Illinois parents who have gone through a divorce may have a child that expresses a desire to reside with the other parent on a more regular basis. If parents can negotiate an agreement outside of court, they may be able to work with the child to include more time with the other parent. However, if there is a custody order in place, a child’s wishes might not be enough to change the parenting time arrangements unless it is clearly in the best interest of the child.
In child custody matters, the court places emphasis on the what is in the child’s best interest when determining parenting time and parenting responsibility. This means that even if the court considers the child’s wishes, the court must first look at various factors such as the child’s age and maturity level before making any changes to an existing order.
For example, if the child is a teenager, the court will try to ascertain whether a teen genuinely wants to live with the other parent, or if the teen is perhaps looking to move in with the parent perceived as more lenient. The child and parents will have an opportunity to express their point of view with regard to the request so that the court can understand why a change is or is not in the best interest of the child.
Post Decree Modifications
If the child is younger and wants to live with the other parent, the court might look into whether there has been custodial interference by that parent. For example, if the parent with limited parenting time has coerced their child into asking for a change in living arrangements, the court will likely frown upon this, especially if it appears that, in a game of parental tug-of-war, incentives have been offered to the child to prompt the request. If, on the other hand, the court determines the child will clearly benefit from a change in parenting time arrangements, the order may be modified.
Contact Experienced Illinois Custody and Visitation Arrangements Attorneys
Illinois parents who are considering divorce should discuss their concerns regarding Illinois child custody and visitation (aka parenting time) with an experienced family law attorney. Negotiating a settlement will allow the parents to decide what is in the best interest of their child and allow some flexibility moving forward so that they can continue to be responsive to their child’s changing needs. Contact the Illinois child custody lawyers of Schlesinger & Strauss LLC for more information regarding Illinois parenting time arrangements, child support or post decree modifications in a family law matter today.