When Illinois courts make parenting time and responsibility determinations the most important consideration is the best interests of the children. Certainly children benefit when both parents put aside their differences and develop a co-parenting relationship of love and cooperation, but if either parent is not up to the task, it could very well impact the parenting time arrangement.
If a parent regularly badmouths a the other parent in front of the kids, for example, a judge may reach the conclusion that he or she is actively sabotaging the ex’s relationship with the children. It may be that your ex is a liar, cheat, or a dirty rotten scoundrel in your book, but it is not in your children’s best interests to drag out a list of your ex’s shortcomings or you run the risk of losing parenting time.
If a parent refuse visits or makes the children feel uneasy about spending time with the other parent, they may be subject to consequences in court. It may be that an ex is behind on child support, but this does not give the other spouse a green light to interfere with parenting time. If you have concerns, then it is an issue that has to be sorted out in court not in a game of tug-of-war with the children. Of course, if you have immediate concerns about a child’s well-being in the presence of the other parent, such as a parent showing up to pick up the kids intoxicated, contact the police. Otherwise, contact your attorney to discuss problems with the parenting time arrangements.
Most children are part of a larger network of family and friends. Therefore, as a parent, it is important to avoid negative characterizations of your ex in general. Although you may need to blow off some steam about your ex-spouse, better to keep your resentment in check. As tempting as it may be to drag your ex through the mud for not showing up on time or not paying their fair share of expenses on behalf of your children, saying or posting derogatory things about your ex has a tendency to come back and haunt those who are doing the talking. It is not only bad policy for the kids, but may impact parenting time arrangements.
Remember the children’s best interests are paramount in a child custody determination – as it should be. Be careful that your resentment toward the other spouse does not boil over into mistreating the kids. A perfect case in point is one where an Illinois court granted an emergency motion of a mother restricting the father’s parenting time due to his conduct with two minor children. The father not only bad mouthed his ex in front of the children, but displayed his resentment by using profanity, threatening punishments, and otherwise showing an inability to control his anger. This obviously puts a significant emotional and mental toll on the children that is just not permissible no matter how much bad blood is flowing after the divorce. If you or your ex is grappling with lingering resentment following your divorce and children are involved, it is in everyone’s interest to seek counseling to work on the co-parenting relationship.
If you have concerns about an existing parenting time arrangement, contact the Libertyville Law Offices of Ronald L Bell & Associates for assistance today at 847-495-6000.