Knowledgeable, Effective Guidance

Your Child’s Best Interests

The primary concern that the court will have when it comes to a custody arrangement is the “best interests of the child.” That will be more important than every argument or financial issue that you may raise. When you understand how the court arrives at those decisions, you can make a better case.

At Downs Law Firm, I help my clients understand how the court addresses the best interests of their children in divorce and custody cases all over Edwardsville and the St. Louis Metro East area. I explain Illinois law and help them figure out the next steps.

What The Court Considers

Although many people still use the phrases child custody and visitation in Illinois, the processes are now referred to by the courts as “parenting time” (formerly visitation) and “decision-making responsibility” (formerly custody).

As an experienced family law attorney with more than 20 years of experience, Alicia J. Downs has helped many people resolve the issue of custody with care and diligence.

When courts are considering a child’s best interests, they are specifically asking questions like:

  • Is the child physically safe?
  • What does their education look like?
  • Is the child facing mental health concerns?
  • Is the child being abused?
  • Is the child experiencing neglect?
  • Are the child’s basic needs met?
  • What is the age and maturity of the child?

Indeed, there are many questions that come to mind about what courts take into consideration in determining what is in the child’s best interests. However, in most cases, the Court will determine that a child should spend time with both parents.

How Does Paternity Play Into These Questions?

Increasingly, people decide to have children without marrying. This can happen incidentally or intentionally. For fathers seeking a legally supported relationship with their children, this can be particularly challenging.

As your lawyer, I can help you pursue paternity tests and petitions through Illinois courts. This may require filing for a court order to compel a blood test. As a parent, you deserve to spend time with your children and be a presence in their lives.

Local Attorney, Compassionate Service

I have built a career providing family law services to people in my community. I understand that you’re struggling, and I work extremely hard to help you find the best path forward. Reach out to me at or send an email to get started.