The “Best Interest Test” in Illinois Child Custody Cases

In Illinois child custody cases, there are evaluation criteria that must be considered by the Court in accordance with the  Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (the “Illinois Divorce Act”). Nothing in a divorce is more emotionally charged than determining Child Custody.

Section 602 of the Illinois Divorce Act directs the Court to the “Best Interest Test” to determine Child Custody.  This section also specifies the “Best Interest Factors” that the court should consider in determining Custody. Section 602 states,

The court shall determine custody in accordance with the best interest of the child. The court shall consider all relevant factors including:

(1) the wishes of the child’s parent or parents as to his custody;

(2) the wishes of the child as to his custodian;

(3) the interaction and interrelationship of the child with his parent or parents, his siblings and any other person who may significantly affect the child’s best interest;

(4) the child’s adjustment to his home, school and community;

(5) the mental and physical health of all individuals involved;

(6) the physical violence or threat of physical violence by the child’s potential custodian, whether directed against the child or directed against another person;

(7) the occurrence of ongoing abuse… whether directed against the child or directed against another person;

(8) the willingness and ability of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing relationship between the other parent and the child;

(9) whether one of the parents is a sex offender; and

(10) the terms of a parent’s military family-care plan that a parent must complete before deployment if a parent is a member of the United States Armed Forces who is being deployed. 750 ILCS 5/602.

Using the “Best Interest Test” Criteria

If your divorce involves minor children, we can meet with you to explain how the Best Interest Test is used, and how we will fight aggressively on your behalf in seeking to achieve your child custody goals.  Please call our office for a free consultation, and we can explain to you how child custody is handled in Illinois.  In the interim, the following links go to other portions of our website that discuss child support in Illinois matters.

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