Factors in Illinois to Determine Child Custody and Visitation (i.e., the “Allocation of Parental Responsibilities”)

Rincker Law Family/Matrimonial Law Leave a Comment

I get a lot of questions during consultation on the factors to determine the allocation of parental responsibilities in Illinois.  Although trial court judges are given a lot of deference to take into consideration the totality of the circumstances, the statute sets forth 14 concrete factors (and one catch-all factor) for the court to consider.  They are:

  • the wishes of the child, taking into account the child’s maturity and ability to express reasoned and independent preferences as to decision-making;
  • the child’s adjustment to his or her home, school, and community;
  • the mental and physical health of all individuals involved;
  • the ability of the parents to cooperate to make decisions, or the level of conflict between the parties that may affect their ability to share decision-making;
  • the level of each parent’s participation in past significant decision-making with respect to the child;
  • any prior agreement or course of conduct between the parents relating to decision-making with respect to the child;
  • the wishes of the parents;
  • the child’s needs;
  • the distance between the parents’ residences, the cost and difficulty of transporting the child, each parent’s and the child’s daily schedules, and the ability of the parents to cooperate in the arrangement;
  • whether a restriction on decision-making is appropriate under Section 603.10;
  • the willingness and ability of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing relationship between the other parent and the child;
  • the physical violence or threat of physical violence by the child’s parent directed against the child;
  • the occurrence of abuse against the child or other member of the child’s household;
  • whether one of the parents is a sex offender, and if so, the exact nature of the offense and what, if any, treatment in which the parent has successfully participated; and
  • any other factor that the court expressly finds to be relevant.
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