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DuPage County divorce and child custody attorneyFiling for divorce can represent an opportunity to begin a new life. Leaving a loveless marriage or an unhealthy relationship can oftentimes be the best decision a person can make. Still, the divorce process can quickly become complicated, especially when children are involved. Custody battles can be lengthy and stressful, and winning sole custody of children can be especially difficult. If you are filing for divorce and looking to address issues related to child custody, you need quality legal guidance. 

Preparing for a Custody Battle

Every year, thousands of Americans file for divorce. Many people seeking a separation from their former spouse do not prepare for the divorce process in a proper manner. Listed below are a few steps that every person should take if they are looking to secure custody rights for their children:

  • Devise a Strategy: As you approach the divorce process, it is important to strategically plan for all important aspects of the separation. For parents, nothing is more important than their children. In order to secure custody, you and your legal team need to present a compelling case to the judge. Speaking with your attorney about what areas you want to focus on can be key to your case. Has your former spouse been absent in crucial parenting moments, or have they struggled to maintain steady employment? Have there been any instances of domestic violence or abuse, and can you provide evidence of risks to your children? Presenting your legal team with as much information as possible is critical to building your strategy. 
  • Prove Yourself as a Parent: While your legal team works on your case, there are steps you need to take in order to prove that you are capable of handling independent parenting. Make sure that your house or apartment has space for your children to live, play, sleep, and do homework. Avoid heavy drinking or other forms of substance abuse. If you are relocating, conduct research on your area’s school system and the extracurricular activities available. Demonstrating that you are the best person to care for your children is key to winning custody. 
  • Secure Child Support Payments: Parenting as an individual can be incredibly financially difficult. As you speak with your legal team regarding custody, it is important to have a discussion about securing child support payments from your former spouse. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, only 45.6 of single custodial parents throughout the United States were provided with full child support payments. A quality legal team can ensure that you receive full payments both now and in the future. 

Contact a DuPage County Family Law Attorney 

At The Stogsdill Law Firm, P.C., our legal team fully understands how stressful the divorce process can be, especially when children are involved. We have decades of experience in divorce cases involving children, and we can help you present a compelling case to a judge as you seek to secure sole custody of your children. Our team is also prepared to aggressively fight for child support payments from your former spouse. If you are filing for divorce, you need the legal assistance of a team you can trust. To schedule a consultation with a Wheaton divorce attorney, contact us today at 630-462-9500. 

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Although the divorce rate has fallen over the last several years, there are still many families that separate each year. When a child is at the center of that family, parents often worry if the divorce will negatively impact the mental and emotional health of their child. Countless studies suggest this could be the case, including a recent one that was supported by the National Institute for Mental Health, but there may be less to worry about than the experts let on - especially if parents know how to mitigate against the possible risks.

Examining the Possible Impact of Divorce

Society often thinks of children as "resilient" and capable of overcoming the obstacles they face early in life. On one hand, there is some truth to that. On the other hand, there is a real risk of emotional trauma. For example, children who experience parental alienation may experience long-term complications, such as disdain for the alienated parent. Alternatively, the child may have a sense that there is something wrong with them because they still love the alienated parent, despite all the "horrible" things they have allegedly done. As a result, the child may be prone to depression, anxiety, or low self-esteem.

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As a married couple, you and your spouse might not have given much thought to if or when it would be appropriate to leave your child at home. Maybe your schedules worked in a way that at least one of you would always be home. Or, maybe you simply had enough to cover child care expenses. However, as a newly single parent, these former practices might not be available anymore. As such, you may be faced with wondering if your mature but minor child can be left at home after school or during summer break until you make it home. Know where the law stands and how it might apply to your child custody case.

Home Alone Age Restrictions in Illinois

Out of approximately 20 states with laws regarding the age at which a child may be left at home alone, Illinois' is the strictest. It states that any minor child under the age of 14 left home without supervision for an "unreasonable amount of time" may be taken into state protective custody for his or her safety. However, there is no statute that clearly defines what amount of time that may be. Instead, it only gives a non-exhaustive list of 15 points for the court to consider, which is only done after a child is removed from the home.

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