dupage county divorce lawyerIf you are researching your options with regard to a family law dispute such as a child custody case, you may come across the phrase “child’s best interests.” When Illinois courts decide on legal issues involving children, the court always aims to make a decision that is in the child’s best interests. However, it can be difficult to understand exactly what this means. In this blog, we will discuss the types of factors Illinois courts consider when determining what case outcome is in the child’s best interests.

Deciding What Is Best for a Child

Whether it is a child custody dispute, petition for parental relocation, or another family law matter involving children, the court is primarily interested in protecting the children’s rights and doing what is best for them. Children are vulnerable, and they cannot always advocate for themselves. This is why it is so important for the court to make sure that any case outcome is in the child’s best interests.

Specifically, the court wants to understand:

  • The mental and physical health of the child as well as the adults involved in the case 

  • How comfortable the child is in his or her current living situation and how difficult it would be for the child to adjust to a new living situation

  • The child’s preferences regarding the case outcome

  • The child’s needs, including any special needs due to medical problems or other unique concerns

  • Whether there is any history or risk of domestic violence or abuse

  • The parents’ ability to work cooperatively together to do what is best for their child

  • Whether either parent or other adults involved in the case are registered sex offenders

  • The parents’ previous involvement in the child’s life

In order to determine what is best for the child, the court may ask a guardian ad litem to investigate the case and provide a professional recommendation to the court. The guardian ad litem (GAL) may interview the adults and children involved in the case, conduct home studies, evaluate medical records, and assess police records or child protective records to better understand the facts of the case. He or she considers all this information and uses it to form a professional opinion. The court does not have to follow the GAL’s recommendation, however, this recommendation generally carries significant weight in a family law case.

Contact our Hinsdale Family Law and Divorce Lawyers

If you are getting divorced or are in the middle of a child-related legal dispute, contact our skilled Hinsdale divorce attorneys for legal help. We can represent you during custody hearings and other legal disputes, ensuring your rights and your child’s rights are fully protected. Call our office at 630-920-8855 for a free consultation.