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Dividing parental responsibilities between parents who have made the decision to separate or divorce is difficult. Both parents have a legal obligation to support their child, although one parent may be given primary custody and decision making power over their child (and the other ordered to pay child support).
Parents need to devise a parenting plan that is made in the best interests of the child. If parents cannot do this – typically because they cannot agree – a judge will be tasked with making the determination.
How Does a Court Determine the Best Interests of the Child?
Determining the best interests of the child can be a difficult thing to do, and in many cases, what one parent fully believes is within the child’s best interests, the other does not. For this reason, the state of Illinois has compiled a list of criteria that must be weighed to determine a child’s best interest. Found in 750 ILCS 5/602.7, these include:
- The wishes of each parent and the child. The court will consider what each parent wants, as well as what the child wants if the child is found to be of a mature age.
- The current allocation of parental responsibilities. The court will further consider how parental responsibilities are currently split amongst parents, and the amount of time that each parent spends caring for the child.
- The child’s current community, home, and school. In some cases, a child may be forced to move, change schools, and say goodbye to friends as a result of a decision regarding parenting responsibilities. A court will consider any adjustments a child may have to make, and whether or not these changes are supportive for the child. The court will also consider the distance between parents’ new addresses and travel time.
- Any history of abuse, violence, or crime. While most parents are loving and kind and have no criminal record, there are a handful of situations in which abuse or violence is an issue.
- The willingness and ability of each parent to provide for the child. One of the most important factors that a court must weigh is the desire and the ability of each parent to provide for the child’s physical, mental, psychological, and emotional needs.
Contact Our Lincoln Park Law Offices Today
Knowing what a court is looking for during a child custody determination can be confusing and emotional, and if you are seeking full parental responsibilities over your child, you may not know where to start. At Arami Law, we can help you to understand Illinois’ child custody laws and how to present your case to a court.
To schedule a consultation with our caring Lincoln Park child custody lawyers today, please tell us about your case using our online form. You can also call our offices directly.
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