How a Child Custody Dispute Complicates a Divorce Case

a family law attorney in Geneva, IL

Divorce cases are inherently complicated as couples struggle to divide their assets and overcome emotional struggles. The stress goes to the next level when child custody disputes are a part of the picture. The emotional and legal complexities of these cases are far greater than a simple pact of settlement inside or outside the court.

With almost half of marriages in the US ending in divorce, most families with kids face custody battles. Unfortunately, most of these cases involve long and bitter trials, leaving children shattered and in pain.

A recent article in USA Today stated that nearly every six days in the country, a child dies amid a custody battle, family court lapse, or other mishaps. The number is bone-chilling.

Undoubtedly, child custody disputes can significantly complicate divorce cases for both parties and their children. Feuding spouses should think like parents rather than adversaries to resolve the conflict amicably and save their children from the pain.

In this article, we will explain how child custody adds a layer of complexity to a divorce case and what best ways are there to address the situation.

Emotional Strain for Families

Research shows that children of divorced couples with one parent living away suffer emotionally. They are significantly less well-off on several mental and physical health parameters. Another study states that children between 7 and 14 years old are at a 16% higher risk of behavior issues when their parents divorce. Even older children suffer from similar problems.

The emotional strain starts as early as the beginning of the custody battle and becomes a part of life for these families. Parents, too, feel vulnerable as they deal with more than only the dissolution of their marriage.

Emotions often run high, causing stress, anxiety, and hostility between the spouses. It hinders effective communication and cooperation, limiting the chances of amicable agreements. Experts recommend seeking counseling therapy as it helps the couple to manage their emotions. Partners can engage in productive discussions, leading to a healthier resolution.

Custody Laws and Legal Complexities

Custody laws and complex legal regulations make divorce cases far more complicated than you imagine. Each jurisdiction might have different laws regarding custody arrangements, parental responsibilities, and visitation rights. For example, parents fighting for custody in Illinois have to agree on a parenting plan determining the allocation of decision-making responsibilities.

The battles can get long and ugly even in states like Illinois where divorce rates are lower than the national average. Abear Law Offices notes that the rules are complex enough to overwhelm couples struggling with custodial issues, regardless of location in the state.

Even if you live in a small town like Geneva, you must consult with a family law attorney in Geneva, IL, from the outset to comply with the local custody laws. Hiring an experienced attorney can help you navigate the legal intricacies of the case. They can guide you regarding your rights and responsibilities, whether you seek sole or joint custody during a divorce settlement.

Financial Implications and Child Support

Child support is another critical factor in divorce cases involving custody battles. Did you know that 25% of all children in the US are entitled to support payments from their non-custodial parent? That spells a massive financial implication for a non-custodial parent. Further, it can cause disagreements regarding financial issues, such as the division of child-related expenses.

The best solution to these disagreements is to opt for mediation or collaborative divorce. The process facilitates constructive discussions about financial matters, ensuring a resolution in most cases. An independent mediator helps the parents to reach a mutually agreeable financial arrangement. It ensures that the child’s needs are taken care of without escalating conflicts.

Delays With an Extended Legal Process

Delays are imperative as a custody dispute often entails an extended legal process for divorcing couples. Court schedules, repeat hearings, and back-and-forth negotiations can lead to an ongoing divorce case for months or even years. Both partners feel the heat as frustration and financial strain mount over time.

Once again, an alternative dispute resolution method like arbitration can be a savior. It expedites the resolution process and provides a faster and healthier way to address disputes. Parties can rely on their lawyers to negotiate a settlement outside the courtroom instead of an endless and bitter battle on trial. Mediation also preserves a cordial relationship between spouses, ensuring a healthy co-parenting arrangement down the road.


A child custody dispute may make the divorce battle even more traumatic for everyone involved. It often leads to emotional, legal, financial, and psychological challenges for couples and their children. However, the mix should not derail your journey to a practical and amicable separation.

A constructive approach, emotional control, and legal assistance can help you overcome the challenges of a divorce with the child custody element. Follow these tips to separate without drama and adopt cordial co-parenting.


By Clare Louise