How Courts Determine Parental Responsibility (Custody) in Illinois

When determining parental responsibilities, the court considers a long list of factors one-by-one before making a judgment. We summarize the main factors the judge will think about below but remember that coming to an arrangement that is in the best interest of the child is always the main goal.

For example, right at the top of the list is the wishes of the child. Even if the child wishes to be with a particular parent exclusively if the court sees that as being against their best interest for financial reasons or personal reasons, they will rule against that wish.

  1. The wishes and preferences of the child themselves.
  2. The current adjustment of the child to their new circumstances – in other words, the benefits or drawbacks of moving the child away from their current school, friends and lifestyle.
  3. The mental health and physical health of the child and parents.
  4. The ability for both parents to cooperate and make decisions for their child together.
  5. How much each parent contributed to making decisions for the child in the past.
  6. Any previous or existing arrangements regarding parental responsibilities or prior conduct as it relates the child.
  7. The wishes of both parents
  8. The needs of the child.
  9. The distance between the parent’s homes and its effect on their ability to cooperate in raising the child.
  10. Any restrictions on either parent deemed necessary by the court under Illinois statue 750 ILCS 5/603.10
  11. The willingness and ability of each parent to encourage the relationship to the child with the other parent.
  12. Physical violence or the threat of physical violence directed at the child
  13. Abuse of the child or another member of the child’s household
  14. Whether one of the parents is a sex offender and if so the nature of the sexual offense as determined by the court
  15. Any other factor determined to be relevant by the court

Remember it’s always the judge’s preference that you and your spouse agree on a reasonable parenting plan instead of having the court dole out parental responsibilities.

Plan ahead and be organized for court. Click this link and download a parenting plan template.


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