Later this week, families throughout Illinois and the United States will gather to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday. For parents who are recently divorced or going through a divorce, this holiday season is likely to be filled with many challenging firsts including having to communicate and coordinate with one's ex or soon-to-be ex-spouse and not spending the entire holiday with one's children.
When a married couple has a child and they decide to file for divorce, things can become very complicated. Custody of the child will obviously be at the top of the list of issues that need to be handled in the divorce. While there are some couples who contest custody, many others are able to agree to some form of joint custody.
Whether you live here in Illinois or anywhere else in the United States, child custody disputes are often complex. Courts try to make custody decisions that reflect the best interests of the children, but those interests can change as the children get older. Even then, for better and worse, it is often difficult for the non-custodial parent to alter the custody arrangement without the cooperation of the parent who has primary custody.
In discussions about what is best for children after a parental divorce, assumptions sometimes get more weight and credibility than they should. For instance, shared custody has been growing in the United States, including here in Illinois, but it is still not as common as it is in some other countries. And a frequent argument against shared child custody is that kids would turn into "suitcase kids" - forever bouncing back and forth between homes with no sense of stability.