Deciding on child custody can be an emotional time for parents going through a divorce in Illinois. While joint custody is often the best arrangement for everyone, sometimes it is harder for fathers to receive equal time as the mothers. Fathers who want to win joint, or even sole, custody should follow certain guidelines to improve their chances.
According to the Illinois General Assembly, joint custody is an option, but ultimately the decision comes down to what is in the best interest of the child. When parents cannot come to an agreement, the courts step in and decide both legal and physical custody. When it comes to making this decision, a judge will consider:
- Age of the child
- Physical, mental and emotional health of child and each parent
- Current living situation
- Relationship between child and each parent
- Ability of each parent to provide housing, food, clothing, medical care and education
- Child’s wishes once the child turns 14
Very Well Family outlines some tips that prove that living with the father is good for the child. An important one is to demonstrate an ongoing relationship with the child by attending school events, religious celebrations, social outings and athletic events. A father should also check in, even on days when the child is in the mother’s care. This includes calling the child regularly and talking with teachers about academic progress and difficulties.
A father should be able to show the ability to provide proper living accommodations, even if he lives in a small space. Showing respect to the child’s mother throughout the process is very important, as is following through with responsibilities such as child and spousal support.