Ekker Law, P.C. / Steven B. Ekker, Esq.

Could the School District I Live in Affect My Child Custody Case?

 Posted on January 11, 2021 in Divorce

Kane County family law attorny child custody

Family court judges are required to make decisions based upon the best interests of a child in any allocation of parental responsibilities case—previously known as “child custody” in Illinois. The judge will have to decide which home is the best place for the child to live most of the time. As a divorced parent, you may be wondering if the school district you live in will influence that decision.

Education Is One Factor

There are many different factors that go into making a decision that is in the best interest of the child in a divorce. The type of education a child will receive is an important consideration, but it is only one factor among many. Other factors Illinois judges look at when deciding what is in a child’s best interest include:

  • The arrangement that offers the child the most stability

  • The mental and physical health of all involved

  • The child’s needs

  • The safety of each parent’s home and the surrounding environment

A judge is unlikely to make a decision about the allocation of parental responsibilities based solely on the quality of the schools the child may attend. However, a judge is also unlikely to ignore a major difference in educational opportunities.

Importance of Stability

Often the most important factor for a judge is which home will give the child the most stability. If a child is well-adjusted and thriving in one situation, a judge is unlikely to disrupt a child’s life and order a change in primary residence to allow the child to attend a better school. However, if a child’s life is unstable, a judge will not hesitate to make a change to what he or she believes is a more stable and healthier situation, especially if the new living arrangement gives the child access to additional educational opportunities, such as going to a better school.

Deciding what is in a child’s best interest is a complicated analysis. Family court judges understand that their decisions can shape the rest of a child’s life. While a great education is important to everyone—and often high on the list of priorities for parents and judges—the quality of a school by itself is not enough to tip a decision about allocation of parental rights one way or the other. Judges must look at the whole picture, and not just consider one important part of it.




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