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Handling contentious child custody and support issues

For parents in Illinois, divorce can be particularly painful. In general, most parents will have less time with their children after the split, and they may also have a contentious relationship with their former partners. These issues can easily spill over into co-parenting conflicts. While some parents are able to easily negotiate a fair parenting plan that takes both parents' relationship with the children into consideration, others wind up locked in custody battles.

On many occasions, both mothers and fathers involved in contentious child custody situations feel as if they have been treated unfairly in family court. They may feel that short shrift was given to their arguments or that they have been victims of bias. Indeed, approximately 80 percent of cases involve mothers with primary custody. While some judges take an excessively traditional approach with unfair consequences, most of these cases don't reflect hard-fought custody battles. In many situations, the mother is the only parent seeking child custody, while shared or joint custody is quickly becoming the standard.

Child support can be another difficult issue, especially when parents face financial hardship after the initial support order was established. A paying parent may lose his or her job, become disabled or otherwise face a massive change in circumstances. Because child support orders are calculated based on a state formula that includes parental income and time with the children, a once-reasonable sum may become a crushing burden. People can even face jail time for contempt of court if debt racks up.

Parents can seek a child support modification in court if they can show that their circumstances have changed and that they face hardship due to the support order. A family law attorney might be able to work with a parent to file for a modified order, working to avoid crushing debt and damaging penalties as a result.

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