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DuPage County divorce lawyerWhen going through the divorce process, the vast majority of Americans are concerned about their financial well-being, post-divorce, and their eagerness to move forward from the relationship. For parents, however, the divorce process can be the most emotionally stressful time in their lives. When fighting for decision-making power in the lives of their children - whether full, partial, or somewhere in between - parents are sometimes faced with the thought that they may have very little say over their child's life, upbringing, or education. 

Parents who fear that their spouse may make poor decisions may also worry about the potential consequences that their children may face, should they become collateral damage in a negative situation. Fortunately, a quality legal team can assist you in winning custody (the power to have final say over decisions regarding your children) using knowledgeable and aggressive representation.

Why You Should Be the Primary Custodial Parent?

An experienced family law attorney will always ask you what your top priorities are throughout the divorce process. For parents with minor children, the highest priority is routinely child custody. In order to win a custody battle, it is important to focus on why you should be the one awarded final decision-making power, as well as why your former-spouse should not.

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Wheaton child custody lawyersWhen raising children, parents make a conscious decision to put the needs of their child before their own. Raising children can be nerve-wracking, stressful, and challenging, so it can be helpful to have a solid parenting team. Unfortunately, in the aftermath of a divorce, the parenting unit of father and mother is severely altered. When deciding how to approach your child custody case, it is important to know the benefits of various types of parenting plans. If you believe that sole-custody parenting is the best option for you and your family, you should fully understand the benefits and potential drawbacks.

The Benefits of Sole-Custody Parenting

A sole-custody parenting plan is, in some cases, the best option for a parent and their children. Sole-custody parenting can enable a child to maintain a certain level of consistency in their academic schedule, extra-curricular activities, and living situation. If you and your former spouse no longer have a relationship that can work as a functioning parenting team, it is likely the best option for one parent to be awarded sole custody. In cases of domestic abuse, a sole-custody parenting plan is almost always the best option.

The Potential Negatives of Sole-Custody Parenting

As mentioned above, sole-custody parenting can be the right option for a number of reasons, but a parenting plan that only involves one parent can come with some negatives. Children only living with one parent are more likely to fall below the poverty line, according to statistics compiled by the U.S. Census Bureau. These financial concerns are, in large part, due to the fact that only approximately 50% of custodial mothers have child support plans established in court. Out of those established plans, 25% of mothers expecting to receive child support never do. A sole-custody parenting plan can also be difficult for children to cope with emotionally. Sole-custody means that the child will likely have a less significant (or even non-existent) relationship with the other parent.

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DuPage County child custody lawyer guardian ad litemWhen dealing with the emotions of divorce, children often struggle to come to terms with the end of their parents’ relationship. The uncertainty that comes with the major changes in their lives can cause children to experience stress, anxiety, and depression. For children going through a divorce, the more emotional support they can get, the better. Because of this, many courts elect to appoint an attorney to deal with issues related specifically to the children involved in a divorce case. 

This type of attorney is most commonly referred to as a guardian ad litem (GAL), and they are routinely appointed in cases involving child custody disputes, domestic abuse incidents, and issues related to child support. If you are in the midst of a divorce, and you believe the well-being of your children may be at risk, asking your legal team about the possibilities of appointing a guardian ad litem may be critically important in ensuring your child ends up in the healthiest living situation. 

Guardians Ad Litem in Illinois 

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Naperville child custody lawyerAccording to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are approximately 827,000 divorces each year across the United States. While divorce can be a traumatizing and emotionally challenging time for the spouses that are separated, kids can also face immense emotional trauma as they attempt to cope with the prospect of their parents’ separation. 

Divorce represents a change of monumental proportions in children’s lives. For young children, divorce can bring on an increased sense of dependency. For older children, divorce can increase levels of independence and even lead to substance abuse, academic decline, and disinterest in prior activities. Since you want what is best for your children, you should be aware that a joint-custody plan can often be the healthiest option for families.

The Benefits of a Joint-Custody Agreement 

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The Stogsdill Law Firm, P.C.

One of the biggest questions parents struggle with during a divorce is, "Will I lose time with my kids?" Shared custody may feel like an appropriate choice to address this concern, and indeed it is a valid choice for many families in Illinois. Still not sure if it's the best option for your family? Here's a few things to consider for your child custody agreement.

Shared physical custody allows both parents to spend approximately equal time with their children. This can be a good option for families that have both parents actively involved in child rearing. However, in situations where one parent took on the primary role of care giver while the other remained less involved, shifting to a situation where the less-involved parent is expected to increase the level of involvement might be difficult.

Even if both parents played active roles in their children's lives, they each should also consider their relationship with their ex. If their divorce was excessively difficult and a significant amount of animosity toward one another remains, sharing custody can be stressful for their children. Significant differences in parenting philosophies may also cause issues with this type of arrangement.

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