Understanding the Best Interest of the Child Standard
Most states, including Illinois, consider the best interest of the child as the primary factor in deciding matters related to the child or children in divorce proceedings, child custody cases, child support, and even paternity. But, what is actually considered to be the best interest of the child can vary from state to state. If you are involved in a divorce, custody fight, or other legal matter involving your child or children, our firm's experienced family law attorneys can help you. We can assist you in determining what the best interests of your child may be, what factors the court will consider in making decisions related to your child, and how best to demonstrate to the court what you believe is in your child's best interest.
What Factors Will the Court Consider when Deciding Best Interest of a Child in Illinois?
Unlike some states, Illinois law is fairly specific when it comes to stating the factors considered in deciding a child's best interest. The law sets forth more than a dozen factors to examine, including:
- The wishes of the child, if appropriate given age and maturity;
- The wishes of each parent;
- The amount of caretaking functions each parent has provided the child within the past two years or since the child's birth;
- The child's relationship with family members, including parents, siblings, step-parents, grandparents, and any other person substantially involved in the child's life;
- The child's adjustment and attachment to his or her home, community, and school, including the child's extracurricular activities, hobbies, sports, and religious involvement;
- The health of everyone involved, both physical and mental;
- The needs of the child and the ability and willingness of each parent to meet those needs, and to place those needs as priority over their own wants and needs;
- The logistics and costs involved in transporting the child between residences;
- Whether abuse of any kind, or physical violence occurred between a parent and anyone else in the child's household;
- Whether the parents are willing and able to facilitate and encourage a "close and continuing" relationship with the child's other parent, and not to disparage each other;
- Whether either parent, or anyone in their household, is a convicted sex offender;
- If a parent is in the military and deployed, what the terms of their military family-care plan entail; and
- Any other factors deemed relevant by the court.
Consult an Experienced Family Law Attorney in DuPage County to Discuss your Child's Best Interest
Even with all the specificity in the guidelines provided in the Illinois statute, it is so important to work with an experienced DuPage County family law attorney with our law firm who can fight to protect your rights as a parent and your child's or children's best interests. Reach out to us today for help.