Undergoing a custody battle should be an act of last resort. The end result usually produces two losers and no winners. It should only be attempted if children are being subject to physical or psychological danger. If your child is being exposed to physical or sexual harm, take immediate action at any price. Additionally, if the children are being exposed to individuals and behaviors that make proper parenting for the children impossible, then a contested custody case is certainly warranted. Such behaviors would include drug use, multiple sexual partners in the presence of the children and psychotic actions caused by mental instability.
Absent one of the above mentioned factors, a custody battle will likely lead to a big loss on both sides. There is a huge financial cost to go along with an often irrecoverable emotional loss. And the party who ultimately winds up with custody may have done so at an extreme price for the minor children. Although the parties may attempt to shield the children as much as possible, they are no doubt going along for the ride. And that ride may take years depending upon the city and court location of the battle.
Because custody battles produce few winners, the courts will do whatever they can to encourage an agreed upon settlement. In Illinois, when there is any dispute involving the custody of minor children, the parties are forced to engage in court ordered mediation. This mediation is the first step in an attempt to have the parties reach an agreement. This method has been very successful because is forces the parties to think about the children and not just about themselves. Such mediation could reduce a divorce case to months instead of years. The well being of the entire family can be enhanced through the use of mediation. However, if mediation is not effective and the children are at severe risk of harm, forge ahead with a custody battle. Just remember, there are few winners if ever.
Importantly, before jumping in the waters of a divorce or custody case, consult with an experienced divorce or family lawyer to learn more about your rights and about the likely outcome. There is so much misinformation that surrounds divorce and custody. People discuss other peoples’ results without knowing any of the facts of the case. It goes way beyond hearsay. Without the advice of an experienced attorney, there is no way to have peace of mind throughout the process. what is mediation