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How Can the Court Determine My Child’s Best Interests in My Divorce?

Posted on in Divorce

Kendall County divorce attorney

Making the decision to file for divorce as a parent can be a difficult call to make. You may be worried about the number of ways that this decision will impact your child. Will your child resent you for this choice? Will this damage your child’s relationship with you or his or her other parent? When will I see my child and how will this be determined? These and other types of questions are likely running through your head and may even be holding you back from choosing your own happiness. It is important to remember that all legal decisions regarding your child are made in the child’s best interest, but how is this “best interest” truly determined?

In the Best Interest of the Child

If you and your spouse decide to create your divorce agreement through divorce mediation or collaborative proceedings, you will both get to determine how things will be handled moving forward. This includes designating the primary custodial parent, outlining your parenting plan, and laying out your parenting schedule. After the court reviews and approves your decisions, you will begin to follow the plan that you selected for your child. 

What happens, however, if you are leaving these decisions up to the court? For those with a contentious relationship who are involved in divorce litigation, your future parenting responsibilities and schedule is up to the court’s discretion. The state of Illinois prioritizes the child’s best interests when making such impactful decisions. In order to determine what is in the child’s best interest, the following criteria are considered:

  • The child’s opinion on the matter, while taking his or her maturity level into account

  • The child’s ability to adjust to his or her home, school, and community

  • The physical and mental health of both parents and the child

  • The relationship of the parents, specifically their ability to make decisions together and resolve any conflicts that may surface

  • Each parent’s role as a decision-maker in the past

  • Any prior agreements or arrangements regarding the decision-making responsibilities of each parent

  • The parents’ wishes

  • The child’s needs

  • The distance between the two parents’ homes, their financial and physical ability to transport the child between homes, each parent’s schedule, the child’s schedule, and the ability of the parents to cooperate with each other

  • The desire and ability of each parent to facilitate and support a relationship between the child and his or her co-parent

  • A past of physical violence or abuse of any kind between the child and the parent

  • Any other factor that the court deems relevant

Contact a Kane County Divorce Attorney

As a parent, you likely do not believe that the court has an understanding of what is best for your child regardless of the number of factors considered while making its decisions. It is important that you advocate for your child throughout the divorce proceedings, and without the proper attorney to help you do so, you may find yourself legally obligated to follow a plan that you do not see as fit for your child. Emily Rapp at McSwain Nagle Giese & Rapp, P.C. will help our clients fight for their child’s well-being. Whether you and your spouse cannot come to a resolution or the decision is completely out of your hands, our skilled legal team is well-prepared to advocate on your behalf. To discuss your family’s needs, call our diligent Naperville divorce lawyers today at 630-402-0185 to schedule a free consultation.



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