There are many parents in Illinois and raising their children is an important job. This is not always an easy job though. It involves making many daily decisions and also major decisions regarding their well-being. These decisions include which school their children will go to, which doctors they will see, what medical procedures they go through, what religion, if any, that they will be raised in and many other major decisions.

When parents are married or together, one parent may lead in these decisions or they may make every decision together. However, the process for how these decisions are made may change if the parents get a divorce. One of the issues that needs to be resolved during a divorce is child custody also called parental responsibilities. This determines which parent will be responsible for making the major decisions for the children after the divorce. The decision is based on what is in the children’s best interests.

Factors used to Determine the Best Interests of the Children

This is not an easy determination though and the court will analyze a number of factors to determine it. These factors include, but are not limited to:

  • The children’s familiarity with their current school and community
  • The children’s wishes if they are at an age their ability to understand and express their needs
  • Each parent’s participation in making the decisions while they were together
  • The overall health of the parents and children
  • The level of conflict between the parties and their willingness to work together
  • The distance between the parents
  • The parents wishes
  • Whether there has been physical abuse or chemical abuse issues
  • Any other relevant factors

There are many parents in Illinois who go through divorces each year. One of the most difficult issues that needs to be resolved during the process is custody and parenting time issues. There is no bright line rule that is used when making this determination though and it is based on analyzing the unique circumstances of each family. Experienced attorneys understand how these factors are analyzed though and may be able to guide one through the process.