Parenting, and the fear of losing contact or connections with children during a divorce can create highly charged emotions that may make determining the best interests of their children difficult for parents. In the Highland Park area and throughout Chicago, working with an experienced child custody attorney can often help to move past these issues to develop custody and visitation plans that work for both parents.
Custody issues can be much more complex when parents share little common ground with regards to what is the best arrangement for co-parenting their children. However, more parents today understand the importance of minimizing the conflict children are exposed to during and after a divorce, and they may simply need support, advice, and guidance as to how to create their own effective co-parenting plan and custody arrangement.
Mediation and Child Custody
A top child custody attorney will most likely recommend mediation to their client as a way to allow the divorcing couple to try to develop a plan they both agree to. This will include both the physical custody of the child, which includes where the child lives and how much time each parent has with the child, as well as legal custody.
Legal custody will focus on which parent should make decisions for the child on major issues such as religion, education and physical and mental health decisions. It is possible for both parents to have time with the child, but for one parent to have legal custody and make the decisions. If at all possible both parents are typically involved through joint custody arrangements where there is agreement on these issues in the child’s life.
In mediation, which is facilitated by a neutral person, the mediator, the child custody attorney will act as your representative and advisor. The other parent will also typically have an attorney, and through guided discussion an opportunity is provided to create an agreement that is satisfactory to both parents and in the best interests of the child or children.
Litigation and Child Custody
In some situations, particularly if there is a history of domestic violence, child abuse, mental health issues or other factors, mediation may not be an option. In these situations, the child custody attorney will be prepared to litigate the case, providing evidence and information to a family court judge.
The judge will then make a ruling that will be legally binding on both parents with regards to custody arrangements. This ruling will also include child support and other issues related to the children, and your child custody attorney will be essential in ensuring the judge hears relevant information to make an informed decision.
A child custody attorney is an important professional in both mediation and litigation of child custody issues. To see how Michael C. Craven can help in your divorce and custody case visit online at www.divorcelawyerschicago.org.