Illinois Procedural Options for Child Custody

Illinios divorce attorney, Illinois family law attorney, parental rights,Moving forward with a divorce can become a bit crowded – two spouses, two qualified divorce attorneys, perhaps a business evaluation professional, but most innocently, the children. If your divorce involves legal discussions of child custody, add yet to the mix, the 604(b) professional evaluator. As mandated by the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (750 ILCS 5), Section 604(b) there are evaluation criteria that must be taken into consideration when implementing court-ordered child custody agreements.

Under Section 604(b), a “Best Interest Test” is conducted by a licensed child psychologist or psychiatrist. These professionals are usually experienced in the Illinois child custody procedure but are instructed to complete the interview as a neutral third party. This process is often expensive and lengthy, taking up to 90 days to complete.

The assigned evaluator will spend a significant amount of time with the child before rendering a neutral determination. Scheduled interviews with both parents as well as other adults involved in the child’s life may also be initiated during the process.

Under the Best Interest Test, the evaluator’s primary objective is to determine what is in the best interest of the child and to provide a recommendation based on the following relevant factors:

  • Expressed wishes of the parents;
  • Expressed wishes of the child;
  • Interaction and interrelationship of the child with both parents;
  • Child’s overall adjustment to home, school and community;
  • Calculation of risk of physical or emotional abuse;
  • If abuse is evident, is the child directly affected;
  • Assessment of possible long-term abuse;
  • Determination of possible legal record of offending parent;
  • Willingness and ability of each parent to adequately provide for the child;
  • Is the relationship between parent and child is an consistent and nurturing; and
  • Determine, under Illinois law 750 ILCS 5/602, if a parent is enlisted in the armed services, the assessment for a child care plan which must be completed before parent is deployed.

Following the assessment, the results of the Best Interest Test is documented in writing and formally presented to the presiding judge. Although the evaluator’s assessment is not the sole indicator determining the final outcome of a child custody determination, it is highly respected by the court.

If you have recently been served with divorce papers and estimate a difficult and emotionally-charged custody battle is inevitable, speaking to a qualified Aurora divorce attorney may be in your best interest. To learn more about your options, contact the Law Office of Matthew M. Williams today at 630-409-8184.

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