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Every state has their own unique statutes that address child custody. However, Illinois parents might be interested to learn that most child custody statues are written with the same goal, which is to further the best interests of the child. Courts around the country use similar factors in determining what is in a child’s best interest. The gender of a parent is rarely, if ever, a factor in child custody orders.

The wishes of the children are often considered along with the wishes of the parents. The bond between a child and his or her parents as well as sibling relationships are factors. How willing and able one parent is to nurture a relationship between the other parent and their child might influence a decision. The general health and ages of parents and children are taken into account. How well children adapt to their surroundings, including their home and their school, is important. Past experience as the primary care giver is considered.

Any signs of abuse toward a child or toward a parent could hurt a parent’s case for custody. This might include a history of child abuse in a person dating a parent. Evidence of drug use or excessive consumption of alcohol could affect a court’s decision. Manipulation or coercion employed to achieve child custody will be considered if discovered. Typically, courts prefer awarding joint custody, but they will award sole custody if that is better for the child.

No parent wants to feel like his or her ability to provide for a child and desire to do so is not being heard. A family law attorney can assist in demonstrating a client’s fitness as a caregiver in an effort to obtain child custody.