priority is to do what is best for the child. That generally means ensuring both parents maintain regular contact with the child. Illinois calls this parenting time rather than custody, and it does not discriminate between mothers and fathers. Both get an equal chance to put forward their case. Here are three main things to consider:
- The court will probably want you both to retain decision-making capability for your child — the state refers to this as parental responsibilities. The only reason a court would keep a parent from seeing their child or retaining legal authority is if it is in the child’s best interest.
- Secondly, when you attend the hearing, you need to show how you will implement your plan. For example, if you want your child to live with you in the week, you need to explain how that will function when you work till six each day, and your child gets home from school at four.
- Finally, you need to make sure you know your child. That might sound stupid, but if your child is always asleep by the time you get home, there will be gaps in your knowledge which your spouse could exploit to convince a judge they are better placed than you to care for your child.
Discovering more about how custody in Illinois works will help you set realistic goals that benefit you and your child.