Most Common Questions About Illinois Child Custody Laws

custody, Wheaton family lawyersIf you are an Illinois parent who is considering ending your marriage through divorce, you probably have many questions about what the custody process will look like. Child custody and visitation are called the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time in the law. Illinois courts will always do what they believe to be in the best interest of the child when it comes to decisions about parental responsibility and guardianship. Except in cases involving domestic violence or child abuse, it is assumed that having both parents involved in the child’s life is the ideal custody scenario.

Does the Court Always Decide Custody?

Unmarried parents or divorcing parents who wish to share custody of minor children are required to create a “parenting agreement” or parenting plan. This plan outlines what is expected from each parent in terms of custody, visitation, and involvement in the child’s upbringing. The court only intervenes when parents cannot reach such an agreement about parental responsibilities and parenting time.

Do Children Have a Say in Custody Decisions?

The answer to whether or not children can decide who they live with varies case by case. Courts are more likely to consider the desires of older children who can give a good reason for why they wish to live with a certain parent. Ultimately, the court will make the custody decision based on what is in the child’s best interest.

Does Illinois Law Favor Mothers Over Fathers in Terms of Child Custody?

Illinois law does not favor a child’s mother over the other parent. Instead, the courts wills consider the following factors when determining a custody order:

  • The custody desires of the parents;
  • Each parent’s mental and physical health;
  • Which parent has traditionally been the child’s primary caretaker;
  • The relationships between the parents and the child;
  • Whether the parents can cooperate and collaborate with each other;
  • The living arrangements of the parents;
  • Any allegations of abuse; and
  • Whether or not either of the parents is a registered sex offender.

This list is not exhaustive and Illinois courts may consider other factors not listed here when deciding custody.

Can a Parent with Mental Illness or Substance Abuse Issues Get Custody of their Child?

Having a mental illness such as bipolar disorder or major depression does not automatically disqualify parents from having custody of their children. The same is true for substance abuse or addiction issues. However, Illinois courts will not assign custody to a parent who they believe cannot provide a safe and loving home.

Contact an Experienced DuPage Family Law Attorney

If you have further questions about child custody in Illinois, reach out to the highly skilled Wheaton, Illinois divorce lawyers at Stock, Carlson, Oldfield & McGrath LLC. Call 630-665-2500 today to schedule a consultation with our team of dedicated professionals.

 

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?ActID=2086&SeqStart=8300000&SeqEnd=10000000

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