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How Do Illinois Courts Decide Child Custody Issues?

Posted on in Divorce

dupage-county-child-custody-lawyer.jpgThe number one priority in a child custody case is the child’s best interest. In the vast majority of cases, the court will want a child to spend some time with both parents. Unless one parent presents a demonstrable risk to the child’s wellbeing, a shared custody situation is the most likely outcome. Using collaborative divorce to reach a custody agreement is often the best option. However, when this is not possible, there are a number of factors the court will consider in order to determine what type of arrangement would be best for the child. Your attorney will be able to discuss these factors and how they apply to your case in greater detail. 

Understanding Illinois Custody Terms 

Illinois uses updated language to describe child custody. In fact, the term “custody” is not used in a legal context. It is now called “allocation of parental responsibilities.” Physical custody used to be the term used to describe which parent would physically have the child with them. This is now called “parenting time.” Having decision-making rights about the child’s upbringing was formerly called “legal custody,” but this is now termed “parenting responsibilities.” 

Both can be divided between two parents, or be awarded to one parent alone. 

What Factors Do Courts Consider When Allocating Parental Responsibilities?

Judges will consider a handful of different factors when determining what type of arrangement would best serve the child’s interests. These factors include: 

  • Child’s wishes - The weight of a child’s wishes depends on their age and maturity level. 

  • Health - Courts will consider the mental and physical health of everyone involved in the case. 

  • Relationships - This includes the child’s relationship with both parents, siblings, and anyone else who could have an impact on the child’s wellbeing. 

  • Family - Any history of family violence or other types of abuse will weigh strongly. 

  • Parental cooperation - The court will look at each parent’s willingness to put the interests of the child first and cooperate with one another to do so. 

  • Caregiving time - Courts will look into which parent is in fact the child’s primary caretaker. This may be especially relevant if one parent took on the bulk of childcare duties. 

  • Adjustment - How well a child is adjusted to their home, school, and community will be relevant. Courts may hesitate to uproot a well-adjusted child. 

It is important to understand that no one factor alone is dispositive. However, any abuse history will weigh heavily as courts strive to keep children physically and emotionally safe. Judges will consider these factors as a whole before making a decision. 

Contact a DuPage County Attorney for Allocation of Parental Responsibilities

Botti Marinaccio, LTD. will fight to protect the bond you share with your child. Our skilled Hinsdale lawyers for allocation of parental responsibilities focus in on each factor in order to build strong arguments for our clients. Contact us at 630-575-8585 to arrange a confidential consultation. 

Source: https://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/fulltext.asp?DocName=075000050K602.7

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