In Illinois, courts are instructed to consider the factors included in what is known as the “Best Interest Test.” These factors cover a wide variety of matters that can impact the stability of children following a divorce or separation. In general, the courts are to decide custody matters in what is in the best interest of the children.
When making a determination regarding the allocation of significant decision-making responsibilities, a judge will consider all relevant information, including without limitation, the following factors:
- Each parent’s wishes regarding parenting time;
- The wishes of a child, taking into account the child’s maturity and ability to express reasoned and independent preferences regarding parenting time;
- The amount of caretaking provided by each parent in the twenty-four months preceding the filing of a petition for allocation of parental responsibilities or since the child’s birth (if the adolescent is under two years of age);
- Prior caretaking agreements;
- Interaction and relationships the child has established with each parent, siblings, grandparents, and other people who may significantly affect the child’s best interests;
- The child’s ability to adjust to his or her home, school, and community;
- All parties’ mental and physical health;
- The child’s needs;
- The distance between each parent’s residence, transportation costs and difficulties, parental schedules, and the ability of each parent to cooperate in an arrangement;
- Whether restricted parenting time is needed;
- Any physical violence or threat of physical violence toward the child or other member of the child’s household;
- The willingness of each party to place the child’s needs first (above his or her own needs);
- The occurrence of abuse against the child or other member of the household;
- The convicted sex offender status of anyone residing in the households;
- The terms of a parent’s military family-care plan (if a parent is being deployed);
- Any other factors that the court finds to be relevant.
Due to the subjective nature of the Best Interests Test and the long-term consequences of Illinois child custody cases, it is critical for parents to consult with an experienced Rockford child custody lawyer who can emphasize the positive aspects of a parent-child relationship and zealously advocate for the desired custody arrangement.
For years I have assisted clients in Rockford and the surrounding communities with child custody matters, from those involving cooperative parties to highly contentious disputes. Regardless of the level of cooperation of the other party, I and my firm can reduce your stress by taking on the full responsibility for understanding what parenting arrangement is in the best interests of a child and developing a comprehensive plan for the custody of your children.
 750 ILCS 5/602.7.