When parents in Illinois choose to end their relationship or marriage, deciding the custody of their children can be a challenging and often painful discussion. Many times, this discussion turns into a disagreement and parents end up in court. Who will gain custody of the kids is the main concern on the minds of parents who go through this experience. However, the judge will have one goal in mind, and that is what fits the best interests of the children. Here are a few things that will factor into the decision.
Despite the parents’ wishes or good intentions, the courts will use the best interests standard in deciding child custody. The courts will still want to know what each parent prefers, however. This does not mean these wishes will be granted, but parents should expect the judge to ask for the preferences of each parent prior to the custody decision. The courts may also examine if either parent has been providing the most of the children’s care. Often, the court will look to maintain consistency.
The judge will take into account the ability of each parent to provide for the children’s medical care, physical needs and emotional well-being. Sometimes, the courts may obtain the opinions of character witnesses for each parent. The court will also look for evidence of neglect, abuse or domestic violence by either parent.
Ultimately, quite a few factors will go into the judge’s decision. The specific criteria will always vary from state to state. Remember, the child custody decision will reflect the best interest of the children. Any parent in Illinois who has questions about child custody laws or seeks legal protection before heading into the custody process may want to discuss the matter with an attorney experienced in family law issues.