When parents of minor children seek a divorce, one of the most emotionally-charged aspects of the divorce action is likely to be the allocation of parenting time and parental responsibilities. It is the goal of most parents to maximize the amount of time they will be able to spend with the children antecedent to the finalization of the divorce. The Illinois Marriage and Dissolution Act sets out statutory factors that courts are instructed to use in determining what type of custody arrangement may be in the best interests of the children.
Illinois courts are required to decide issues concerning parenting time and parental responsibilities based on what is best for the child involved. When parents cannot reach an agreement related to a parenting plan, the courts will generally need to conduct an analysis based on each statutory factor in order to reach a well-informed decision. If you are facing divorce with minor children, it is best to have strong legal representation.
How DuPage County Courts Determine Parenting Time Allocation
It can be challenging for a judge who is unfamiliar with the parties and the child concerned to make sound determinations regarding which parent the child should primarily be placed with. A Guardian ad Litem may be appointed in order to assist the judge in gathering the relevant information so that an informed decision may be made. Factors that the court may consider include:
- Your child’s wishes – Expresses wishes by older, more mature children may be highly relevant in the court’s decision. A court may believe that it is not in a child’s interests to be placed primarily with a parent they are in conflict with. However, courts may take the words of younger, less mature children less seriously, as young children are easily influenced and may prefer a less responsible parent who gives them greater liberties.
- Parenting habits – The parent who has generally been the one to spend more time providing care to the child may be preferred as the child’s primary custodian. For example, placing a child primarily with the parent who has always stayed home with them may represent a lesser disruption to a child’s routine.
- Parent-child and other relationships – The court may also consider the relationship the child shares with each parent, and with any other person associated with either parent who may have an impact on what arrangement is in the child’s best interests. For example, if a potential stepparent has a criminal record involving offenses against children, the court can consider this.
These are only several of many factors that may influence a court’s decision regarding parenting time allocations.
Contact a DuPage County Child Custody Lawyer
Law Office of Martoccio & Martoccio is skilled in assisting parents who are going through a divorce. Our experienced Hinsdale child custody attorneys will strive to help you guard your children’s best interests. Contact us at 630-920-8855 for a free consultation.