How does a divorcing couple decide which parent the child should live with?

By Laura M. Urbik Kern
April 28, 2016

The statute lays out in Section 602.5 and 602.7 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution Act what the specific rules are about time. Most of the time, the court will look to see what the behavior has been of the parties in the two years prior to the divorce being filed or, if it's an infant, since the child's birth.

We're going to look at a number of different factors – caretaking factors, decision factors – all kinds of things like that to try to figure out what the best arrangement is in the kid's best interest. People tend to focus on what they want. It's not about them; it's about the kids. If we can get people on the same page for the kids, we're doing a good job. Also, there's a minimum of 35% to each parent that is required by the statute. Can it go less than that? In certain situations, but that's fact-driven. But most of the time, it has to be above 35%. In most cases, it just depends on the people's work schedules and the kids’ schedules.


With 30 years of experience in family law, Laura M. Urbik Kern is a certified mediator and family lawyer who concentrates on dissolution, family and juvenile law, child support, and complex domestic relations cases. To learn more about Laura, visit her firm's online profile or her website laurakern.com.

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April 28, 2016

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