Under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, a divorcing parent has the right to seek a temporary custody order for his or her child while he or she works through the divorce process. A divorce can take up to six months to complete from its initial filing to its final settlement. During this time, a temporary custody order provides a framework for the couple’s child’s care and a stable household for him or her until a permanent custody arrangement is developed.
Many divorced parent can attest that their divorce was a difficult process. Even the most amicable situations still carry a level of stress and distrust between spouses, and often, the total upheaval of the life of their children. During a divorce, feelings of bitterness and betrayal are frequently most acute, and their effects may last for months and years. For divorcing parents, who now have to co-parent, it is extremely important to avoid projecting such emotions onto the children, regardless of intention.
During the past few years, joint child custody has become a popular choice in Illinois because it permits both parents the opportunity to spend time with their children. In this way, children benefit, too, as they don’t feel cut off from seeing one of their parents. However, joint child custody can have a downside: Co-parenting can exacerbate disagreements between the parents and present long-term challenges.
In a divorce situation, making arrangements for the custody and care of your children will be among the most difficult decisions to be made. Regardless of your feelings toward your ex-spouse, your children still deserve the best efforts of both parents in providing for them. For this reason, many divorced parents are recognizing the importance of a parenting plan that they have jointly negotiated rather than relying solely on a judge’s interpretation of the law.
In some custody cases, a Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) is appointed to add a non-biased opinion on the matter. It is important for both parties to understand the GAL’s job, focus, and the weight of his/her decision before deciding whether to ask for this form of advocacy in a child custody case.
There are so many issues and decisions to make during a divorce that one person cannot make an informed decision without consultation. If children are part of the marriage, the issues can get even greater and more complicated. Below are a few issues that can be made easier with a divorce attorney.