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How Do Illinois Judges Determine a Child's Best Interests?

 Posted on August 11, 2022 in Child Custody

Wheaton Parenting Time LawyerWith the help of a mediator or collaborative divorce team, most parents can come to an agreement about a parenting plan during their Illinois divorce. But for some families, the presence of domestic violence, substance abuse, or the death of a parent can make negotiating and planning difficult or impossible. 

When parents cannot make decisions in a child’s best interests, a judge will do so. While a judge has to use discretion and good judgement, a “child’s best interests” is not a completely subjective term. Rather, the Illinois legislature gives up at least 15 factors that a judge could consider when making decisions about a child’s well-being. Read on to learn what these are. 

What Factors Are Considered in a Child’s Well-Being in an Illinois Custody Dispute? 

The factors a judge will consider must depend on the circumstances of each case. The child’s age, the parent’s home environment, and the relationship between a child and a non-parent  pursuing custody can affect which factors will be taken into account. The most common things a judge will consider include, but are not limited to: 

  • The wishes of the child, considering the child’s age, maturity, and ability to express reasonable preferences 

  • The wishes of the parents 

  • How well the child has adjusted and integrated into her community

  • The mental and physical health of the child, the parents, and any other involved party 

  • How well the parents can get along and whether conflict is likely to disrupt their ability to make shared decisions 

  • The child’s needs, including educational, religious, extracurricular, healthcare, physical, and psychological needs 

  • How far away the parents live from each other and how difficult it would be to transport the child between parents’ homes 

  • Whether parents are responsible enough to make decisions on behalf of the child

  • Whether either parent has a criminal history, especially regarding felonies and sex crimes 

  • Whether there is a threat of physical violence 

Courts leave these criteria open so a judge can consider any other relevant factors that are not specifically mentioned in the text of the law.

Contact a Wheaton, IL Child Custody Lawyer

At The Stogsdill Law Firm, P.C., we know that waiting for a judge to make decisions about your child’s future can be a harrowing experience. Our DuPage County, IL child custody attorneys will be by your side every step of the way, whether you are going through a divorce, custody dispute, or guardianship change. Call us today at 630-462-9500 to learn more about our services and find out what we can to do help.  




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