Tag Archives: Illinois custody laws

IL custody lawyerThere may come a time when a child of divorce or separated parents has a desire to live with his or her other parent—the non-custodial parent. This can come as a shock to both the mother and father and is usually accompanied by hurt feelings and loss for the parent whom the child has been living with since the original custody decision. However, it is important to listen to the desire of your child, whether you are the custodial or non-custodial parent, particularly if your child is at least 14 years of age. The teenage years are a good time to make compromises with your children about living situations because in the long run, this will prevent fallouts from happening when they inevitably leave your and the other parent’s house for good.

Children as Young as 14 Have a Say in Which Parent They Live With

Under 750 ILCS 5/600, a court takes into account the wishes of the child, depending on the “child's maturity and ability to express reasoned and independent preferences as to decision-making.” This comes at the age of 14 in Illinois. However, simply because a child is 14 or older does not mean that the court will automatically change a custody decision that has been in place for years to meet the child’s wishes.

Best Interest of the Child

If a decision cannot be made outside of the courtroom, a judge will consider all factors pertaining to the child’s best interests. Questions such as the following must be asked:

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Illinois family lawyer, Illinois child custody attorneyChild custody laws in other states may still delegate legal, physical, sole, and joint custody to parents, the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act went through a major alteration in 2016. State lawmakers transitioned into determining “parenting responsibilities” and “parenting time,” and are no longer are the terms “custody” and “visitation” used to describe the child care arrangements (now known as a “parenting plan.”) The changes leave many parents confused as to their rights and responsibilities.

Parenting Time

Previously, parenting time referred to “physical custody” or “visitation time.” That terminology is no longer accepted. Previously, one parent had “residential custody” or “primary physical possession” of the child, while the non-custodial parent received a visitation schedule. Now, neither parent has primary physical custody. Parenting time refers to the time in which each parent has the responsibility for exercising caretaking functions and minor decision-making responsibilities. The allocation of time is based on the best interest of the child. Factors used to determine the best interest include:

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