How Is Child Custody Determined in Illinois?

Child Custody

When parents separate, one of their most important considerations involves the custody of their children. If you have kids and are considering a divorce in Illinois, here’s what you should know about how the state handles child custody determinations.

Types of Parental Responsibilities in Illinois

In Illinois, child custody is referred to as parental responsibilities. There are two types of parental responsibilities: decision-making power and parenting time.

Decision-Making Power

Decision-making power is what other states call “legal custody.” The parent or parents with decision-making power have the legal right to make decisions on how to raise their child. This may include decisions about where the child goes to school, their healthcare, religious upbringing, and involvement in extracurricular activities. Illinois courts generally prefer parents to share this responsibility. However, a judge might grant sole decision-making authority to one parent if it’s in the child’s best interest.

Parenting Time

Parenting time refers to the time that a parent spends with a child. Other states may refer to parenting time as “physical custody.” Typically, a child will primarily live with one parent and have regular contact or visitation with the other parent. Regardless of their decision-making power, all parents in Illinois are entitled to reasonable parenting time with their children. Exceptions only apply if the parenting time seriously endangers the child’s well-being. While both parents may be granted parenting time, the time they spend with the child is not always equal.

How Judges Determine Parental Responsibilities in Illinois

When judges in Illinois make decisions about parental responsibilities, they consider several factors to ensure their determinations are in the child’s best interests. These include factors such as:

● The child’s basic needs

● The child’s wishes, if they are of suitable age and capacity to reason

● The child’s adjustment to their home, school, and community

● The ability of the parents to cooperate and make decisions together

● The level of conflict between the parents

● The ability of each parent to foster a close and continuing relationship with the child

● Any history of violence or threat of violence by the child’s parent

● The occurrence of ongoing abuse, whether directed at the child or another person

● The willingness and ability of each parent to place the needs of the child ahead of their own

● The distance between the parents’ homes

● The willingness and ability of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing relationship between the other parent and the child

● The willingness and ability of each parent to maintain a stable environment for the child

● Any other factor that the court considers relevant

Contact a Family Law Lawyer in Illinois

If you’re filing for divorce in Illinois and you have children, the right lawyer can make a difference. Take the first step toward securing your family’s future. Contact Tess, Crull & Arnquist today for a consultation with one of our experienced family law attorneys in Illinois.