Things You Can Do to Help Your Custody Petition

There are few legal situations where the stakes are higher than child custody disputes. Judges have broad discretion to look at every aspect of each parent’s relationship with the child or children. This means that a successful custody bid often depends just as much if not more on what happens outside the courtroom than what happens within. A parent who is serious about getting a favorable custody determination must begin laying the groundwork well in advance. 

A custody determination hinges on what the court believes to be in the best interests of the child. It is not about what is fair to the parents. This can make a custody proceeding especially challenging for a noncustodial parent attempting to change the status quo. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to help demonstrate your commitment: 

  • Take full advantage of whatever visitation rights you may have. Use your visitation opportunities to engage in healthy activities with your child. 
  • Stay in contact with your child to the greatest extent reasonable. This includes phone calls as well as letters and e-mails if appropriate. 
  • Stay current with child support. Although non-payment of support is not grounds for a denial of visitation, it usually does not speak well of your commitment and ability to responsibly provide for the child. 
  • Always strive to be reasonable, even when the other parent makes it very difficult. 
  • If you live a significant distance from the child and are able to do so, you may even want to consider relocating to the child’s area. 

Custody is never a decision that Illinois judges take lightly. However, with dedication on your part and the advice of a good Illinois child custody attorney, you can lay the groundwork necessary to demonstrate your quality as a parent and convince the court your child would benefit from increased contact.

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