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The child’s wishes in custody decisions

| Jan 20, 2015 | Child Custody |

When it comes to making child custody and visitation arrangements, Illinois family law courts continually strive to account for the best interests of the child at the heart of the case. And while that often means ensuring that the child has consistent access to both of his or her parents, there are other instances where limited visitation time may be preferable. That is why it can be helpful for parents to be aware of circumstances under which their children may have the right to influence court-ordered custody arrangements.

Providing an overview of child custody guidelines for divorce cases, the Cornell University Law School explains that both parents typically have equal rights to their child unless or until the court determines otherwise. In the event that the family court has to determine child custody arrangements, multiple factors may be taken into consideration. Several types of custody and visitation options can be applied depending on the specific circumstances of the case, allowing for the noncustodial parent to be granted more or less time with the child. The family court may also consider the preferences of the child in some cases.

While the child custody and visitation arrangements that the family court establishes typically account for the rights of the noncustodial parent, the National Paralegal College explains that they can also reflect concerns over the child’s safety and well-being. Children, especially those old enough to express themselves and make some independent decisions, have the right to request particular custody and visitation arrangements. For instance, the court may consider limiting or terminating visitation time with the noncustodial parent if the child refuses to participate. It is also important to note, however, that the court will consider whether either parent influenced the child’s decision.

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