What factors do Illinois courts consider in custody cases?

As this blog has discussed previously, whenever an Illinois court is deciding how to allocate parental responsibilities, the paramount concern will be what is in the child’s best interests.

In order to determine a child’s best interests, a court will look to a number of factors which are prescribed under Illinois law.

How these factors play out in a Lake County resident’s individual child custody case will depend heavily on the particular circumstances, as many of these factors are highly fact-sensitive. As such, detailed questions should be taken up with an experienced Illinois family law attorney.

Nevertheless, it is good for Lake County parents, particularly if they are in the midst of a custody or parenting time dispute, to have some general knowledge about these factors.

To give some examples of what factors a court will consider when allocating parental responsibilities, the court will naturally, and perhaps even before anything else, discern what each parent wants with respect to custody, visitation and the like. Likewise, the court will give some weight to what the child wants.

Beyond that, the court will explore what the child’s needs are and which parent is best able to meet them. Both the parents’ and the children’s overall physical and mental health may play in to the court’s decision. The court may also consider which sort of arrangement will best preserve a child’s relationships with other relatives, including siblings, as well as with the child’s school and social structure.

Likewise, the court will take in to account certain practical matters, like the parents’ work schedules and how far apart they live from each other.