Even people in the Rockford area who have never been involved in a custody dispute themselves may have heard that courts will allocate parental responsibilities, that is, decide custody and visitation, based on what the courts believes are the best interests of the children involved.
Still relatively few people would be able to give a precise definition for best interests of the child, nor do they understand exactly what sort of fact and circumstances factor in to a judge’s decision about the best interests of children when it comes to making child custody decisions.
As the name implies, a judge deciding the best interests of a child is basically trying to figure out how to make the child most likely to thrive physically and emotionally. Parents should be warned that while their wishes certainly count for a great deal in this process, it will be the child’s needs, and not either parent’s desire, that will be the court’s priority.
When determining a child’s best interests, a court has a lengthy list of factors it can consider aside from the wishes of each parent and the wishes of the child.
For instance, a court may consider on a practical level what parenting time arrangement is best in terms of each parent’s work schedule, transportation and the child own schedule of activities. On a broader level, the court may also take account of the child’s physical and mental health, the health of each parent and the quality of relationship between each parent and the child.
When an Illinois parent has to persuade a judge that his or her plan is in his or her child’s best interests, it is often helpful to have the assistance of a skilled family law attorney.