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St. Charles child custody lawyerWhether you are divorced or you never married your child’s other parent, child custody issues can be contentious. Understandably, parents have strong opinions about what is best for their kids. When divorced or unmarried parents disagree about the allocation of parental responsibilities or parenting time, the court may intervene. If you are in the midst of a child custody dispute, it is important to understand the factors used by Illinois courts when ruling on these types of cases.

The Child’s Best Interests

The primary concern in a child custody dispute is reaching a resolution that promotes the child’s mental, physical, and emotional well-being. In other words, the court’s priority during a child custody case is the child’s best interests. Of course, what is in a child’s best interests is not always easy to ascertain. Illinois has adopted over a dozen individual factors that courts should consider when determining a child custody arrangement that is in the child’s best interest. These so-called “best interest factors” include:

  • Each parent’s custody preferences

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geneva family law attorneyFor the past 18 months or so, the United States has been battling the COVID-19 pandemic. As more and more people get the COVID-19 vaccine, states have begun to lift restrictions and mask mandates, including Illinois, which lifted mask mandates at the end of May. Dealing with the pandemic has raised many legal issues,  such as the rights of individuals when it comes to mask-wearing and vaccinations. As the FDA has granted one vaccine manufacturer emergency use authorization for children 12 and older, and a second is getting ready to request full licensure for children to receive their vaccine, another major legal issue may be looming: What happens when co-parents disagree on whether their child should receive the vaccine?

Allocation of Parental Responsibilities

Several years ago, Illinois lawmakers did a complete overhaul of the state’s family law statutes. Included in those changes was the elimination of terms like child custody and visitation. Instead, family court judges issue orders regarding the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time.

The allocation of parental responsibilities addresses important decision-making on issues that affect the child. These include education, religious upbringing, healthcare, and extracurricular activities. The courts have three options when it comes to the allocation of parental responsibilities and will always choose the one that is in the child’s best interest:

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