Going through a divorce as a parent can be one of the most difficult things you do in your life. Not only do you need to stand up for your rights, but also your child’s rights. If you and your child’s other parent can agree on child custody, the family court judge will need to review it and sign off on it. However, if you can’t agree, a child custody hearing will need to be held. Both parents and their Chicago child custody lawyers will go before the judge to plead their case at this hearing. It’s essential to be aware of what factors the court considers when determining custody orders.
The Child’s Best Interests
Above all else, the court will consider the child’s best interest when ruling on custody issues. Family courts must ensure that children are safe and adjust well to the new family situation. Family court judges will review evidence such as witness testimony or even sometimes the child’s desires to determine what is in their best interest.
Courts want to avoid making drastic disruptions in a child’s life. Of course, change must come with divorce, but minimizing disruptions is a priority in family court. Your Chicago child custody attorney can help gather evidence to assert your claim to custody rights that maintain the status quo for your child as much as possible.
In some cases, the desires of the parents can influence the court’s custody decisions. Suppose the court finds that the wishes of one parent over the other better align with the child’s best interest. In that case, they will usually side with that parent.
Family court judges also consider the stability of each parenting environment. The parent who can offer the most stable one will usually receive physical custody of the child since that is what is in the child’s best interest. Stability can include:
- A regular routine
- Availability of the parent
- A safe and clean living environment
If a parent’s work schedule is constantly changing or they frequently travel for business, they will be less likely to receive custody.
The Child’s Desires
In most cases, the child’s wishes have the least influence on the court in custody hearings. This is especially true for younger children. The older the child is at the time of the hearing, the more likely the court is to include their wishes in the custody decision. Parents must prove a quality relationship with their child to increase the chances of receiving custody.
Call a Skilled Chicago Child Custody Lawyer Today
Custody cases are complicated and emotionally draining. However, good legal representation strengthens a parent or guardian’s custody case. You can rely on the dedicated Chicago child custody attorneys at Andrea Heckman Law to provide such representation. We know that child custody issues are stressful and impact many areas of your life. When you hire us, we go to work advocating for the best outcome possible in your case. Take the next step and contact us today to learn more about how we can help with your child custody case.