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Different child custody types in Illinois

During a divorce, the two separating parties must come to terms on several different topics. For parents, child custody is one of the most important decisions.

In order to make the best choice, it is important to be aware of your options. There are a few different types of custody to be aware of.

Joint custody vs. sole custody

Joint and sole custody are important terms to understand. When parents share joint custody, they both maintain equal parental rights after the divorce process. On the other hand, sole custody provides parental rights to only one parent. Courts tend to lean toward joint custody arrangements unless a parent is deemed harmful to the child or an unfit parent. Joint and sole custody may apply to either physical or legal custody or both.

Physical custody

Physical custody determines whom the child lives with. In the case of sole physical custody, the child lives with one parent and the other parent may receive visitation rights.

With joint physical custody, the child resides with both parents, usually for a split amount of time during the week or on weekends. In order for joint custody to work properly, parents must work together to create a proper parenting plan and stick to it. However, in certain special situations or on holidays, they may choose to make different arrangements. In those instances, both parents must agree to the deviance from the original arrangement.

Legal custody

Having legal custody grants parents the right to make decisions for the child beyond the physical. This includes a variety of topics:

  • Healthcare
  • Religion
  • Education
  • Extracurricular activities

Similar to joint physical custody, in the case of joint legal custody, parents must work together to make such decisions. However, if a parent gains sole legal custody, the other parent, or noncustodial parent, does not have to be included in such decisions. If the noncustodial parent still seeks to be in the child's life, this can be a strong issue.

Understanding the different types of custody can aid in determining the best choice for your situation. Should you choose to seek sole custody, it must be in the best interests of the child.

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