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How Are Children’s Best Interests Determined in Illinois?

 Posted on March 26, 2024 in Child Custody

Blog ImageIn family law cases, the well-being of children is always the primary concern. Determining what is best for a child will be the top priority of a family court judge in child custody cases where decisions need to be made regarding the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time. If you are in the midst of a divorce or need to address custody issues as an unmarried parent, it is crucial to understand how the state of Illinois approaches these matters. An experienced attorney can guide you through the complexities of the legal system and advocate for a resolution that will provide for your child's best interests.

Key Factors in Determining Children's Best Interests

In Illinois, decisions about the allocation of parental responsibilities (legal custody) and parenting time (physical custody or visitation) are made based on what is in the child's best interests. Courts may consider a variety of factors to ensure that the arrangements put in place will promote the well-being and happiness of the child. Here are some of the key factors that will be taken into account in these cases:

  • The child’s wishes: A judge may speak to a child to get an idea of their preferences for which parent they want to live with, keeping the child’s age and level of maturity in mind.

  • Parental wishes: The desires of each parent, as expressed in court or through their parenting plan proposals, may be taken into account, and a judge may need to determine how to resolve differences between each parent’s proposals or requests.

  • The child’s adjustment: A court will look at how well the child is adjusting to their home, school, and community. A judge will seek to emphasize stability in the child’s life and prevent making major changes that could disrupt their life, their personal relationships, and their daily activities.

  • Mental and physical health: The current status of all parties involved, including parents, children, or other family members, may be considered to ensure that children will receive the proper care and be able to live in healthy environments.

  • Family relationships: The strength of a child’s relationship with each parent, siblings, and other family members may be considered, and a judge may seek to avoid disruptions to healthy and supportive relationships.

  • The parents' ability to cooperate: A judge will consider how well the parents can work together in matters related to their child. Ideally, parents will be able to maintain a cooperative co-parenting relationship.

  • Past and present caregiving roles: The court may examine how each parent has been involved in caregiving duties and decision-making. Judges will often try to preserve previous arrangements and practices as much as possible.

  • Any history of violence or abuse: If there have been any instances of domestic violence by a parent, either towards the child or another family member, the court may seek to implement measures to protect children’s safety and well-being.

  • The child’s needs: Special consideration is given to the child's personal needs, including any educational, emotional, or physical concerns that may need to be addressed as parents share custody.

Encouraging Collaboration and Understanding

In many cases, a collaborative approach to reaching agreements about child custody issues can be beneficial. When parents seek to cooperate in making decisions about how their children will be raised and ensure that their children can spend enough time with both of them, this can lead to more amicable and effective co-parenting. A family law attorney can help determine how mediation and negotiation can be used to reach agreements that will provide for children’s needs while maintaining positive parent/child relationships.

Contact Our Oakbrook Terrace Child Custody Attorneys

As you work to make decisions about parental responsibilities and parenting time in a child custody case, an experienced attorney can help ensure that all legal issues will be addressed correctly. At Farooqi & Husain Law Office, our DuPage County child custody lawyers understand the nuances of these sensitive issues, and we are committed to helping you find solutions that will prioritize the well-being of your children. Reach out to us today by calling 630-909-9114 to set up a consultation.

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