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Preference for joint custody in Illinois

Illinois has a clearly stated preference for joint custody in any situation where it is deemed possible and in the best interests of the child.
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    January 22, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/ -- A divorce is never easy on any party. That includes the spouses involved, children, extended family members and others close to the family. The determination of the custody of minor children and associated parenting plan can be one of the most emotional and difficult to accept and work out. The state of Illinois has a clearly stated preference for joint custody in any situation where it is deemed possible and in the best interests of the child.

What is the difference between joint and sole custody?

When referring to custody in Illinois, the term pertains to a parent's ability to make major decisions for his or her child or children. Some other states call this legal custody so that it is not confused with physical custody.

The decisions that would be covered by this custody include where a child will attend school, what religious beliefs they will be raised with, who will be the child's doctor and other similar issues.

If one parent is awarded sole custody, that means he or she alone has the full responsibility and right to make these decisions for the children. If joint custody is awarded, both parents are expected to work cooperatively together to make these decisions.

How is custody decided in Illinois?

The prevailing concern when determining custody in Illinois is whatever is in the best interests of the child. That can be subjective to some degree but multiple factors are considered in making such a determination. These include:
- The living situation of each parent
- How well the parents cooperate
- The child's relationship to each parent and any siblings or other people close to the family
- The physical and mental health of all people concerned
- Any history or concern about abuse or other violence

The wishes of each parent and the child are also often taken into consideration during a custody decision.

What is parenting time?

Parenting time refers to the plan that outlines where a child will live and when he or she will be with either parent. The parenting time does not necessarily have to be equal to the custody agreement.

For example, parents may be awarded joint custody but a child may live primarily with one parent and stay with the other on weekends. Similarly, even when sole custody is awarded, the non-custodial parent may have some parenting time depending upon the circumstances.

Fair treatment for mothers and fathers

Illinois' preference for joint custody is a way to maintain a child's relationship with both parents as that is generally seen to be truly in a child's best interests. This also helps to preserve both mothers' and fathers' rights equally.

If you are getting divorced and concerned about the custody and parenting time agreements for your children, it is important that you work with a lawyer experienced in this area. This is the best way that you can ensure the proper consideration for all aspects of such decisions.

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