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Determining Child Custody and Visitation in Illinois

Posted on in Child Custody

DuPage County family law attorney, child custody and visitationDeciding to get divorced is a tough decision for any spouse. After all, it will directly affect the happiness and stability in your life. Once you clear the hurdle and decide to get divorced, tougher questions will arise, especially if you have children; your decisions will directly affect their lives. When you and your former spouse cannot reach an agreement when it comes to raising your child or children, your only option is turning your decision over to a judge, and let him or her decide who gets legal and physical custody.

Illinois law provides guidelines, informing the court of factors to consider when determining the best interest of the child and how to award legal and physical custody. When a parent is given legal custody, he or she has the right to make decisions regarding the general welfare of the child. On the other hand, when a parent is granted physical custody, he or she has a right to have the child live with him or her.

If you decided to get divorced, and you face tougher questions regarding the custody and visitation of your child, you should contact an experienced attorney who will evaluate your case and inform you of the best course of action to achieve your goals.

Understanding the Best Interest of the Child Standard

The best interests of the child are the focal point when discussing child custody and visitation issues, regardless if the court is involved. The cheapest solution is to resolve child custody and visitation without court intervention; however, that is not always the case if the parents cannot reach an agreement.

In the eyes of the law, the best interest of the child has a unique meaning. The ultimate goal is to foster an environment where a child’s happiness, security, and emotional and mental health develop positively. In most, if not all cases, a close and loving relationship between the child and both parents are in the best interests of the child.

When negotiation has failed between both parents, and the court gets involved, the court will consider several factors, including:

  • Each parent’s wishes and desires for custody;

  • The wishes and desires of the child;

  • The relationship the child has with both parents;

  • The child’s relationship with other family members, including siblings;

  • The child’s educational situation;

  • The circumstances in the child’s home environment;

  • The physical and mental health of the child, parents and any other individuals involved in the care of the child;

  • Whether any physical violence occurred or if there is a threat of physical violence;

  • Whether either parent has a history of domestic violence; and

  • The willingness of the parents to foster a relationship with the child. 

As you can see, a judge considers many factors and has significant discretion when considering how to resolve child custody and visitation issues. If a child is old enough to speak up, the judge will permit him or her to divulge their preference, and depending on their age, it might carry more weight. Ultimately, it is the goal of the courts to create an environment that serves the best interests of a child and allows him or her to develop into a young adult. 

Contact a Family Law Attorney

If you and your former spouse are having a hard time resolving issues of custody and visitation, you should contact an experienced DuPage County family law attorney who will assist you during this exhausting process and assist you in providing the best environment for your child to develop and grow. 

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