One of the most difficult things divorcing couples who are in the midst of a child custody battle may face is to keep all communications with each other civil. Emotions are high, anger is heated, and it can be almost impossible keep those feelings contained. However, it is important to know that any negative communications you have with your soon-to-be-ex spouse can be held against you when it comes to deciding who should get custody of the children.
In Illinois, there are several criteria that the court will consider when making the determination of child custody. These factors include:
- The wishes of the parents;
- Depending on a child’s age, the court will consider the wishes of the child;
- The interaction between the child and each parent and any other caregivers;
- The physical and emotional health of both parents and child;
- How well the child has adjusted to his or her home, community, and school;
- Whether there is any record of abuse, domestic or otherwise; and
- How willing each parent is to foster an ongoing relationship between the child and the other parent.
The ability for a parent to put aside the anger and contention that often comes from a marriage breakup, and instead focus on the emotional health and well-being of the child is also something that judges watch for in custody cases. If a parent uses threats and intimidation over child custody in order to bully the other parent into meeting their demands in other areas of divorce negotiations – such as property division or spousal support – the court may consider that a threat to the child’s emotional health and award sole custody to the other parent.
So, how do parents avoid letting emotions rule their communications with each other and risk their custody case? Family therapists recommend the following tips to maintain control:
- Keep communications with your ex-spouse “business-like” as if you were dealing with a co-worker or colleague.
- When speaking with your ex, do not make statements, but instead, make requests, such as “Would it be possible for. . .?”
- Be polite and listen to what the other parent has to say. Even if you do not agree with what they are saying, it will be easier to discuss if both of you feel as if you are being heard.
- Keep all discussions strictly about the children and do not let your spouse steer the conversation elsewhere.
If you are considering a divorce and anticipate a stressful child custody battle, contact an experienced Kane County divorce attorney to find out what your legal options may be. The skilled lawyers at Bochte, Kuzniar & Navigato, P.C. have over 100 years of combined experience in child custody and other family law matters. Call (630) 377-7770 today for a free consultation.