The following is a summary of Illinois child custody laws, and is by no means intended to be an all-inclusive description of what to expect in your particular case. In some cases, the exact text of the statute may have been simplified and/or modified to provide for easier understanding. For a more specific understanding of the laws, you should consult the full Illinois Code and/or consult with an attorney about how the law might apply to your particular situation.

Illinois Laws on Best Interest of the Child.

The court shall determine custody in accordance with the best interest of the child. The court shall consider all relevant factors including the following guidelines:

  1. The wishes of the child’s parent or parents as to custody of the child;
  2. The wishes of the child as to custody;
  3. The interaction and interrelationship of the child with his parent or parents, his siblings and any other person who may significantly affect the child’s best interest;
  4. The child’s adjustment to his home, school and community;
  5. The mental and physical health of all individuals involved;
  6. The physical violence or threat of physical violence by the child’s potential custodian, whether directed against the child or directed against another person;
  7. The occurrence of ongoing abuse as defined in Section 103 of the Illinois Domestic Violence Act of 1986, whether directed against the child or directed against another person; and
  8. The willingness and ability of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing relationship between the other parent and the child.

The court doesn’t consider conduct of a present or proposed custodian that does not affect the relationship to the child.

-From Section 750 ILCS 5/602 of the Illinois Compiled Statutes

Laws of Joint Custody.

Unless the court finds the occurrence of ongoing abuse, it shall presume that the maximum involvement and cooperation of both parents regarding the physical, mental, moral, and emotional well-being of their child is in the best interest of the child. There shall be no presumption in favor of or against joint custody but upon the application of either or both parents, or upon its own motion, the court shall consider an award of joint custody. The court may enter an order of joint custody if it determines that joint custody would be in the best interests of the child, taking into account the following:

  1. The ability of the parents to cooperate effectively and consistently in matters that directly affect the joint parenting of the child. “Ability of the parents to cooperate” means the parents’ capacity to substantially comply with a Joint Parenting Order. The court shall not consider the inability of the parents to cooperate effectively and consistently in matters that do not directly affect the joint parenting of the child;
  2. The residential circumstances of each parent; and
  3. All other factors which may be relevant to the best interest of the child.

-From Section 750 ILCS 5/602.1 of the Illinois Compiled Statutes

Access to Records.

Illinois laws require that neither parent shall be denied access to records and information pertaining to a child, including but not limited to medical, dental, child care and school records unless one parent is prohibited access to those records by a protective order.

Educational Program and Divorce.

In a case involving child custody, the court may order the parents to attend an educational program about the effects of divorce on children, if the court so desires.


This information has been summarized from the Illinois statutes. You can find the full-text version of these and other Illinois divorce statutes online here: Illinois Divorce Laws.




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