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The impact of an Illinois minor’s opinion about child custody

Parents make important choices for their minor children like where to live, what medical treatment to have and what schools to attend. Children might not have the decisive power adults have, but kids do have opinions. Their desires concerning child custody and visitations matter to Illinois family courts.

Wheaton parents influence what children say, think and do. A child's opinion about custody arrangements may be swayed by which parent's rules are easier to follow or material benefits – a larger bedroom at mom's house or a later bedtime at dad's. Judges, who discuss custody with minors in the privacy of a judge's chambers outside parental influence, are aware of these factors.

A court or parent can request incorporation of a child's wishes into a custody decision. Ideally, a custody order is the careful examination of several elements leading to a judgment in the best interests of the child. Neither the desires of parents nor children are ignored.

Families are too unique for judges to apply hard-and-fast rules to custody cases. A child's needs are determined by reviewing individual cases. The assessment of parent-child and inter-parental relationships plays a significant part.

The parents' ability to meet the child's needs is not based on one parent's financial advantage. Judges assess whether the parents can provide the care, support and the positive, secure atmosphere and relationships children need. The stability of a child's environment is studied.

How parenting plans are structured is vital to a child's well-being. It's pointless and sometimes harmful for judges to impose custody and visitation orders one or both parents refuse to follow. Interference with parenting rights and histories of violence or substance abuse hinder a parent's position in a custody matter.

A child's opinion is not the last word in a custody case, but it counts. A family law attorney can explain further the degree to which a minor choice affects custody arrangements.

Source: Ohio State Bar Association, "Children's Wishes Are Considered in Custody Matters" Sep. 02, 2014

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