Children deal with difficult personal and emotional challenges when parents go through a divorce. When all is said and done, a large portion of their lives are decided in divorce proceedings. As a result, the court prioritizes the best interests of children involved in a divorce when determining child custody and parenting plan arrangements.
At Buffalo Grove Law Offices, an experienced lawyer can help you understand how child custody may be determined in your case and how to fight for the most favorable outcome possible for your family.
Discuss your case with divorce attorney Angela E. Peters by arranging a consultation. Our Arlington Heights family law firm can be reached online or by telephone at 847-222-9429. We handle cases for clients throughout Illinois.
Child Custody Standard Is The Best Interest Of The Child
In determining the child’s best interest, the court considers all relevant factors, including:
- the wishes of the child’s parent or parents as to his or her custody;
- the wishes of the child as to his or her custodian;
- the interaction and interrelationship of the child with his or her parent or parents, his or her siblings and any other person who may significantly affect the child’s best interest;
- the child’s adjustment to his or her home, school and community;
- the mental and physical health of all individuals involved;
- the physical violence or threat of physical violence by the child’s potential custodian, whether directed against the child or directed against another person;
- the occurrence of ongoing or repeated abuse, whether it is directed against the child or directed against another person;
- the willingness and ability of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing relationship between the other parent and the child;
- whether one of the parents is a sex offender;
- the terms of a parent’s military family care plan that a parent must complete before deployment if a parent is a member of the US Armed Forces who is being deployed.
Psychiatrists, psychologists and other mental health professional are regularly called upon to evaluate the parents and children in custody litigation, and to testify at trial as experts. Mental health professionals may testify as to how the best interests of the children will be best protected. Their testimony is not necessarily determinative for the court, but “may be properly considered with respect to whatever illumination it may provide to the court in identifying the best interests of the children”.
The court can seek the advice of professional personnel, whether or not they are employed by the court on a regular basis. The advice that is given shall be in writing and made available by the court to counsel. Counsel may examine, as a witness, any professional personnel consulted by the court, designated as a court’s witness.
The court may seek to learn the preference of the child in a custody proceeding although it does not have to do so. If the court chooses to interview the child, the court has the discretion to decide whether the testimony shall be heard in court or in the judge’s chambers. The judge’s chambers is often used to protect the child from a contentious battle between his or her parents in court.
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