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Can your ex just 'take the kids' away from you?

82278479_s.jpgOne of the most devastating and gut-wrenching threats one parent can hurl at another is the statement, "I'll take the kids, and you'll never see them!" If your spouse has just threatened you with these words or anything similar, take a deep breath and a big step back.

Your spouse doesn't have all of the control in this situation. The courts are primarily concerned with doing whatever is best for the children in this situation -- which usually means having both parents around. Your spouse would have to mount a pretty convincing argument that you're somehow unsafe for the kids to be around in order to get sole custody and keep you from visitation.

Here are the real factors that are considered when an Illinois judge has to determine custody issues:

  • Each parent's wishes and reasoning (which means your feelings on the issue are just as valid as your spouse's)
  • The wishes of the child (when the child is old enough and sufficiently mature)
  • Prior caretaking agreements
  • The child's adjustment to their current home and community
  • The physical health needs and limitations of all parties
  • Mental health issues involved
  • The ability of the parents to cooperate
  • Logistical issues (like the distance between homes)
  • Each parent's capacity to put the child's needs above their own
  • A history of violence or threats of violence and any conviction for a sex offense

The court is also allowed to take any other important piece of information or factor into consideration as long as it seems relevant to the child's well-being.

If you understand that child custody issues always focus around the needs of the children -- not the wants of the parents -- it's much easier to stay calm and focused in the face of threats.

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