What Is the Best Interest of the Child Standard in Custody Cases?
If you are planning to file for divorce from your spouse, or if your spouse recently filed for divorce in DuPage County and you have been served with divorce papers, you may be unsure about the next steps that will follow in your divorce case. For couples with minor children from their marriage, the process of moving forward with a divorce can be particularly stressful. As you might already know, rather than awarding child custody to one or both parents, the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) clarifies that parents should be allocated parental responsibilities based on the “best interests of the child” standard. But what do courts mean when they refer to the best interests of the child?
The IMDMA provides some clarifying language that can help parents to understand what courts are aiming for when they allocate parental responsibilities. If you still have follow-up questions after learning more about the best interests of the child standard, you should get in touch with a DuPage County child custody lawyer to learn more.
IMDMA Recognizes the Significance of Parental Responsibilities
According to the IMDMA, when the court seeks to determine a child’s best interests in allocating parenting time and significant decision-making responsibilities, it does so with the acknowledgment that parental responsibilities are “paramount responsibilities in our system of justice.” Accordingly, in determining what is in a child’s best interests, the court will think about the following issues outlined in the statute:
- Child’s right to a “strong and healthy relationship with parents”
- Parents’ right and responsibility to maintain strong and healthy relationships with their children
- Healthy development of children usually will involve proximity to and frequent contact with both parents unless there is an issue of domestic violence or another factor that leads the court to believe that proximity to or frequent contact with one of the parents could be detrimental to the child
- Courts have a responsibility to facilitate parents’ planning and agreement about the allocation of parenting time and other parental responsibilities and to help parents reach an agreement about an upbringing that is in the child’s best interest
- Continuing parent-child relationships should be promoted, and both parents should play a role in the “physical, mental, moral, and emotional well-being of the children during and after the litigation”
- When parents cannot reach an agreement or communicate effectively with the other parent when it comes to the child, the court often should require parents to participate in programs designed to facilitate cooperation and communication and to eliminate the type of “rancor” that can be detrimental to the child
These are some of the overarching principles of the IMDMA when it comes to the child’s best interests. When courts make specific decisions about allocating significant decision-making responsibilities or parenting time, the court will look at a wide variety of factors outlined in the statute.
Contact an Oakbrook Terrace Child Custody Attorney
If you have questions about the best interests of the child or the allocation of parental responsibilities, one of our dedicated Oakbrook Terrace child custody lawyers can help. We have been representing members of the Muslim community in DuPage County for years and can speak with you today. Contact Farooqi & Husain Law Office today online or call our firm at 630-909-9114 for more information.