When a couple gets divorced, one of the most emotional areas of the divorce process can be the decision over child custody*. In years past, custody was often granted to the mother, with visitation to the father taking place every other weekend.
Today, however, experts know that a close relationship with both parents is extremely important to the well-being of the child, so custody arrangements are no longer so cut-and- dried.
If you are going through a divorce, here are some details you should know about child custody from your Hoffman Estates family lawyer.
What “Custody” Means in Illinois
In the state of Illinois, there are two major rights of custody:
- The personal care of the child. This is also commonly referred to as physical custody.
- The right to make decisions for the child. These decisions include such things as medical needs, education, religion, and other details that pertain to the child’s welfare. This is commonly referred to as legal custody.
In Illinois, as in most states, custody can be shared between the parents (joint custody) or it can be given to one parent (sole custody).
How Custody Decisions Are Made
Custody decisions are always based on the best interests of the child. If there is a question of custody, the court will look at a number of factors:
- The wishes of the parents
- The wishes of the child
- The mental and physical health of the parties involved
- Existing family relationships, including how the child interacts with parents and siblings
- Adjustments that must be made by the child
- Willingness on the part of both parents to encourage a close relationship between parent and child
Other factors, such as physical abuse and substance abuse, will also come into play. If the parents can come to an agreement on their own, the court has a right to approve that plan if it believes it serves the child well. Of course, if they cannot come to an agreement, the court has the right in this instance to make a decision that it believes is best for the child.
Call the Family Law Office in Hoffman Estates
Call Robert M. Kaplan Protect yourself and the interests of your children when going through a divorce by working with an experienced, knowledgeable family lawyer in Hoffman Estates. Call today for a consultation!
*In the state of Illinois the terms "child custody" and "visitation" are no longer formally used and are being replaced by "parenting time" and "parenting responsibilities".