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Housing arrangements and child custody

Parents who are requesting primary child custody may need to present evidence in court about how their living arrangements are suitable for children. A parent's housing arrangements in Illinois could affect their chances of being awarded custody in several ways.

The court will first consider if housing accommodations are appropriate for a child's age and gender. Many judges expect that teens will need more space and privacy than young children. Ultimately, judges consider the facts regarding child custody on a case-by-case basis when making a decision. The children's best interests are always paramount.

Courts will also consider the ability of a child to adjust to a new environment. This comes into play if a parent is requesting a custody arrangement that would require the child to spend time in an unfamiliar home. A judge may consider how a proposed living situation is similar to a child's current housing accommodations.

The court will also consider how a living environment (including the surrounding neighborhood) could impact a child's safety. If a judge has concerns about risks to a child's safety, they may limit overnight visitation or impose other restrictions consistent with promoting safety.

An attorney may be able to help a client who is going through a divorce or fighting for child custody. During court hearings, legal counsel could emphasize the positive facts of the client's situation. For example, an attorney might be able to present evidence that close relatives live nearby and have a positive relationship with the child. Legal counsel could also demonstrate that facts have changed when a parent needs to request a change in custody.

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