Your Child's Wishes and Your Parenting Plan

 Posted on April 03, 2024 in Child Custody

IL family lawyerAs a parent, you may be wondering how your child’s wishes may factor into your parenting plan. One of the factors Illinois courts will consider when determining what custody arrangement is in the best interest of your child is his or her own wishes. The older and more mature your child is, the more his or her input is likely to matter. An older child’s reasonable wishes may carry substantial weight. However, judges are also aware that children who are younger or less mature are likely to have opinions that go against their own best interests. A Wheaton, IL child custody attorney can help you determine how your child’s expressed wishes may influence the outcome of your child custody case.

How Important Are My Child’s Wishes? 

If your child is young, immature, or has wishes that clearly are not in his or her best interests, your child’s opinions are not likely to carry much weight. However, if your child is older, more mature, and capable of making reasonable decisions about his or her own life, the court may give your child’s wishes greater weight. Some things the court may consider when deciding how heavily to weigh your child’s interests include:

  • Age of the child - Teenagers’ opinions are more likely to be considered heavily than young children’s opinions. Young children are easily influenced by their parents, while teenagers are more likely to think independently. 
  • Maturity of the child - A younger child whose wishes are well-reasoned and who has demonstrated maturity beyond his or her years is more likely to have his or her wishes respected. A child who appears immature or who has a history of poor decision-making may not have as much input. 
  • Reasonability of the child’s wishes - Your child’s reasoning matters, as does whether other child custody factors apply. If, for example, your child wants to live with one parent because that parent lives near a specialized school that provides him or her with excellent opportunities, the court is likely to agree with the child. However, if your child wants to stay with one parent because that parent allows him or her an unhealthy level of freedom, the court may disagree with the child. 
  • Relationship between the child and each parent - Children may want to stay with the parent they have a better relationship with. It is common for a child to want to remain with his or her primary caregiver. If your child is fearful of one parent, this will also be important. 

While your child cannot dictate the terms of your parenting plan, he or she is likely to have some input.

Contact a DuPage County, IL Parenting Plan Lawyer 

Andrew Cores Family Law Group is committed to helping parents create the parenting plan that is best for their children. Our dedicated Wheaton, IL parenting plan attorneys will work as a team to balance the reasonable wishes of your child with your interests as a parent. Contact us at 630-871-1002 for a free consultation.

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