When Can a Child Choose Custody in Illinois?

illinois child custody lawyer"Can a child wish upon a star and that wish be granted as to his choice of parent?"

Many parents often ask this or similar questions such as, "In an Illinois divorce, can my child really choose which of us will have custody? Can my child choose where he"ll live?"

Your child may be able to wish upon a star and have his dreams come true but not necessarily in a divorce or paternity case as to his choice of parent in Illinois.

People frequently ask how old must a child be in Illinois to choose to live with either parent.

Here's the  best answer: The age is 18 when your child is considered an adult. Until then the Court or Judge in a divorce or paternity case makes that decision if the parents cannot agree.

Historically in Illinois a child 12 or older could give the Court his or her opinion in choice of parent and the Court would give great weight to the child's opinion. The more current view is that children less than 12 years old who are mature for their age may be heard and their opinions taken seriously. However it is the Judge who makes the ultimate decision of the "best interests" of the child and the choice of parent.

Remember for a child who is 12 years old or older there is a saying in divorce law: "You cannot beat the testimony of the child," meaning the child's testimony, if consistent in wanting to live with you, will probably win out. Assuming that you are a parent with no misconduct in your past or present life.

So maybe a child really can wish upon a star after all. Contact a Hinsdale child custody lawyer if you need help in your Illinois divorce matters.

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