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Can Children Choose Which Parent They Want to Live With After a Divorce?

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Can Children Choose Which Parent They Want to Live With After a Divorce?

Can Children Choose Which Parent They Want to Live With After a Divorce?

Explaining divorce to your children can be a difficult and emotional process. They may have questions about what a divorce means for their living situation and which parent they will stay with. Many parents have concerns regarding the well-being of their children during a divorce. A dedicated attorney at SAM LAW OFFICE, LLC can help you understand Illinois divorce proceedings and whether or not your child can choose who they live with after a divorce. 

Does My Child Have Final Say in Who They Live With?

In Illinois divorces, the court has the final say over who your children will live with. However, the court may consider the living preferences of older children during divorce proceedings. These preferences aren’t guaranteed to be approved, as many factors are considered in determining the best place for the child to live. 

Some of these factors include but are not limited to:

  • The Ability of Each Parent to Care for the Child’s Needs

     In making a decision about living arrangements, the court will always choose what’s in the best interests of the child. If a parent is found to be unfit to care for the child, they may not be granted permission to have their child reside with them. For example, if a parent struggles with substance abuse, they might be deemed unfit to care for the child. This doesn’t mean that the parent has no right to see their child, but it could affect the living arrangements. In addition, the court needs to ensure that the parent caring for the child has a stable home for them and can be financially responsible for their needs.

  • Unique Relationships Between Children and Parents 

Though a child can’t decide who they live with, the court does consider the relationships that children have with both parents. For example, if a child has a stronger relationship with one parent, the court may favor placing the child with the parent they’re most comfortable with. However, if it is found that this parent is unable to be responsible for the child, the court can choose not to allow the child to reside with them. 

  • Prior Obligations of Each Parent

Certain obligations may impact a parent’s ability to properly care for their child. For example, if a parent often travels for work, this may impact how the court rules in regard to living arrangements. A parent may also have additional steps that the court requires in order to allow their child to reside with them, such as finding a stable job or acquiring a proper living space. If a parent has failed to meet these obligations, they will likely not be granted permission to have their child living with them. 

What if My Child Is Not Permitted to Live With Me?

If the court determines that it’s in the best interest of the child to live with your former spouse, they will then determine a custody arrangement. Even if a child doesn’t live with you, you can still have custody or visitation rights. The court will decide the best way to arrange custody of the child during the divorce proceedings. An attorney at SAM LAW OFFICE, LLC can help explain this process further. 

Contact Our Trusted Team Today

If you have questions about your child’s living arrangements after a divorce, contact SAM LAW OFFICE, LLC today. We have years of experience navigating the child custody process and we can help make sure your family’s needs are met.

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