Divorce often brings out the worst in people. Someone who is otherwise rational and decent can behave in utterly atrocious ways when a relationship is ending. Occasionally, this can end up impacting child custody and visitation agreements.
If your former spouse is using your children as a weapon against you in a divorce, you need to speak with an experienced Illinois divorce attorney. An attorney can help you fight for custody and protect your interests and your relationship with your children if you are being denied visitation or shared custody.
Often, the person who files for divorce gets to set the temporary custody arrangements. Regardless of whether you want full or partial custody, your former spouse may retain full custody until the divorce is finalized. That can be an incredibly frustrating situation for someone who truly loves his or her children.
Thankfully, the bad behavior on the part of your former spouse can help your overall case for custody. If you are being denied visitation, talk to your attorney about the best way to handle it. Documenting the issues is often critical to arguing your custody case later in the divorce process.
Documentation, not revenge, is the best approach
When your former spouse withholds visitation or intentionally shortens your time with your children, it may make you angry. You may want to push back. This could include intentionally withholding child support in part or in full as a means of forcing your former spouse to comply with your visitation requests.
Unfortunately, the courts will take a very dire view of refusing to pay ordered support. They may garnish your wages, seize your income tax return or even issue a warrant for your arrest. Additionally, failing to pay your child support could make your custody battle even harder.
The courts are interested in protecting the best interest of your children. When you don't have custody, that means providing adequate financial support. For the custodial parent, that means facilitating a healthy, ongoing relationship with the non-custodial parent unless there is a documented history of abuse.
If your former spouse is intentionally impeding your ongoing relationship with your children, documenting these behaviors will help your case for custody.
An attorney can help you enforce your visitation rights
Your attorney can try to negotiate with your former spouse or his or her attorney to have your visitation upheld. Failing that, your attorney can request that the courts enforce your rights for visitation. A lawyer can help you document the pattern of behavior. Doing this can bolster your chances of a favorable outcome to the future custody decision by the courts.