In a child custody proceeding, the court will make its determination of custody issues based on the "best interest of the child." The best interest of the child is determined on a case-by-case basis by weighing several factors listed in the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) as well as any other factors that the court finds relevant, including those that have been developed by case law.
The factors listed in the IMDMA are:
In addition to these statutory factors, the court may consider any other facts or factors relevant to the "best interest of the child." The following factors have been found relevant by previous case law:
The "best interests of the child" is a fact specific inquiry in which the court has very broad discretion. Because of the broad discretion of the trial court in these matters, appeals of the trial court's decision are rarely heard.