Previously, a post on this blog discussed some of the most common pitfalls for parents in the midst of a contentious child custody battle. Now known as the allocation of parental responsibilities in Illinois, such cases are typically very stressful for all involved. There are, however, a few more missteps you should take care to avoid as you strive to be the best possible parent to your child.
#6. Disparaging the Other Parent and Using the Child as a Spy
In general, Illinois family courts prefer to have both parents present and active in the child’s life. For this to occur, it means that both parents must strive to create a respectful co-parenting relationship. Putting the other parent down in front of your child does not help the situation in any way. In addition, disagreements between co-parents should never be discussed in front of the children.
You should also avoid employing your children as spies in the other parent’s household or trying to extract information about the other parent from them. If the court determines that you are doing so, it can be used against you as cause to change or reject your proposed agreement.
#7. Being Unprepared
While you and the other parent are negotiating a more permanent arrangement, the court will likely issue a temporary custody plan in the meantime. Family court judges like to see that parents are trying to find solutions that improve their children’s lives. Do not go into court without a plan in place for the following common issues:
- How the work schedules of the co-parents will accommodate the needs of the children and logistical requirements of the parenting plans;
- Transportation plans and emergency back-up plans; and
- Proposed child care considerations.
#8. Failing to Keep Detailed Records
It may be important to keep a log of how your parenting plan is being implemented. If the other parent fails to meet his or her obligations, talks negatively in front of the children, or otherwise engages in inappropriate behavior, it should be noted with dates and times. Writing this information down will enable you to provide examples in the event you are called to testify in court. This kind of accurate documentation will lend much greater legitimacy to your testimony.
#9. Failing to Comply With Court Directives
Judicial orders require 100% compliance. There are no exceptions. A parent who violates an order from the court puts him- or herself at risk for fines, sanctions, and possibly jail time. If a situation arises where your ability to comply with an order may be compromised, you need to notify the court immediately and make good faith efforts to comply anyway.
#10. Trying to Handle the Process Without an Attorney
Cases involving the allocation of parental responsibilities are complex, and an experienced Orland Park family law attorney has the skills and tools to help you achieve a positive outcome. To learn more about how our firm can assist you, call 708-518-8200 for a free consultation today.