Many changes can happen during a divorce for parents and the rest of their family. Sometimes, the child can get caught between disputes, especially if they involve child custody and visitation issues arising from the household’s unique circumstances. In these instances, the child’s well-being may be at risk, warranting the court to intervene and help make arrangements that prioritize their welfare.
When stepping in to make child custody decisions, Illinois courts often have crucial roles as the child’s advocate. The judge can assess the situation and determine a setup that considers various factors, including the following:
- The child’s preferences if mature enough to express them
- Any life-altering changes that can impact the child’s home, school and social life
- The physical and mental well-beings of the involved parties
- Each parent’s willingness to collaborate and maintain a healthy co-parenting relationship
- Each parent’s involvement in the child’s life before the divorce
- Any legal document drafted by the parents to address child custody issues
- Other factors that the court considers relevant to the decision-making process
Some details, such as financial status and relocation plans, can be significant when deciding who is more fit to become the custodial parent.
Protecting the child from potential risks
In specific cases, the judge has no choice but to make decisions focusing on keeping the child safe. Some scenarios can involve violence, abuse and possibilities of parental alienation. The judge can interfere to prevent harm and further endangerment.
Even if parents have agreements indicating arrangements settled out of court, a judge can still adjust or order changes based on the circumstances. The court may put the child’s best interests first over other custody-related factors and considerations.