Skip to content

Family court preferences in child custody cases

On behalf of Janet Boyle of Boyle Feinberg Sharma posted in Child Custody on Tuesday, July 26, 2016.

When Illinois parents are unable to reach agreements regarding child custody disputes, they may decide to litigate their issues in family court. In making a decision about who to award primary physical custody, a family law judge will consider which parent has been the child’s primary caretaker as well as what would be in the child’s best interests.

Courts tend to prefer the primary caretakers when awarding physical custody of children. The court will consider evidence about who has held the primary responsibility of taking care of the child’s daily needs. This may include evidence about attending parent-teacher conferences, attending extracurricular activities, purchasing clothing, bathing and dressing the child and meal preparation. If the court determines that both parents have shared this role, the court may then consider additional factors that are outlined in the state’s laws.

To help the court determine what is in the child’s best interests, multiple factors are listed. These include the physical and mental health of both parents, the child’s relationship with other household members, the child’s attachment to his or her school, whether or not there is a history of domestic violence and whether or not either parent has a history of drug or alcohol abuse.

A parent who is going through a child custody dispute may want to seek the advice of a family law attorney. An attorney may have a better understanding of the type of evidence to present regarding the best interests of the child. In some cases, an attorney may be able to negotiate a full agreement without needing to have a trial. Doing so may make the parents and child happier in the long run.