Illinois Child Custody Laws and Visitation Rights

Familiarize Yourself with Child Custody Laws in Illinois

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A family court in Illinois considers several factors when determining child custody. Parents who wish to file for child custody in Illinois should first become familiar with the custody statutes in this state.

Best Interests of the Child

Family courts will determine child custody in Illinois based on the best interests of the child. The court will consider the following factors in determining a child's best interests:

  • Parent's wishes
  • Child's wishes - a judge may interview the child in private
  • Child's relationship with the parents
  • Child's adjustment to home, school, and community
  • Mental and physical health of all involved parties
  • History of domestic violence or threats of violence against a child or another party
  • Willingness of each parent to encourage a relationship with the other parent
  • Whether either parent is a sex offender
  • Whether either parent is an active military service member
  • Witness testimony - a court may order a third party evaluation

Joint Custody

Family courts in Illinois prefer to award parents joint legal custody, noting that joint physical custody should be determined by the parents' agreement or the court's order.

In determining whether joint custody is appropriate, a family court in Illinois will consider the following factors:

  • Factors relevant to the best interests of the child
  • Each parent's living accommodations

If parents in Illinois are awarded joint custody, the parents must sign a Joint Parenting Agreement, which explains each parent's rights and responsibilities for the care of the child. A Joint Parenting Agreement will also have a mediation clause, which orders parents to mediate all disputes with regards to the joint custody arrangement.

Visitation and Child Custody in Illinois

In Illinois, if a parent is not granted custody of a child, he/she is entitled to reasonable visitation unless:

  • A court determines that visitation will seriously endanger a child's physical, mental, or emotional health.
  • To protect a child, a family court in Illinois may also order visitation with a child at a local public or private facility.

Custody Modification

In Illinois, child custody may not be modified until at least two years after the original custody order, unless the court believes that the current custody arrangement will endanger the child's physical, mental, moral, or emotional health.

For more information about child custody in Illinois, please refer to the Illinois child custody laws or speak with a qualified attorney in Illinois.

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