When going through a divorce with children involved, one of the most important matters is allocating parental responsibilities. In the state of Illinois, parental responsibilities, formerly known as custody and visitation rights, are issued with the best interest of the child in mind. There are many things that are considered during this process.

According to the Circuit Court of Cook County, the state of Illinois considers the wishes of the parents first and foremost. Sometimes it is possible to amicably come to an agreement and this is optimal. If a child is old enough to have an opinion, the courts also take his or her desires into consideration.

Additionally, the participation of each parent’s previous involvement with a child play into the allocation of parental responsibilities. Of course, the health and safety of the child are paramount. Abusive situations are taken very seriously in court, and should one parent have an abusive past the courts will not place the child with him or her. If one parent is a registered sex offender, this strongly affects parental responsibility allocation. Location is also important, as parents who live far apart put a lot of stress on the child if parental responsibilities are split evenly.

However, the courts do not consider any conduct that does not directly related to the relationship between the parent and child. For example, if one parent drinks and the other does not, provided that the drinking parent does not exhibit destructive behavior as a result, this has no bearing on parental responsibilities.

This post is intended to educate you on how the state of Illinois may allocate parental responsibilities. It is not intended as legal advice.