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There 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.
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.
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:
If moving the child from their mother’s house to their father’s, for example, is in line with the child’s best interest and that is the wish of the child, the court may make that decision. Furthermore, it is less likely that a judge will side with the child’s interests the younger they are. For example, the court is more likely to agree to change the custody decision or parenting plan if the child who wishes to live with the non-custodial parent is 17 instead versus 14.
Here at the Law Offices of Martoccio & Martoccio, we assist custodial and non-custodial parents with creating new parenting plans, making compromises with the other parent, and fighting for our clients’ best interests in court when necessary. To schedule a free consultation with one of our skilled Hinsdale child custody attorneys, call 630-920-8855 today.