If you are considering a divorce, child custody is one of the most important issues you want to focus on. As of 2016, a new child custody law is now in effect in Illinois. To understand how this new law applies to your child custody arrangement, it is important for you to speak to a child custody lawyer who could determine how this law applies to the unique facts of your situation.

Child Custody Law in Bolingbrook

While child custody is now referred to as allocation of parental responsibility in Illinois courts, the legal standard for child custody under Illinois Code §602.7 has remained the same. When determining the proper custody agreement, your judge will decide based on whatever is in the best interest of your child.

This standard will direct the judge to determine child custody based on several factors. These factors include but are not limited to:

  • How well your child is adjusted to their home, school, and community
  • The mental and physical health of your child, as well as that of you and your spouse
  • The ability of you and your spouse to cooperate in parenting your child, as well as your mutual past participation in making decisions on your child’s behalf
  • Distance between parents’ homes, including cost to relocate and visit
  • The willingness of you and your spouse to foster a close relationship between the child and the other parent
  • The wishes of your child, if they possess the maturity and capacity to express their wishes, as well as those of you and your spouse

Unlike the previous law in Illinois, which delegated sole custody to one parent or joint custody to both parents, the new law allows for the judge to assign parental responsibilities to either or both parents. For example, a judge may delegate the responsibility for a child’s education to you specifically, but delegate decisions about the child’s health to both you and your spouse. This new system gives the judge flexibility to assign parental responsibilities for each major area of the child’s life, to ensure that their best interest is looked after in each situation.

The new law also replaces visitation under the Illinois Code with parenting time. Similar to the law’s approach to delegating decision-making about your child’s life, there is also a list of factors for a judge to take into account when determining the appropriate schedule for parenting time, including:

  • The wishes of your child, if they possess the maturity and capacity to express their wishes
  • How much time you and your spouse have individually participated in the previous two years of your child’s life, or since birth if the child is under two years old
  • Your child’s relationship with you and your spouse, as well as siblings, grandparents and any other significant relationship that may be affected
  • Distance and cost to transport between the two parents’ residences
  • The willingness of you and your spouse to look out for the best interest of the child, or to put your child’s needs above your own

Contacting a Child Custody Attorney

Because the new Illinois child custody law provides significant discretion to judges, you may need the help of a child custody lawyer who understands your situation and could be an effective advocate for you in the courtroom. Call Reidy Law to get started.