IL family lawywidth=Whether it is a divorce, child custody dispute, paternity case, or another family law issue, children certainly complicate legal matters. Parents, grandparents, and other guardians want what is best for the children. When parties disagree about what is best for kids, the issue can escalate into a full-blown legal battle.

Best Interests Factors in Illinois Law

When a legal dispute involves children, the court seeks to determine the case outcome that serves the child’s best interests. Of course, understanding what is in the child’s best interests is not always easy. When evaluating child-related cases, the court will consider the “best interests factors” listed in Illinois law. These factors include but are not limited to:

  • The child’s preferences, taking into account the child’s age and ability to articulate these preferences
  • Each party’s preferences regarding the outcome of the case
  • The child’s needs
  • How adjusted the child is to his or her current home, school, and community
  • The mental and physical health of the parties involved in the case
  • The ability of the parents or other parties to cooperate and work together for the child’s benefit
  • The parties’ past involvement in the child’s life
  • Prior agreements between the parties
  • The distance between the parties’ residences and any challenges transporting the child between the parties’ homes
  • Whether any restrictions on decision-making or parenting time are necessary due to abuse, neglect, drug or alcohol addiction, or other issues
  • The parties’ ability and willingness to encourage a good relationship between the child and the other party
  • Any domestic violence or abuse directed toward the child or other family members

To fully evaluate each of these factors, the court will consider evidence and testimony from a wide variety of sources. Testimony from parents, teachers, child specialists, or child psychologists may shed light on the child’s best interests. Evidence in the form of police reports, financial documents, and medical records may be considered. Often, the court will appoint a Guardian Ad Litem to gather information and provide the court with an informed, professional opinion on the case.

Contact a Crystal Lake Family Law Attorney

Illinois law seeks to minimize the harm suffered by children during divorce cases and child custody disputes by finding a solution that is in the child’s best interests. If you are going through a child-related legal dispute or divorce, contact the McHenry County divorce attorneys at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC for help. Call our skilled team at 815-338-3838 for a free consultation.



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