July 19,2022

Child Custody, Divorce, Family Law, Visitation

Goodman Law Firm

Can a Child Choose Which Parent They Want to Live With?

HomeBlogChild CustodyCan a Child Choose Which Parent They Want to Live With?

While going through a divorce can be a difficult time for spouses, it can be even challenging for their children. They may have questions about who they are going to live with and how this will affect them. As a parent, you may have the same concerns as your child and wonder what living situation is best for them. Additionally, your child may have expressed who they desire to live with after the divorce. At Goodman Law Firm, we’re here to help you understand how living arrangements are decided in the court and if your child can choose their desired residence.  

Is My Child in Charge of Deciding Who They Live With?

Though a child may have a preference over who they live with, they are not permitted to decide who they live with on their own. However if the child is older, their opinion is strongly considered in the decision making process. This doesn’t automatically mean they will be permitted to live with that parent, as the court has final say in living arrangements. 

What Is Meant by Best Interests of the Child?

Illinois law abides by the “Best Interests of the Child.” This means that in deciding who the child should live with, the court will consider what’s most appropriate for the child’s overall well-being. Some factors that can impact how the best interest of the child is determined can include:

  • The Well-Being of Both Parents, Including Physical and Emotional Wellness

In deciding what’s best for the child, the court will analyze the well-being of both parents. For example, if one of the parents struggles with drug abuse, they may be deemed unfit to have their child living with them. This doesn’t mean that they’ll have no rights in regards to seeing their child, but it may be found against the child’s best interests to have them permanently living with them. 

  • The Ability of Each Parent to Care For Their Child’s Specific Needs

In some instances, a child may have specific needs that one parent knows how to attend to better than the other. For example, if a child has a medical condition that requires medical care, they may be assigned to live with the parent closest to their necessary doctors. In addition, one parent may know how to properly care for their child’s condition more than the other. In this case, it may be in the best interest of the child to have them live with the parent responsible for their medical care. 

  • Mutual Agreement Between Parents About Living Arrangements

If both spouses agree upon a living arrangement, and this is found to be in the best interest of the child, the court may grant this request. However, the court may overrule this request if they see the arrangements as unaligned with the child’s best interests. 

While this is not an exhaustive list of every determining factor in living arrangements, the court will always determine if the factor in consideration aligns best with the child’s needs. 

Contact Our Trusted Team Today

If you have questions regarding living arrangements for your child in Illinois divorces, contact our team today. We look forward to hearing from you soon.


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