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Determining Custody: Can a Child Choose His or Her Own Custody Arrangement?

Posted on in Child Custody

Illinios divorce attorney, Illinois family law attorney, parental rights,If you are a parent currently going through a divorce, your child likely has opinions about the divorce and how it will affect his or her life once the process is complete. Depending on your child's age and personality, he or she may be quite vocal about these opinions. One of the issues that your child may be most vocal about is his or her custody arrangement after the divorce.

In Illinois, the court may consider a child's desire when determining custody, but the child's desire cannot be the only factor that determines custody. Much larger issues, such as each parent's household stability and current financial health, carry much more weight in the court's decision regarding a child's custody arrangement.

Getting a divorce and having to work out a custody arrangement for your child is stressful. Talk to your child about the custody evaluation process before it begins and answer his or her questions in a positive, age-appropriate way. If you need guidance with starting these conversations or how to handle sensitive subjects with your child, talk with an experienced family attorney or counselor to get a professional opinion about how to approach these subjects with your child.

When is a Child's Opinion Considered When Determining Custody?

Usually, the court will consider a child's opinion about his or her custody arrangement if he or she proves to be able to form a logical, realistic reason for choosing to live with one parent over the other. The older the child, the more likely the court is to take his or her opinion into consideration.

Factors Considered When Determining a Custody Arrangement

In Illinois, the factors that the court may consider when determining a child custody arrangement are included in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. Every family is unique and has circumstances that may make some of these factors more important than others. The court does its best to understand how each of the following factors work into an individual family's dynamic and lifestyle to create a custody arrangement that best meets the child's physical, emotional, psychological, and academic needs:

  • Each parent's history of cooperation with the court and each other;
  • Each parent's financial stability;
  • The members present in each household and their relationships with the child;
  • Each parent's financial obligations, such as spousal maintenance payments;
  • Whether either household is more conductive to the child's success in school;
  • Any personal needs the child may have, such as the need for weekly speech therapy; and
  • Each parent's relationship with the child.

The court may work with a custody evaluator or a guardian ad litem to determine the best solution for each of these issues.

Experienced Custody Attorneys in Kane County

Our experienced Kane County custody attorneys proudly serve Illinois families as they work through the divorce process. If you are currently going through a divorce or you plan to file for divorce in the near future, contact our firm to discuss your situation with one of the experienced family attorneys on our team. We can help you decide how to proceed with your divorce and guide you toward a productive solution for your family.
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