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Joint Custody in Illinois

 Posted on December 00, 0000 in Divorce

joint custodyIllinois law directly acknowledges that neither separation nor divorce should affect either party’s parental rights or responsibilities, unless the court finds a good reason to do so.  However, the top priority for family courts in this state is to ensure that custody arrangements are in the best interest of the child or children involved.  In determining the best interest of the child, courts look to many different factors, such as:

  • The wishes of the parents;

  • The wishes of the child;

  • The nature of the child’s relationships with each parent and siblings;

  • The mental and physical health of each parent;

  • The child’s adjustment to new home or school environments;

  • The possible threat of abuse by a parent;

  • The parent’s willingness to encourage the child’s ongoing relationship with the other parent.

If parents cannot agree on a custody arrangement, the family court will order a custody evaluator to observe each parent with the child, perform interviews, and make a recommendation for a particular custody arrangement.

Joint Custody Arrangements

When possible, the courts like to award joint custody to preserve each parent’s rights and responsibilities, so long as this arrangement is in the best interest of the child.  Joint custody can refer to both legal custody and physical custody.  Legal custody means that a parent has the ability to be involved in decisions regarding the child’s medical needs, education, religious training, and general welfare.  Physical custody means that a parent physically and personally takes care of the child.

Many people mistakenly believe that joint custody arrangements require splitting physical custody an equal 50/50 between the parents, however that is not always the case.  Often, scheduling and school require one parent to have more physical time with the child than the other.  Parents should provide the court with a proposed scheduling plan by way of a Joint Parenting Agreement, and the court can approve the order if it finds it is, again, in the best interests of the child.  The court will consider factors such as the housing situation of each parent, each parent’s work schedules and ability to spend time with the child, and the parents’ abilities to communicate with one another regarding major child-related issues.  If the court ultimately awards joint custody, it will issue an order requiring each parent to follow the Joint Parenting Agreement.

Custody determinations can be complicated and it is therefore always important to have an experienced custody attorney helping you through the process.  Do not hesitate to contact A. Traub & Associates for help today.
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