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Illinois child custody and the "best interest of the child"

Child custody is often a hard and long battle fought during a divorce proceeding. The Illinois courts usually look after the best interest of the child when determining custodial issues. There are various forms of child custody, from joint custody to sole custody, and the court reviews each case specifically in order to determine who should get custody of the child.

There is no quantifiable rule of thumb to determine the best interest of a minor child in order to determine child custody. The court has discretion over what aspects to review when determining how to draft an appropriate order for child custody. Various factors used to determine the best interest of the child in child custody matters may include a parent's physical capacity to care for a child, financial circumstances of the custodial as well as the non-custodial parent or a guardian's standing, if applicable. The child's well-being and safety are of paramount concern for the court in determining child custody.

Illinois law lays down a few guidelines for determining the best interest of a minor child. The child's development becomes the major focus in such a determination. The minor's attachment to both parents, including religious identity, financial and mental stability, community attachments and other backgrounds become important factors when determining the best interest of a minor child.

Since each child custody case is unique, a parent may find it beneficial to seek professional help. Aside from the requisite documents, professionals may be better equipped to provide the court with the information that it needs to determine what serves the child's best interest in a particular custody case. While many parents choose joint custody, all forms of child custody may be determined solely on the principle of the best interest of the child.

Source: ChildWelfare.gov, "Determining the Best Interests of the Child," accessed on Oct. 4, 2014

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