What does “The Best Interests of the Child” mean in a divorce?

Once upon a time, the court system used to apply something called the “tender years doctrine.”  This doctrine presumed that the child’s best interests were to give custody of that child to the mother.  This doctrine has since been replaced with the Best Interest of the Child standard.  So, what exactly is this standard?

In determining child custody, there is a presumption that the best interest of the child is when both parents are involved somehow in the child’s life.  A presumption means that the court starts out assuming that fact.  Next, the judge will look at a list of factors set out in the Illinois statute.  Some factors are:

  • Each of the parent’s desire for the child;
  • The wishes of the child as to who they will live with;
  • The relationship of the child with the parent and siblings;
  • The child’s adjustment to his home, school, and community;
  • The physical violence or threat of violence by the child’s potential custodian.

There can a lot more that goes into a custody proceeding than just the Illinois statutory factors. A child custody battle during a divorce may be a long and complicated process.  If you are going through a divorce or custody battle, call The Law Office of Keith Short at 618-254-0055 and let us counsel you.

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