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How Do Illinois Family Courts Determine a Child’s Best Interests?

Posted on in Family Law

McHenry County family law attorneyWhen a family court judge must decide how parental responsibilities (formerly known as child custody) must be allocated, that decision is always based on what arrangement will be in the child’s best interests. Many parents going through this process are unsure of what the court will be looking for in order to determine their children’s best interests. The following is a brief overview. For a more detailed explanation and how the best interest standard may apply in your situation, contact Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC.

Factors that Contribute to a Child’s Best Interests

The child’s best interests are an important factor when the court decides how parenting time and parenting responsibilities will be shared between the two parents. In many cases, it is in the child’s best interests if the two parents share custody equally, although that is not always possible given the location of each parent or their relationship with each other. There may also be issues where one parent should not have significant parenting time. Here is a closer look at what factors the courts will consider:

  • Child’s needs and adjustment to their current routine - The court will seek to ensure that the parenting arrangement provides for a child’s care needs and minimizes changes to their school and extracurricular activity routines.

  • Child’s relationship with parents - The mother may have spent more time with the child than the father if the father worked long hours and was away for business trips every other week. A parent with a stronger relationship or history of dedicating more time to the child may be granted a larger share of parenting responsibilities.

  • Child’s wishes – If a child is old enough, the court will often take their wishes into account, depending on the other factors that may apply.

  • Mental and physical health of the parents - In some cases, mental or physical illness can interfere with a parent’s ability to provide for the child’s needs, which may influence the distribution of parenting time and responsibilities.

  • History of poor parenting, substance abuse, or criminal activity - A criminal record, history of alcohol abuse, child abuse, domestic violence, or drug addiction can hurt a parent’s chances for receiving equal parenting time or visitation rights at all.

Contact a McHenry County Family Lawyer Today

If you are going through a divorce or custody dispute with your child’s other parent, the courts will need to decide how parenting time and responsibilities should be divided between the two of you. Having a dedicated Crystal Lake family law attorney advocating for you will help to ensure that your parental rights are protected. Contact Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC at 815-338-3838 to schedule a free and confidential consultation and find out how our firm can help.




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