Will the Court consider your child's opinion about custody?
Child Preference in Custody Determinations.
Illinois courts will consider a child’s preference regarding which parent he or she will live with when divorcing parents cannot agree on the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time (i.e., formerly known as child custody). When the parents disagree over the child’s living arrangements, the court will typically consider and analyze the reasons for an older, more mature child’s wishes.
However, rather than looking merely at the child’s age, the court evaluates his or her maturity to determine, on a case by case basis, the amount of weight to attribute that opinion weighed against other factors such as the child’s physical and mental health, school history, relationships with siblings, friends, and parents, financial considerations, and any history of domestic violence by either parent. Furthermore, if the court believes the child is being coached, bribed, or guilted into favoring one parent over the other it will disregard the child’s stated opinion.
Will My Child Have To Testify?
Children usually do not have to testify in court. Instead, the judge may choose to speak with the child in judge’s chambers or appoint a guardian ad litem or other professional to meet with the child and others to determine the child’s best interests and report back to the judge.
If you have questions about allocation of parental responsibilities (i.e., child custody) or any other family law issues call Arlington Heights divorce lawyer David Saxe of SAXE LAW LLC today at (224) 800-1351 or email@example.com to schedule a consultation.