Illinois Child Custody Laws

Illinois Child Custody Issues & Resources

Illinois Child Custody

Illinois child custody may be awarded to either party based upon the best interests of the child. In determining best interests the Court will consider:
  • the preference of the child; 

  • the wishes of the parents;

  • the child's adjustment to his or her home, school, and community;

  • the mental and physical health of all individuals involved; 

  • the relationship of the child with parents, siblings, and other significant family members; 

  • any history of violence by a parent, whether directed against the child or against another person; and 

  • the willingness and ability of each parent to encourage a close and continuing relationship between the child and the other parent. 

Unless marital fault directly affects the child’s relationship with that parent, such misconduct is not a factor that may be considered in awarding child custody.

There is no presumption in Illinois that joint custody is in the best interests of the child. However, Courts in Illinois will presume that the parties maximum involvement and cooperation is in the best interests of the child. In determining whether joint custody would be in the child’s best interests, the Court will consider:

  • the ability of the parents to cooperate effectively and consistently; 

  • the residential circumstances of each parent; and

  • any other relevant factor.

When joint child custody is determined to be in the children’s best interests, the parties must prepare a Joint Parenting Agreement which specifies each parent's rights and responsibilities for the care of the child and major decisions for the child , including education, health care, and religious training. The Agreement must contain a provision that the parties will mediate any future problems and that the terms of the Agreement will be reviewed on a periodic basis.

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