A child’s role in a custody battle

On behalf of Stange Law Firm, PC posted in Child Custody on Friday, May 5, 2017.

When Illinois parents with young children end their marriage, one of them is often given primary physical custody with the other having certain visitation rights. However, a child may or may not have a say as to where he or she will live once the divorce is finalized. The top priority in any child custody case is to protect the best interests of the child. This generally trumps the wishes of the parties involved.

A court will also have to consider whether or not children are old enough or mature enough to make that decision on their own. In some cases, the preference of the child will be taken into consideration if he or she is deemed mature enough to make an educated decision. However, judges will still need to take into account that some children choose to live with a parent based on how lenient that parent may be.

There is also the possibility that a parent is coaching a child to express a preference to live with him or her. In the event that a parent is trying to coax a child into expressing a preference for one parent over the other, it could be considered custodial interference. Such interference generally comes from the noncustodial parent, but either parent could influence a child’s stated preferences.

Those who wish to have more parenting time or additional rights with respect to their child may wish to talk with an attorney. Doing so may make it possible to convince a judge to modify an existing custody or visitation order. Legal counsel may also be helpful during mediation or other discussions that may result in a custodial parent modifying an agreement without the need to go to court. Avoiding the stress of litigation is generally in the child’s best interest.

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