One of the primary obligations that Illinois family law judges have in custody cases is to make decisions that they believe are in a child’s best interests.
While you probably understand how many issues like abuse, addiction or neglect could affect a custody decision, you may not realize how something as mundane as a parent’s living arrangements can influence a judge’s ruling.
How living arrangements impact custodial ones
The court will carefully weigh your child’s gender and age when deciding what type of living arrangements are ideal for them. A judge will likely always expect your child to have a private place to dress or care for their personal hygiene.
A judge may be fine with younger kids sharing a bedroom or bathroom in common (depending on how many kids there are or a parent’s financial means). The court is less likely to approve a living arrangement requiring a teen to share a bedroom with others.
Courts may allow other factors such as your child’s temperament to dictate whether specific living arrangements are suitable for them. The judge presiding over your custody case will likely want to minimize disruptions in your child’s life and will likely deny any requests that may require a difficult adjustment.
A judge will also consider any aspects dealing with the physical home that may render it unsafe, such as the crime statistics in the area and who else resides or visits the property.
In short, if you’re moving into a new place following your split from your child’s co-parent, you want to make very sure that it has the space you need for your child to feel “at home” while there — and that the area is reasonably safe.
Winning custody of your kids
Generally speaking, Illinois courts prefer to split custody between a child’s parents as evenly as possible. If you believe that your child would do better living primarily with you, you want to work with your attorney as soon as possible. Crafting a strong argument for custody takes time and focus, so don’t delay.