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Understanding child custody and a child’s best interests

| Apr 1, 2020 | Child Custody |

Illinois parents who are getting a divorce will want to serve the child’s best interests with child custody and visitation. However, the parents’ perception of a child’s best interests might differ from how the law perceives it. When the court decides on a case, it is important to understand what will be considered when the determination is made.

There are numerous factors that will be part of the process under state law. If the child is of sufficient age and maturity to state his or her preferences, the court will take that into account. Divorce can mean a period of adjustment for a child based on the new situation and living arrangements. This can include the community, schooling and living with a single parent. People can have various issues mentally and physically – the court will gauge these factors when making its decision.

Since the marriage broke down, there could be lingering animosity that might negatively impact the relationship and hinder cooperation. The court will consider how this can be navigated as decision-making responsibility is allocated. Parents will have a history of involvement in the child’s life. That level of participation will be weighed as the court decides on child custody and visitation. Parental behavior and negotiated agreements can be critical when the court considers child custody.

Parents will have their own desires for parenting time and custody. It might be possible for the sides to come to an amicable agreement or there could be disputes. The court gauges this. The child’s basic needs must be met. The parents will live separately after the divorce. The distance between those residences and how it facilitates or complicates transportation, scheduling and cooperation is vital. Some cases require restrictions on decision-making. The parents are expected to ensure the child has a relationship with the other parent and will not interfere with that in a negative way. Physical violence will obviously be a mitigating factor as will the possibility that the child may be put in some level of danger.

The court will gauge all factors when deciding on child custody. Whether the parents are on good terms or not, it is wise to think about the law and how the child custody and visitation is determined. As the case moves forward, an experienced family law firm may be able to help with a case and achieve a positive result.

View the profile of Illinois Family Law Attorney Alex Fawell
DCBA | DuPAGE County Bar Association Member
Lead Counsel Rated Attorney