Child Custody in Illinois: What You Need to Know

Going through a divorce can be an incredibly stressful, challenging, and lengthy ordeal on its own, but when children are involved, your concerns are likely to increase tenfold. If you and your spouse are unable to agree on how to move forward with the parenting of your children post-divorce, then it’s time to seek out legal assistance from a law firm that specializes in family law.

Physical and Legal Custodies
Physical and legal custody of the child may be awarded to one or both parents, depending on factors related to the best interest of the child standard. In Illinois, this standard is what dictates custody outcomes, as laid out by the Illinois General Assembly. While physical custody entails the right to have your children live with you, legal custody concerns your right to make decisions about aspects of your child’s upbringing, such as education and medical care.

Sole custody may be awarded if one parent is deemed unfit to care for the child, be that due to abuse, mental illness, or substance abuse. In such an extreme case, the other parent would have both sole legal and physical custody over the child. Often, joint custody is awarded when both parents live close to one another, are both fit to care for the child, and the child would like to split their time between the homes of both parents.

What Else Constitutes the Standard?
There are a number of factors that a judge will consider, which an Oswego family attorney will go over with you. These factors are all related to the needs of your child, and will affect the judge’s final ruling as to what is in the best interest of your child. Some these major factors, as presented by Fay, Farrow & Associates, include:

  • The wishes of your child. Custody decisions can rest upon your child’s feelings when it comes to which parent they’d prefer to live with, as well as the nature of their relationship with you.
  • Both your mental and physical health, and whether or not one parent is more competent to take on childcare than the other.
  • The threat of violence or abuse enacted against the child by a parent.

The above list is not exhaustive, of course, and the number and nature of factors taken into consideration by the judge may vary. However, understanding the nuances of family law and how they affect your situation is imperative, and the importance of hiring an experienced family law attorney will be paramount to your case.

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