Child Custody in Illinois
Determining who gets custody of the child and how visitation will work out after divorce is one of the most difficult processes that any divorcing couple with kids must undergo. Tensions are already running high in a divorce, and when kids are involved this becomes all the more trying. The specifics of custody laws and visitation rights vary by state. In any situation, the most important first step if you’re considering divorce—especially if you have kids—is to contact a divorce attorney. An attorney will be able to walk you through the steps you’re going to have to take, and can help you resolve the divorce in a way that could actually be beneficial to you or your family. In Illinois, a judge makes a decision about child custody based on what “he or she think is in the child’s best interest,” according to WomensLaw.org.
How does a judge determine what’s in the child’s best interest? There is, of course, room for error here, because the judge will make the decision based solely on what he or she is able to see. This is another reason that you’ll want an experienced family law attorney on your side when you’re in court awaiting a custody decision. According to WomensLaw.org, to determine what’s in the best interest of the child includes, but is not limited to:
- the parent’s wishes
- the child’s wishes
- the relationship the child has with siblings who live in or near the house
- the mental and physical health of both parents and the child
- any physical violence or threat of physical violence
- willingness of each parent to encourage a relationship between the other parent and the child
- whether either parent is an active member of the U.S. military
According to a Southern Illinois University School of Law publication, Illinois law states that the “court shall not modify a prior custody judgment unless it finds clear and convincing evidence, upon basis of facts that have arisen since the prior judgment or that were unknown to the court at the time of entry of the prior judgment.” This means that it’s especially important to make sure that the custody agreement that is come to first is the right one.
To ensure a proper custody ruling, the most important thing you can do it hire a qualified Illinois divorce attorney. Contact our offices today.