In this article, you will discover:
- How a child’s input is considered when determining custody
- When a child’s input may hold more weight in the decision
At any age, the child is allowed to have input on who they will live with, but the older the child is, the more influential that child’s opinion or wishes will be on who they live with. The younger they are, the less influential. It’s never dispositive to say that this kid wants to be with this parent; therefore, that will happen. But there is a factor codified in the statute, specifically the first factor in determining the child’s best interests, is the child’s wishes. Still, it does go on to say that the wishes will be viewed within the context of the child’s maturity and ability to express reason and independent preferences regarding the decision making regarding their situation.
The language itself automatically sounds like with this reason and independent preferences, a three-year-old will not be able to express reason or an independent preference, especially when coupled with maturity. They can express those preferences, but it’s probably not going to be as reasoned out as you may have expected otherwise. The court allows for a child’s opinion to be heard and shared, but there is not a bright-line rule. On the other hand, if the kid is 17, then in most cases, no one will fight that choice, but if the kid is six, it’s going to be a little bit different.
However, there are situations in which a parent may attempt to incentivize their child to opt to live with them using extra privileges or gifts. If you are able to prove that the parent was bribing, then that parent’s case is lost. That parent would be lucky to get supervised visitation at that point. One of the factors I often cite is statute number 13. I believe it reads the same in both statutes: The willingness or ability of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing relationship than the other parent and the child.
Sometimes that’s just described as a healthy and loving relationship moving forward. So, suppose you are bribing the child. In that case, that shows you don’t have any willingness or ability to facilitate or encourage a close and continuing relationship if you are doing the exact opposite and if you can prove that with text messages or get that parent to testify.
For more information on Custody Preferences Of A Child In Illinois, an initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you seek by calling (312) 772-3346 today.