What factors determine best interests of the child in Illinois?
When a couple in Springfield shares a child and is no longer together, there are many different issues that arise when it comes to the best interests of the child in the context of parenting time, visitation rights and the relationship with children. There can be rampant confusion as to what is referred to with the words “best interests.” Because of that, it is wise to have a grasp on what is taken into consideration when the best interests are decided upon.
The child’s best interests will be determined by considering all key factors. These can include the following: the child’s wishes, contingent on the maturity and ability to make a statement as to these choices; how the child has adjusted to the home, community and school; the health of those involved, including mentally and physically; and if the parents are able to come to agreements to make decisions on behalf of and concerning the child or if there is a significant amount of contentiousness between the parties that can negatively affect their ability to make these decisions.
Also important are: the amount of participation on the part of the parents toward making decisions for the child and about the child; if there was an agreement linked to the decisions made regarding the child; what the parents want; what the child needs; what the distance is between the parents’ homes, how much it costs and how difficult it is to transport the child, the schedules of the parents, and their level of cooperation; if there is a willingness on the part of the parents to foster a strong relationship between the child and the other parent; if there is any physical abuse or threat of physical abuse; if abuse has taken place on the child or someone else in the home in the past; if one of the parents is a sex offender and the nature of the charges; and other issues that are considered important by the court.
The above criteria are substantial and can be difficult to get through, particularly if the parents are not on the strongest of terms. However, the relationship with children is paramount and having an understanding of how the child’s best interests are determined is an important part of any case. Speaking to an experienced child custody lawyer can help with these situations.
Source: ilga.gov, “Part VI — Allocation of Parental Responsibilities — 602.5 (c) Determination of child’s best interests.,” accessed on Jan. 3, 2017