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Should you pursue sole custody of your children?

The end of a marriage can bring out the worst in people. The man or woman that you once loved appears to have disappeared and been replaced with someone you barely recognize. Your personal relationship has degraded to the point where one or both of you want a divorce.

You may harbor resentment, anger and a host of other negative emotions toward your future ex-spouse. This may prompt you to seek sole custody of your children for a variety of reasons that have nothing to do with whether he or she is a good parent. You should know that the burden of proof lies with you if you ask an Illinois court for sole custody of your children. In the absence of abuse or some other compelling reason, you may face an uphill battle.

Can you convince the court you are the 'better parent?'

The courts tend to lean toward allowing both parents as much access to the children as possible after a divorce. If you intend to seek sole custody, you will need to prove to the court that you make a better parent than your future former spouse. If both you and the other parent were involved in the children's lives during the marriage, you may not be able to prove that he or she is unfit to parent.

The court will not appreciate you spending your time proving why the other parent is unfit. Instead, your focus needs to remain on showing that you are better able to care for the physical and psychological needs of your children. You may find it easier to prove that you can better provide for your children's physical needs, but when it comes to their psychological needs, you could run into trouble.

This is because part of caring for their psychological needs involves encouraging the other parent to spend as much time with the children as he or she can. If it turns out that your quest for sole custody has more to do with your feelings toward your ex-spouse rather than your feelings for the children's other parent, you may not want to pursue this route. Of course, if evidence exists that the other parent should not have joint custody, you should absolutely pursue this option.

Can you work out a parenting plan with the other parent?

More than likely, when you remove your personal relationship from the equation, you can acknowledge that the other parent should remain an important part of your children's lives. If you work to reach this point, you may work out a parenting plan together that serves the best interests of your children. Working through these issues could also help lay a foundation for your post-divorce co-parenting relationship. The stronger that relationship can be, the better off your children and you will be in the future.

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Schlueter Ecklund & Davitt
4023 Charles Street
Rockford, IL 61108

Toll Free: 800-207-5133
Phone: 815-516-8264
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