In Illinois, many married and unmarried parents have to address custody issues regarding their children. While this is likely a challenging issue to work through, it is also one that requires attention to details as the delicately work through any issues arising in the matter. Even when a couple does not longer work when it comes to a romantic relationship, they can work when it comes to co-parenting their child.
Child custody is broken down into two forms in the state of Illinois. The first is legal custody. This refers to the rights a parent has when it comes to making major life decisions for the child. This includes medical care, school, religion and other major decisions related to their upbringing. In some cases, sole legal custody is given to one parent; however, it a co-parenting relationship, this is commonly joint.
The other form is physical custody. This designates which parent the child resides with. In matters where the child resides with only one parent, this is known as sole custody. The other parent is then afforded visitation rights with the child. In many cases, joint custody is awarded. While this could look like 50-50, it could look like one parent having more time with the child.
Once a child reaches the age of 14, however, they have the ability to choose which parent to live with. Depending on the reasons given, a judge could still overrule this decision if the court determines that the decision of the child is not in their best interests.
When developing a parenting plan, it is important that certain factors are recognized. This includes assessing whether the continuity of the parent-child relationship is in the best interest of the child, the changing needs of the child as they grow and age, the custodial parent making daily decisions when the child is with them and the right of both parents having access to the official records of the child.
The ins and outs of a child custody matter can include a wide range of choices and decisions. This can complicate the matter or give rise to various emotions. Therefore, it is important to gain a full perspective of the situation, including what options a parent has during the process and after a final order is reached.