One of the most difficult decisions in a divorce is deciding who is granted custody over the children. If you and your spouse can reach a parenting plan outside of court, then things can remain comparatively less complicated. Oftentimes, however, a judgment must be passed within the courts to resolve the issue. There are many factors that are weighed when reaching the final decision. Having an experienced attorney in your corner is your best advantage when faced with the challenges of custody battles and divorce.
Important Factors Courts Consider When Deciding Custody
The Illinois Court system will typically attempt to settle for a shared custody plan for the spouses. As long as both parents can prove they have a stable home, the parenting plan will attempt to keep both parents in the children’s lives. The primary factors that the courts will look at when determining the custody can include:
- Health - The physical and mental health of the parents as well as the children will be assessed in the decision. If a parent is shown to be mentally unstable or physically unable to care for a child, then primary custody will sway towards the other spouse. Additionally, the health of the children is highly considered. Keeping up with the welfare of the children is pivotal for the judge’s decision.
- Wishes of the Children - Based on the age and mental maturity of the children, the judge will consider the child's wishes. If a child heavily favors one parent, the custody decision could sway toward a said spouse. This will not be taken without a grain of salt, of course. If the child is still very young and could be easily influenced to speak highly of one parent unfairly, the court will do its best to remain impartial.
- Location - If one of the parents has remained in the same home the child has been living in, or another home that will keep them in the same school district, the courts will consider this heavily. Maintaining a sense of regularity and stability for the child can help them through this difficult period of change.
- Cooperation of Parents - The parents’ relationship and ability to cooperate will also play into how custody is handled. Ideally, both parents can do what is determined as best for their child. The reality may not be as simple and the feelings toward the former spouse may interfere with a parent’s parenting ability.
Illinois Courts hope to keep both parents in a child’s life, but if a parent is deemed unfit, unable, or shown to have instances of abuse or neglect, a sole parent could be given custody....