When Fred and Wilma first got married in the town of Bedrock, they thought they would live happily ever after. They bought a house, a car, and then along came their daughter, Pebbles. Five years later, after Wilma decided she could no longer take Fred or his goofy friend, Barney, Wilma, asked Fred for a divorce. The divorce was amicable, they agreed upon allocation of parental responsibilities, and the primary residence of Pebbles would remain with Wilma. Wilma moved with Pebbles to the neighboring town, Wilmette Park. One year later, Wilma’s boyfriend moved in with Wilma and Pebbles.
Fred did not like Wilma’s new boyfriend, and he thought that Pebbles probably did not like him either. After the parties had been divorced for three years, and Pebbles was eight years old, Fred decided to seek a transfer of custody of his daughter, Pebbles.
In Illinois, the burden of shifting custody from one parent to the other is on the parent petitioning for the change. The non-custodial parent must show by clear and convincing evidence, that a change has occurred in the circumstances of the parties, and it is now in the minor child’s best interests that custody be modified.
When seeking to modify custody, before a court will consider the best interests of the minor child, it first must be presented with evidence that there has been a change in the circumstances of the parties. If the court is satisfied that there has been a change in circumstances, the non-custodial parent then must present evidence that it is now in the best interests of the minor child that custody be changed. Following is a list of some, but not all of the questions and factors a court will consider in determining whether custody should be changed:
- What is the interaction and interrelationship of the child with each of his parents?
- Which parent’s home, school, and community would be better suited for raising the minor child?
- Has either parent ever physically abused the minor child?
- Would a mental health professional, such as a psychiatrist or psychologist, support the minor child moving from one parent to the other?
- Which parent has a stronger ability to foster a close relationship with the other parent?
- Which parent has more available quality time to spend with the minor child, taking into account his or her respective work schedule and lifestyle?
As simple and straightforward as custody modification may appear, before any parent seeks to modify the custodial living arrangements of his or her child or children, he or she should think long and hard before putting his child, himself, and his former spouse through an emotionally and economically draining battle.
Contact The Law Office of Michael P. Doman your Chicago Child Custody Lawyer today!