What Does “The Child’s Best Interests” Really Mean?

 Posted on December 19, 2022 in Family Law

DuPage County Family Law AttorneyThe phrase “the child’s best interests” is repeated multiple times throughout Illinois family law. When an Illinois court makes a decision about a child-related legal matter such as a divorce or child custody dispute, the court prioritizes the child’s best interests above all else. But what does this phrase mean? What does the court consider when assessing what is in the child’s best interests?

Best Interest Factors in Illinois Law

When the court is evaluating a family law case involving a child, there are specific factors the court will consider. These factors include:

  • The Child’s Preferences – If the child is old enough to understand the situation and express his or her wishes, the court will consider the child’s wishes.

  • The Child’s Adjustment to His or Her Current Living Situation – Is the child heavily involved in his or her school or community? Did the child grow up in his or her current residence? Would requiring the child to relocate cause him or her distress?

  • The Parties’ Health – Does either parent or the child have any physical or mental health concerns that may influence the court’s decision?

  • The Parties’ Willingness to Facilitate a Good Parent-Child Relationship – The court will assess each parent’s ability to promote a good relationship between the child and the other parent. Courts frown upon parents who criticize each other in front of the child.  

  • The Child’s Needs – Does the child have any special needs such as educational needs or medical needs?

  • The Distance Between the Parties’ Homes – How far apart do the parents live? How will the child be transported from one parent’s house to the other? Will the parents be able to work out a transportation schedule and stick to it?

  • Any Instances of Abuse or Threats of Physical Violence – If either party has been accused or convicted of domestic violence, abuse, harassment, or threatening behavior, this can influence the court’s decision about what is best for the child.

  • Whether a Party is a Sex Offender – Courts consider the sex offender status of the parties, taking into account the type of offense and whether the offender has completed any treatment.

Contact a Naperville Family Law Attorney

When an Illinois court makes a determination about parenting time, parental responsibilities, child relocations, or other child-related matters, the court makes a decision that is in the child’s best interests.

At J. Aldrich Law, P.C., we provide skilled legal support and advocacy to parents going through divorce, child custody matters, and other family law disputes. Call our DuPage County family lawyers at 630-953-3000 for a free consultation.




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