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The “Best Interests” Standard of Child Custody

 Posted on July 01, 2015 in Divorce

In Illinois, any family law matter that relates to a child is measured by a legal standard known as the “best interests standard.” Essentially, this means that the child’s best interests take top priority in the case. Figuring out the best interests, under the legal standard, is not an easy task. In fact, there are many complex factors that are involved in determining what the child’s best interests are. These complexities are particularly highlighted during child custody cases. Determining what custody arrangement is in your child’s best interests will take patience, and a skilled legal advocate who understands this complicated area of law.

How Are Best Interests Determined?

During a custody case, a judge will need to determine what custody arrangement is in the child’s best interests. This determination is not merely left up to the judge’s discretion, however. Illinois law establishes several factors that a judge must consider when determining the child’s best interests. These factors include:

  • The wishes of the parents and the child (when appropriate);
  • How the child has adjusted to their home, school, and community;
  • The physical and mental health of the parents and the child;
  • Each parent’s willingness to facilitate a close parental relationship between the child and the other parent;
  • The child’s relationship with each parent and other close family members, such as siblings; and
  • Whether any violence or threat of violence has occurred within the family.

The judge in your case will apply these factors to your specific circumstances. If you are petitioning the court for a specific custody arrangement, you will need to show the judge that your proposal is in the child’s best interests according to these factors.

Working with Parenting Coordinators

When resolving a custody dispute, parents are sometimes able to resolve these issues through mediation. However, custody cases can be notoriously contentious, and mediation is not always appropriate or beneficial. If mediation will not work in your case, the judge may order you and the child’s other parent to work with a parenting coordinator. This person is a neutral third party who works closely with the parents to create a custody and visitation schedule. The parenting coordinator can help parents work through tough issues without having to go to court. Importantly, a coordinator can make custody recommendations to the judge based on their work with the parents.

Contact Naperville Custody Lawyers

For nearly 40 years, the experienced family law attorneys at Fay, Farrow & Associates, P.C., have served the Wheaton, Naperville, and greater Cook and Kane County areas. With a unique combination of legal experience and professional empathy, we are dedicated to helping our clients through some of the toughest issues they must face. If you are dealing with a child custody dispute, or are concerned that your child’s other parent is failing to meet their custodial obligations, call us at 630-961-0060. When you call orcontact us online, you can schedule your free initial consultation. During that consultation, you will sit down with a skilled lawyer who can explain exactly how our firm can help you. Do not hesitate; reach out for legal help today.

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