As a parent seeking a divorce in the state of Illinois, you are probably hoping that separating from your partner or ending a relationship won’t negatively impact your children’s lives. It can be comforting to hear that the standard that family courts across the state follow when making decisions about how much parenting time or visitation is appropriate is known as the best interest of a child.
Essentially, a judge will grant parenting time to parents who can provide care and a safe household that supports their children’s physical, mental and emotional health. The judge will review several factors when deciding how much time each parent will spend with their children after divorce or in a parentage case.
Some elements the court might review include:
- Wishes: The judge will look at the custody schedule that parents submit to the court and hope to follow post-divorce. They might also look a child’s preferences, depending on their age.
- Location: When co-parents plan to live many, many miles away from one another, this might impact the allocation of parenting time. Parenting time might be more spaced out or infrequent if one parent doesn’t live close to their children’s school and community.
- Cooperation: Judges also consider each party’s willingness to cooperate with a joint custody agreement and their ability to make their child’s needs a top priority.
- Danger: When a parent has a criminal or violent history and poses a threat to children, the judge will take this information seriously. And if a parent is a convicted sex offender, this might impact parenting time too.
- Health: The judge will also note if a parent’s mental and physical health will affect their ability to care for their children. And on the flip side, the judge will double-check that each parent can provide the best care to any of their children who experience serious health conditions.
The judge will also note any other details about the dynamic between you and your co-parent and each parent’s relationship with their kids that they believe is relevant to your case. Maybe you are hoping you share custody as equally as possible so your children can have a connection to both of their parents. Or perhaps you want to make sure your child isn’t in danger because of the other parent’s criminal past. Regardless of what your situation entails, a family law attorney can help protect you and your children’s rights.
Please contact our office with any questions or concerns you have regarding your children if you are facing a divorce or parentage case.