Determining Child Custody in Illinois
Divorce is both complex and challenging when only two people are involved. Bring children into the equation, and the entire ordeal becomes significantly more complicated. While you and your spouse may agree divorce is the best path forward, likely, you won’t agree on the best path forward for your children. Unless both parties can agree on custody ahead of time, this will become a focal point for your pending divorce proceedings.
Child Custody In The State of Illinois
To determine if an Illinois court can hear your child custody case, one of the following criteria must be met:
- The child in question has lived in Illinois for more than 6 months
- The child lives in another state but has lived in Illinois in the last 6 months and one parent still lives in Illinois
- No other state is claiming jurisdiction and substantial evidence exists demonstrating a relationship between the child and the state of Illinois.
The Difference Between Legal and Physical Custody
A key element of child custody that is often overlooked is the difference between legal and physical custody
- This gives a parent the right to make important decisions about raising the child. This includes where they will go to school and the religion they will be taught. It also gives the parent the right to make all major medical choices on the child’s behalf.
- This type of custody refers to where the child will physically live. Typically, physical and legal custody go hand in hand. A court will decide if both or just one parent will receive these studies based on the best interest of the child.
Determining The Child’s “Best Interest”
A judge’s role in these proceedings is to determine the best interest of the child in question. It is not about which parent is “better” but rather determining which decision will give the child the best chance at a normal, happy, and productive life.
The following are some, but not all, of the relevant factors a judge will use to decide this:
- Parents’ wishes
- Child’s wishes
- Relationship between the child and each parent
- The physical and mental health of all three individuals
- Child’s adjustment to their home, school, and community
- History of parents violence or abuse
- Parents’ ability to foster a continuing relationship
- Whether either parent is a sex offender
Work With A Divorce Expert
Even if both sides have a child’s best interest at heart, child custody proceedings can still be complicated. We highly recommend consulting with one of our experienced divorce attorneys, even if you and your spouse have a verbal custody agreement in place. They can walk you through your options and discuss how to legally bind your spouse to your current verbal agreement.
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Please call us at 847-234-4445 to set up your free consultation with one of our attorneys. They will examine your situation and provide options regarding the best plan for you and your family.
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