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How is Child Custody Determined?
28 Oct, 2021
Child Custody

How is Child Custody Determined?

If you have concerns about child custody, it’s an important matter because it affects your relationship with your children and your ability to provide for your children in the best way possible. Better understanding how courts decide on child custody cases in the state of Illinois can give you a better idea of what to expect in your situation. Consulting with an experienced Illinois child custody attorney is an important first step if you have a parenting time issue.

Child Custody and Parenting Time

Courts always base child custody determinations on the children’s best interests (but unlike some other states, Illinois does not begin with the presumption that splitting child custody equally between both parents is generally in the children’s best interests). If you and your divorcing spouse are unable to find common ground concerning parental responsibilities and parenting time (what the state of Illinois now calls legal custody and visitation), the court will do so for you, considering the following factors:

  • Each parent’s wishes in the matter
  • The children’s wishes in the matter (usually at about age 14, your children’s opinions on the issue will carry more weight)
  • Each child’s relationship with each parent, his or her siblings, and anyone else who lives in either home (or is closely involved)
  • Each child’s level of adjustment to his or her home, school, and community at large
  • The physical and mental health of the children and both parents
  • Whether physical violence has played a role in the family (by either parent) and whether it was directed at the children or someone else 
  • Each parent’s openness to facilitating an ongoing relationship between the children and their other parent 

Child Support

While your child custody case will be unique to you and your specific situation, the basics of child support apply across the board. The purpose of child support is to balance financial support for your children – throughout their childhoods – between you and your child’s other parent. Child support is calculated according to exacting state guidelines that consider a variety of factors, but the primary concerns include:

  • The number of overnights each parent has with their shared children
  • Each parent’s earnings in relation to one another

Generally, if you are the primary custodial parent (your children live primarily with you and have a visitation schedule with the other), you will receive child support from your ex. Even, however, if you and your ex divide the number of overnights you spend with your children directly down the middle, the parent who earns more will very likely be required to pay the other child support. This is because lawmakers designed child support to help your children’s best interests, who deserve the financial support that both parents are able to provide.  

Reach out to an Experienced Illinois Child Custody Attorney Today

The compassionate Naperville child custody attorneys at SLG Family Law are committed to skillfully advocating for child custody terms that work for you and that support you and your children’s best interests. To learn more, please don’t wait to contact us today.

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