Law Office of Vincent C. Machroli, P.C.
High Point Plaza, 4415 West Harrison Street, Suite 213, Hillside, IL 60162
High Point Plaza, 4415 West Harrison Street, Suite 213
Hillside, IL 60162



What Is the “Best Interest of the Child” Standard in Family Law?

 Posted on December 27, 2023 in Family Law

Best Interest of the ChildIn family law cases where the subject of child custody needs to be addressed, the court will always seek to find solutions that will provide for children’s ongoing needs, and ensure that stability can be attained. The "best interest of the child" standard is a legal principle that guides judges in making decisions about how parental responsibilities will be allocated, and how parenting time will be divided between parents. It is important for parents to understand this principle, and as they work to resolve child custody considerations, they will need to focus on protecting their children’s health, safety and well-being. An experienced family law attorney can provide effective legal representation in these situations, advocating for solutions that will protect children’s best interests, while also maintaining parental rights.

The Factors Considered When Determining Child Custody Arrangements

When making decisions about child custody and parenting time, family court judges may consider various factors to determine what would be in the best interest of the child. According to Illinois law, these factors may include:

  • The child's wishes: Depending on their age and maturity level, a judge may take into account a child's preferences regarding custodial arrangements;

  • The parents’ wishes: Each parent’s desires regarding how child-related decisions will be made and where children will live may be evaluated to determine whether compromises can be reached;

  • Mental and physical health: The status of both parents may be evaluated to ensure they can provide a safe environment for their children;

  • Parent-child relationships: The court will assess each parent's ability to foster a healthy relationship with their child and put their children’s needs ahead of their own desires;

  • Children’s adjustment to their home and community: To maintain stability as much as possible, a judge may consider whether a custody arrangement will allow children to continue living in the same home and attending the same schools;

  • Caregiving abilities: A judge may consider each parent's ability to meet their children's basic needs by providing food, shelter, clothing, education, healthcare, etc.;

  • Historical caretaking role: To assess each parent’s caregiving abilities, a judge may look at how involved they have been in handling childcare duties during the two years prior to the initiation of a divorce or child custody case;

  • Past decision-making responsibilities: In addition to considering parents’ involvement in caring for children, the court may also look at how they have worked together to make decisions in the past, or whether one parent has been primarily responsible for handling issues such as education or medical care;

  • Co-parenting ability: A judge may assess each parent's willingness to cooperate with the other parent and make joint decisions regarding their children's upbringing;

  • Practical issues: The distance between parents’ homes may be considered to determine how transportation arrangements may be handled, or address other issues related to parenting time;

  • Domestic violence or abuse: Any history of abuse against children or other family members by a parent may be considered to ensure that children’s safety and well-being will be protected; and,

  • Other factors: A judge may consider any other issues that they believe may affect children’s best interests while seeking to find solutions that will allow for stability and encourage positive parent/child relationships.

Contact Our Hillside Child Custody Attorney

Dealing with child custody matters can be difficult, as well as emotionally challenging. Hiring an experienced family law attorney who understands the "best interest of the child" standard is crucial to ensure that you can protect your rights as a parent and advocate for solutions that will allow for your family’s ongoing success.

If you are facing a child custody dispute in Illinois, Law Office of Vincent C. Machroli, P.C. is here to help. Our Oak Park child custody lawyer has over 36 years of experience representing clients in family law cases. We understand how important it is to resolve these issues effectively, and we will work to help you find solutions that will allow you to meet your children’s needs in the years to come. To schedule a free consultation, please contact us at 708-449-7404.

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