Although there are many topics to tackle when filing for divorce in Illinois, child custody may be one of the most difficult. It is often emotional for children to move from a traditional family situation to a single-parent household.
In some cases, parents may customize a parenting plan and custody arrangement, and submit it for the court’s approval. In a traditional courtroom divorce, however, the judge presiding over the case must determine whether a sole custody situation or shared custody arrangement is best for the children.
Factors to consider
In Illinois, the court considers all facets of the child’s well being before making a custody decision. According to Illinois state statutes, factors that impact child custody include the following:
- Which parent acted as primary caretaker during the marriage
- How well the child interacts with each parent, as well as any siblings that belong to the family
- The physical and mental health of each parent, step-parents and siblings
- Whether domestic violence or abuse is present in either home
- How far apart parents live from one another, as well as transportation issues
- The educational, recreational and medical facilities available to the child at either home
The judge may also listen to childrens’ wishes and thoughts as to which household would allow them to thrive.
In the child’s best interest
Even while parents may feel as though they could provide the situation for their children, it is essential to keep the child’s best interests in mind. Studies show that children benefit from spending a significant amount of time with both parents. Whether the child resides primarily with one parent or spends an equal amount of time with both parents, interacting with both parents is critical to a child’s physical, emotional, academic and behavioral health.