Whether you’re going through a divorce or a breakup, the matter becomes significantly more complex if children are involved. Even when the split is mutual, figuring out a child custody agreement can be difficult, and many times parents can’t come to a decision and the court has to get involved. It’s always best to try to settle things with the other party instead of it being up to a judge, but if it ends up being decided by a family law judge, they will look at a number of different factors to develop a child custody agreement.
But what factors will they look at, and what choices could negatively affect your chances of getting a favorable child custody agreement? We take a closer look at some factors that could hurt your child custody case in Illinois in today’s blog.
What Could Tank Your Child Custody Case?
Here’s a look at a number of the factors a judge will look at when determining the best arrangement for a child in the wake of a parental split.
- Parental Involvement – A judge will look at how involved each parent is in the child’s life. If one parent is the predominant caregiver, that may affect the judge’s custody decision. This tends to be more evident in cases of unmarried couples with children, but it certainly happens in cases of marriage of one spouse is always traveling for business or simply less involved than they could be.
- Living Situation – Maybe you moved out of the house to help ease the tension in your marriage, but that could be twisted as an act of a lack of concern for the children. Not only does this speak to the importance of having a lawyer by your side throughout your case, but it also shows how crucial it is that you carefully consider your actions during the split. A judge may agree that moving out was the right move to help ease tension and stress, but it’s not guaranteed that it will be seen that way, so keep making your kids a priority and talk to a family lawyer about your best options moving forward.
- Suitable Living Arrangement – If one parent is filing for 50-50 custody, but they live in a one bedroom apartment with no real space for the children, that will work against them. If you are applying for child custody and your housing situation is in flux, ensure that you find suitable living arrangements that account for your children. The health, safety and well-being of the children in each home environment is considered during a custody case.
- Stonewalling – You might hate your ex and have little reason to want to be cordial with them, but if petty actions negatively impact the wellbeing of the children, it could really impact your child custody case. Judges want to see parties work together in the best interest of your children, so if you do things to get back at your ex or make the whole divorce process more miserable, the judge may question your decision making abilities and award your ex with more custody. You don’t have to get along, but you shouldn’t intentionally make things harder than they need to be either, because that only hurts the kids.
- Drugs and Alcohol – If one party has had a bumpy past with alcohol or drug use, that may affect how a judge awards custody. Even if you’re doing great now, if you were an absent or sub-par parent in the days when you were dealing with substance issues, that can affect your custody agreement. You can’t change the past, but you can control your choices from here on out, and that will help show that you’re capable of being there for your children in the necessary capacity.
These are just a few of the factors a judge will look at when determining child custody, and it can become complex and complicated in a hurry, so make sure you have a lawyer by your side throughout the process. We’ve helped countless families in the past, and we can do the same for you. Reach out to Appelman & Lloyd today for help with your child custody or family law matter.