Cook County parents who are getting a divorce will need to sort out custody and parenting time issues as part of the process. For most of them, this could be the most important part of the breakup since both parents want as much time with their children as possible. It would probably help to understand how the courts determine “the best interests of the child” since that remains the litmus test courts use here and across the country.

When it comes to making that determination, courts will look at a variety of factors, including which parent best fits into the “better parent” standard. When it comes to parenting, people employ a variety of strategies that work well for their particular circumstances, so unless the method harms the children in some way, the courts will most likely not judge parents on this point. However, what they will want to know is which parent’s viewpoint and actions will best serve the psychological and physical needs of the children.

Parents will need to provide the court with evidence of how they achieve those goals, which could start with answering some basic questions. For example, which parent takes care of most of the daily care for the children? Who takes them to the doctor, drops them off at school or goes to every game? The answers to these types of questions could provide parents with a place to start when gathering evidence for a custody hearing.

Cook County parents could obtain an explanation of their rights and explore their options when it comes to achieving their custody and parenting time goals. Meeting the “best interests of the child” standard does not necessarily mean battling it out in court. Parents could come to an agreement on their own and present it to the court for approval as long as it meets with the standards the court will apply to it. For this reason, parents could take another early step as they fight to exercise their parental rights by each discussing the entirety of their situations with a knowledgeable and compassionate family law attorney.