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What Is Your Child's Best Interest During a Divorce?

Posted on in Child Custody

What Is Your Child's Best Interest During a DivorceParents going through a divorce will often hear the term “best interest of the child.” According to Illinois law, the allocation of parental responsibilities must protect the best interest of the child above all else. Responsible parents will agree on this point but may have different definitions of what their child’s best interest is. As a parent, you may argue that your child’s best interest is to spend as much time with you as possible. This may be presenting your own best interest as your child's best interest. Illinois divorce courts presume a child benefits the most when parents share responsibility. There is not a uniform parenting plan that is in the best interest of all children. Parents and divorce judges must consider each case on its individual merits.

Continued Relationships

Divorce and parenting researchers advocate for shared parental responsibilities because of the importance of children having a relationship with both parents. Following a divorce, children have lost the comfort of their familiar two-parent household. It is vital for their mental and emotional development to continue having two parents who love them and spend time with them.

You may have a valid reason to limit your spouse’s contact with your children if he or she is a threat to their safety. However, you must separate your own prejudices against your spouse from actual threats to their safety. By alienating your children from your spouse, you may be stealing their ability to ever have a healthy relationship.

State Guidelines

Illinois divorce courts prefer that parents share parenting time but not split it equally. Courts believe it is less disruptive for children if they have a primary residence, which means they will spend more time with one parent. The other parent has the right to schedule regular visits with the children.

Illinois law does not mandate how parenting time should be divided or that both parents must have parenting time in all cases. It directs the court to decide in the best interest of the child, considering factors such as:

  • The wishes of the parents and child;
  • The role each parent has played in raising the child;
  • The distance between the parents' residences;
  • The safety and stability of living with each parent;
  • The child’s adjustment to a new home and neighborhood;
  • The child’s special needs; and
  • Whether a parent is willing to encourage the child’s relationship with the other parent.

Determining Parenting Time

The allocation of parental responsibilities is one of the most consequential parts of your divorce negotiations. A Barrington divorce attorney at Lucas Law, can aid you in obtaining a fair division of parenting time. To schedule an appointment, call 847-381-8700.


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