During divorce, parents must think of both their own needs as well as those of their children. Each family will have their own unique needs, but there is usually one common thread that generally weaves through everything — that children have two loving, involved parents. Child custody agreements might more readily meet this need for older children, but many courts in Illinois overlook just how important it is for younger children.
For decades, the prevailing standard was for children younger than six to almost always sleep at their mothers’ homes. Most people believed that sleeping at two different homes throughout the week would be too difficult for a toddler or an infant. Instead, only allowing moms to have overnight custody can actually hurt children’s abilities to form secure, lifelong bonds with parents.
Study after study show that infants and toddlers do just fine when sleeping at their father’s house part of the week, and at their mother’s house for the other. In fact, young children frequently thrive in this situation. Rather than receiving most of their love and support from one parent, children can rely on both parents, creating a strong foundation for future parent-child relationships.
Today’s dads are generally more involved in raising their children than their own fathers ever were. But even as this significant shift has been going on, Illinois courts tend to still look at mothers as natural caregivers for young children. Because of this, a father might feel as if he is facing an uphill battle for child custody. Educating one’s self about the benefits of shared custody and Illinois family law can be helpful when facing such a challenge.