Child Custody: Can a Child Choose Which Parent They Want to Live With?

Illinois custody attorney, Illinois family law attorney, Illinois divorce lawyer,Divorce is difficult, and there is probably no single person who would deny that. When a divorce involves children,  that difficulty rises to a new level as the daily routine of very young people is turned upside down. A big part of the anxiety for children is the question of where they will live and with which parent when custody is determined. The question then becomes, can a child pick the parent with whom they want to live?

Can Children Have a Say?

Generally speaking, custody and residency are matters determined by parents. In the event the parents disagree, the courts will get involved. When a judge listens to a custody case or a request for a change in custody, they will consider the child’s opinion depending on a few factors:

  • Age and maturity of the child; there is no specific age, but if the judge feels the child is old enough and mature enough to express their opinion then it shall be considered.
  • A judge may appoint an attorney, child psychiatrist or other advocate to ensure the child’s opinion is valid and properly presented.

How Is the Decision Made?

In Illinois, the court considers a number of factors when attempting to settle a child custody disagreement. Everything is done to determine what is in the best interests of the child. The court will consider the following in an attempt to minimize the emotional impact on children:

  • The preference of parents;
  • The mental and physical health of all individuals involved;
  • The living accommodations provided by each parent;
  • A criminal (sexual) record of a parent, if any exists;
  • The willingness and ability of each parent to encourage and foster an ongoing relationship between the child and the noncustodial parent;
  • The preferences of the child provided he or she is mature enough (with the court’s discretion) to weigh in on the matter;
  • The relationship between the child, their parents, and siblings;
  • A child’s ability to adapt to change in home, school, and community; and
  • Family history of domestic violence, child abuse, or threats of violence against the child.

It is not uncommon for a judge to hold a private meeting with children to better understand the circumstances of the case and the preferences of the child.

Rely on the Advice of a Knowledgeable Aurora Divorce and Custody Case Attorney

Going through a divorce that includes child custody claims is an emotionally taxing experience. You can alleviate some of that stress by seeking the support of a qualified Illinois divorce attorney. Contact an experienced DuPage County divorce and custody lawyer who will represent your interests with vigorous advocacy. The Law Offices of Matthew M. William, P.C. review every detail of your divorce filing to ensure thorough and complete protection of your custodial rights.

Source:

http://www.chicagonow.com/chicagos-real-law-blog/2014/10/can-a-child-choose-which-parent-to-live-with-after-divorce/

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