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5 Divorce Mistakes that Could Cost You Custody

Reasons for Custody Modifications

Going through a divorce when children are involved can add an extra layer of stress. With custody, support, and other aspects of their lives to be determined, it may seem like you have to walk on eggshells to get the best outcome. While every parent and attorney is concerned with what is in the best interest of the child, sometimes that determination can change over time.

How It’s Decided

You may have a drastically different post-divorce life than expected and find it hard to keep up with parental responsibilities. On the other hand, the divorce may be high conflict and have issues that last long after the case is settled. Either way, there are some instances in which your custody decision may be modified because of your actions as a parent. Here are five of the most common examples.

1. Social Media

Living in this digital age, we are all cautioned to use social media thoughtfully, and unfortunately, sometimes not doing so can have serious consequences. Any post, tweet, or photo not only can be used against you during the initial custody decision, but it can also be the reason that your former spouse could file for a modification. If you have posts displaying a harmful environment, dangerous behaviors involving your child, or are using the platform to bad-mouth the other parent, these could be potentially harmful to your custody case.

One way to avoid this is to take care when posting on social media. Try to refrain from posting anything that could be misconstrued as harmful or disparaging towards the other parent.

2. Bad-Mouthing the Other Parent

No matter how volatile your relationship, bad-mouthing the other parent — especially around your child — can be a reason to file for a custody modification. This is because derogatory and false statements made about the other parent in front of the children can be considered defamation (which is against the law in Illinois). Not only could this be a reason for a custody modification, but they could potentially pursue further legal action.

If your child asks about their other parent, always be fair and respectful when referring to them, and remember that your personal feelings towards them shouldn’t affect how they are seen by their child.

3. Child Support or Visitation Missteps

Not upholding your end of the custody agreement can always backfire. In the most extreme cases, it can even cost you your parenting time. If visitation or child support is outlined in your agreement, you have a responsibility to both your child and the court to follow through on what was legally agreed upon. It is always best to refer to this if there are questions about the amount of visitation or support. If you find it to be unfair, you can file for modification.

4. Relocation

While relocations aren’t always the main cause behind modifying your agreement, if one parent has sole or partial custody, they will likely need to notify the other parent and court of the decision to relocate if it will have an impact on the child or agreement. Both parties have a duty to reasonably uphold the arrangement, and if relocating for work or otherwise will hinder the other parent from doing so (or negatively affect the child), it may call for a modification.

5. Child’s Needs Aren’t Being Met

Every child is different and requires a different level of care and attention. Likewise, sometimes mental or physical health dramatically shifts over time, and you may not be capable of handling it in the way that you once thought. There is no shame in knowing that you are not able to meet the needs of your child, and if modifying your custody agreement is the way to act in their best interest, then it may need to be considered.

Trust the Illinois Custody Attorneys

Custody agreements can be unpredictable, but having an experienced attorney on your side can help you prepare for any potential changes that may happen down the road. When working with Law Offices of Jonathan Merel, P.C., you can rest easier knowing that we take a holistic approach to custody cases and will examine every current and future aspect that may affect your child. If you have questions about your custody arrangement, schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys to get them answered.

Call (312) 487-2795 for a free phone consultation.

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