When couples decide to separate or end their marriage, child custody often becomes the main focus. Parents only want what is best for their kids, but what parents think is best and what the courts decide are not always the same. When it comes to child custody issues, courts in Illinois typically base every decision on the best interests of the child standard. Here are the factors courts may use to determine the best interests of the child.
The best interests of the child standard
In most child custody cases, the judge will want to hear the parents’ preferences. Courts sometimes look to maintain consistency and stability. So, if one parent has been the primary caregiver for the children, that parent may be granted custody. If parental preferences align with the best interests of the children, the courts may also take them into consideration.
Keep in mind, that courts will always defer to the best interests standard when deciding child custody, regardless of what parents want. Some of the main factors used in determining the best interests of the children include the parent’s ability to provide a stable home, the mental and physical needs of the children, emotional ties the children have with parents or other household members and, if they are old enough, the children’s preferences.
Fortunately, courtrooms today do not use the parent’s gender as a deciding factor in child custody matters. The main goal of the court is to find what arrangement would best ensure the children’s stability and well-being. Parents in Illinois who have questions or are seeking child custody could get help and much-needed legal protection by discussing their situation with an attorney experienced in family law issues.