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The Impact of a Child's Age on Illinois Parenting Time and Parental Responsibility Decisions

 Posted on January 08, 2016 in Child Custody

DuPage County family law attorney, Illinois parenting timeJudges are required to make decisions in family law cases in the best interests of the children and take into account several different factors. One of the major factors is the age of a child. Children have different needs as they grow up and judges often take those needs into account when making decisions about parenting time and parental responsibilities.

Young Children

Newborns and toddlers require special care and have unique needs that older children do not. If children are still breastfeeding, it is usually going to be in the child's best interest to spend most of his or her time with the mother who is doing the feeding. These young children are particularly vulnerable and need to be in homes where they will be kept away from dangers and will receive the nurture and high-levels of supervision they require.

As children become old enough to go to preschool and school, they still need a lot of care, nurturing and supervision. However, they are able to do many things independently and will often benefit from more parenting time with both parents.

At What Age Does the Child Have a Say in Parenting Time?

One common question in family law is, "What age can my child choose to live with and have parenting time with?" Illinois does not have any set age where the child gets to make those decisions. So long as the child is under the age of 18, the court will have the final say. However, the older a child gets, the more influence he or she will have. Judges do not typically allow children of any age to testify in family court. Instead children are interviewed by court appointed experts such as parenting time evaluators and guardian ad litems.

Illinois law does allow a child age 14 or older to veto a stepparent adoption. Many judges consider this an age where the child's views will have more influence in parenting time decisions as well.

Changes as Children Get Older

Parenting time is not a static schedule. As children grow and mature, and other circumstance change, it is often important to revisit parenting time. The law allows parents to ask for modifications to parenting time orders when there are significant changes in circumstances. Things such as being weaned and starting school can be significant changes.

If you have family law questions, you need to speak with a skilled DuPage County family law attorney right away. Call The Stogsdill Law Firm, P.C. today at 630-462-9500.



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