Many people are under the impression that a magic age exists at which a minor child can decide with whom to live. In Illinois, as in most other states, the physical custody of a child is determined by the court according to what is in the child’s best interest. If an older child requests to change houses, a judge can take certain measures to determine if the move would be positive for the child.
When considering the petition of a young child, a judge considers these factors:
In most cases involving children under the age of 12 or 13, the judge will appoint a third party to observe the parents and report on the child’s behalf. If the child is older, the judge may be more inclined to also interview the child in chambers to determine why the child is making the request.
Many judges prefer not to interfere with the issue of residency of children. There is a common belief among family court judges that it is preferable for parents to decide where the children should live and not leave such an important decision to a third party. In cases where abuse, neglect, or emotional manipulation is present in one household, the advocacy of a third party can be invaluable.
As a general rule, children do not testify in court, especially against their parents. If your family requires assistance with a custody or primary residence issue, speak to a child custody attorney.
Born in Havana, Cuba, Paul Chatzky is fluent in Spanish and English, enabling him to effectively represent a wider range of individuals and families. He is AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell®, and is listed among Illinois Super Lawyers, which is a reflection of his high ethical standards and exceptional legal knowledge. As a…
Prior to joining the firm as a paralegal, Debbie was employed by major banking institutions as a loan processor and as an executive secretary. Debbie was also employed as an administrative assistant for the Board of Jewish Education. Having majored in Sociology, Debbie graduated from the University of Florida in 1980. Debbie completed her studies…