What are the child custody laws in Illinois?
In Illinois, child custody courts recognize “legal custody” for children. That means that the parent or guardian is legally able to make decisions for the child’s best interest. “Physical custody” refers to whom the child will be living with until they reach age 14 when they can make that decision on their own. A parent or guardian can have sole custody (one parent) or joint custody (both parents) and the details of each arrangement will be determined on a case-by-case basis.
Legally, at the age of 14, children can make a decision about who they prefer to live within a divorce or separation. The court can overrule their decision if they feel that it will endanger the child or it is not in their best interest.
During a divorce or separation, you will create a parenting plan that addresses the arrangements and needs of your child. This parenting plan will outline which parent has visitation rights on holidays, birthdays, special occasions, and vacations. It will also outline who is responsible for transportation arrangements, supervision when it is required, and other details regarding your individual needs.
It is important to remember that most decisions will depend on you, your spouse or partner, and the needs of your child, which can vary depending on their age and any special care that may be required.