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Can Children Decide Which Parent to Stay With?

If you’re going through a divorce, you may have concerns about the well-being of your children. Many parents have questions regarding who their children will live with and how this will impact their lives. In addition, people often misunderstand how living arrangements are decided in Illinois divorces. At Demetrios N. Dalmares & Associates, Ltd., we help you understand your child’s living arrangements after divorce and fight for what is best for your family. 

How Does the Court Decide Who A Child Lives With?

Children cannot decide which parent they live with after Illinois divorces, though a court may consider the child’s opinion. While the court has the final say in where a child lives, they will always consider what is in the child’s best interest. Illinois determines the child’s best interest by examining the quality of life the child will have when residing with a certain parent. 

What Factors Go Into Deciding Who a Child Lives With?

There are several factors that the court will take into consideration when determining where a child should live post-divorce. 

Some of these factors may include: 

  1. Who Can Care for the Child Responsibly

Before the court can determine who a child should live with, they must ensure that this person can be responsible for the child’s care. This includes providing a safe living environment for the child and having a stable income to support their well-being. The parent must exhibit behaviors that promote their ability to support the child safely. For example, if a parent is struggling with substance abuse or has had domestic violence incidents, they will likely be found unfit to have their child reside with them. The child’s safety and well-being are highly important factors when it comes to determining who they should live with. 

  1. Preferences of the Child 

Though children are not permitted to decide who they live with, Illinois will consider child preferences if they are mature enough to express their wishes. Typically, this consideration occurs when a child is 14 or older, though this is not always the case. This does not mean that the child’s wishes will be granted, as the court acknowledges that minors must have legal decisions made for them. 

  1. The Health of the Parent

Aside from harmful behaviors affecting a parent’s health, such as substance abuse, the court will also determine if a parent is physically capable of caring for their child. For example, if a parent has a medical condition that affects their ability to care for the child properly, they may not be permitted to have their child permanently live with them. This doesn’t mean the parent will have no custody right, but it may be found in the child’s best interests to have them reside with the other parent. The court will make these determinations during divorce proceedings.

Contact Our Dedicated Team Today

The child custody process can be emotional and overwhelming. It is essential to have a strong legal advocate on your side. Contact our team today if you have questions regarding child living arrangements for Illinois divorces. We can help you fight the living arrangement that most benefits your child.

 

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