Illinois Court’s Considerations in Making Custody Awards

Goodman Law Firm discusses what the Illinois court takes into consideration when making custody awards.
  • Aug 20 2019

In the best of circumstances, parents who are unable to continue living together can agree on a custody arrangement that is in the best interest of their child. However, that is not always the case. Some parents cannot agree on custody and visitation. In those cases, the family court must step in to make a custody award. Because the outcome of a custody case directly impacts the well-being of your child, you may want to seek advice from an Illinois child custody attorney who has extensive experience handling contested custody matters.

Considerations a Judge Uses to Decide Custody Cases

Illinois family laws do not refer to custody or visitation. Those terms have been changed to reflect the ongoing belief that children benefit from ongoing, close relationships with both parents and parents should be active participants in raising their child, even if the parents are no longer together. The law now refers to custody and visitation in terms of parental responsibilities and parenting time. However, many people continue to use the old terms when discussing where the child will live.

A judge awards custody based on what is in the best interest of the child. To determine a child’s best interest, a judge may consider several factors including:

  • The wishes of the parents;
  • The reasonable wishes of the child;
  • The relationship and interaction between each parent and the child;
  • The child’s adjustment to his or her school, community, and home;
  • The physical and mental health of all parties;
  • Allegations of child abuse or abuse of another person;
  • Each parent’s ability to cooperate with the other parent;
  • Each parent’s current living situation; and,
  • Whether either parent is a known sex offender.

In addition to the statutory factors used by judges to determine the best interests of a child, judges may also consider other relevant factors that impact the child’s best interest. Some of the factors that have been found to be relevant in child custody cases include:

  • The work schedules for each parent;
  • Allegations or evidence of substance abuse by either parent;
  • Whether a parent made false allegations of abuse or neglect;
  • Whether either parent is living with another person;
  • If the parent seeking custody is the child’s natural parent; and,
  • Whether either parent has attempted to interfere with or harm the other parent’s relationship with the child.

Proving What is in a Child’s Best Interest

It can be difficult for judges to determine the best interest of the child without compelling evidence. A parent may want to focus on providing evidence that establishes that the parent’s home provides the continuity and stability that the child needs after the divorce or separation of the child’s parents.

Parents should also focus on proving that the parent can meet the physical, emotional, and social needs of the child while fostering a close relationship between the child and the other parent. If a child has extended family members or siblings living in a household, those relationships can also be used to argue that a child should remain in that home to continue contact with those family members.

Contact an Illinois Child Custody Attorney for More Information

If you have questions about custody, visitation, parental responsibilities, and parenting time, contact an Illinois divorce attorney. An experienced attorney is a valuable resource to have on your side if you are fighting for custody of your child. Contact the Illinois child custody attorneys at the Goodman Law Firm to discuss your legal options.

Posted in: Child Custody