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How Is Joint Child Custody Handled in Illinois Divorce Cases?

Posted on in Family Law

DuPage County Child Custody LawyerSome of the biggest concerns that parents will face during the divorce process will be related to the custody of their children. In Illinois, the courts encourage parents to reach agreements on how child custody will be divided or shared, but a family court judge can intervene if the parents cannot come to a decision on their own through negotiation or mediation. When it comes to joint custody, it is important to understand how this issue will be addressed during the divorce process.

Understanding Legal and Physical Custody

Family courts generally separate child custody into two categories—physical custody and legal custody. In Illinois, legal custody is known as the allocation of parental responsibilities, and it refers to the right and responsibility to make major decisions on behalf of the child, such as education, healthcare, and religion. Physical custody is known as parenting time, although it may also be referred to as visitation. It addresses issues related to where the child will live, including their primary residence as well as the time they spend living in the other parent's home or in their care. It is possible for one parent to have sole legal and/or physical custody, but it is more common for parents to share custody.

Joint Custody

In cases involving joint custody, parents will share legal and physical custody of the child. Most of the time, the laws presume that it is in the best interest of the child for both parents to be closely involved in the child's life, as long as they can cooperate and put the child's interests first. Parents will usually be able to share joint legal custody, meaning that they will have an equal say when making child-related decisions. However, there may be some situations where certain responsibilities (or all parental responsibilities) may be allocated to one parent. When it comes to physical custody, there are some cases where parents may share equal amounts of parenting time, although it is more common for children to live with one parent the majority of the time while still spending time with the other parent on a regular basis.

Factors Considered When Addressing Child Custody

When determining custody arrangements, the court may take many factors into consideration, such as the child's age, their relationship with their parents, and the parents' ability to communicate and cooperate with one another. A judge will also consider any evidence of domestic violence, neglect, or drug abuse when making a decision. Ultimately, the court will make a determination on custody that they believe is in the best interest of the child.

Creating a Parenting Plan

In order for joint custody to be successful, it is important for parents to have a solid parenting plan in place. This plan will be part of a couple's divorce decree, and it will include all relevant details on how parenting time will be divided, how major decisions will be made, and how conflicts will be resolved. The court will review and approve the parenting plan, and it will become an official court order. If either parent violates the plan, there can be legal consequences.

Contact Our Naperville Child Custody Lawyers

In Illinois, joint custody is generally preferred in divorce cases, and it is seen as the best way to ensure that both parents will be involved in the child’s life. However, the specific custody arrangements used in a particular divorce case will depend on a number of factors, including the child's wishes, the relationships between the child and both parents, and the practical logistics of the situation. Ultimately, the goal is to put custody arrangements in place that protect the best interests of the child while allowing both parents to remain active in their child’s life.

If you are going through a divorce and want to make sure issues related to your children will be handled correctly, the Lombard child custody attorneys at Mevorah & Giglio Law Offices can provide the legal help you need. We will work with you to navigate the complexities of Illinois divorce and child custody laws, and we will advocate for solutions that will protect your children's best interests. Contact us at 630-932-9100 to set up a free consultation today.


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