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Understanding What Your Child Wants

Posted on in Child Custody

Naperville family law attorneyFor the most part, parents have a pretty good understanding of what is best for their children. As a child gets older, the dynamic may change a little, but a parent has a lifetime’s worth of experiences to draw upon, often giving him or her insight into how the world works and how to keep their child safe. Over time, of course, the child will develop strong feelings and philosophies of his or her own, and while they may be at odds with those of his or her parent, they are still valid—especially if they have been formed on the basis of education and rational thought. While the issue of a child’s independence may be one that every family deals with at some point, it can be even more prominent in proceedings regarding parental responsibilities, parenting time, relocation, or a stepparent adoption.

Parental Responsibilities

According to Illinois law, when a court is tasked with making a decision regarding the allocation of parental responsibilities—formerly known as child custody—many factors must be taken into account. The court must consider the relationship of each parent with the child, the resources and abilities of each parent, and how each parent is equipped to handle child-raising responsibilities. The law also requires the court to consider the wishes of the child as one of the contributing factors. The child will not automatically get what he or she wants, but, depending on the child’s age, maturity, and ability to recognize the gravity of the situation, the child’s opinion could be significant in the court’s decision.

For the purposes of this discussion, parenting time and a proposed relocation by a parent are included under the umbrella of the allocation of parental responsibilities. The child’s wishes are to be taken into account in making determinations regarding these issues as well.

Stepparent Adoption

A child who has reached age 14 has even more power in a proceeding for a stepparent adoption. Illinois law provides that in order for a stepparent to adopt a child age 14 or older, the child must consent to the adoption or it simply will not take place. Of course, even with the child’s consent, there are other considerations to be made, but without it, the proceedings are essentially dead. The purpose of this requirement is to ensure that the child is fully onboard with the parents’ plan and that his or her best interests are not compromised.

To learn more about how your child’s wishes could impact your ongoing legal dispute, contact an experienced DuPage County family law attorney. Call 630-352-2240 for a free consultation with the team at Pesce Law Group today.

Sources:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs5.asp?ActID=2086&ChapterID=0

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=2098&ChapterID=59

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