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Child custody basics in Illinois

A parent's relationship with his or her child is on the line when child custody disputes arise. This is why parents who are facing child custody concerns should understand what a parenting plan consists of and how it can be negotiated to their and their children's benefit. There are a lot of factors that must be taken into consideration in these matters, though, so individuals need to ensure they have a strong understanding of the legalities of child custody in Illinois.

Child custody refers to physical and legal custody of the child. Joint custody can also be agreed to or awarded, in which the parents share physical and legal custody of the child. One parent can also have sole physical and/or legal custody of the child. There are many child custody options in Illinois based on the best interests of the child. If one parent has sole custody of the child, the other parent will likely have visitation rights.

A parenting plan generally takes many factors into account. For example, it should contemplate if the continuity of the parent-child relationship is in the best interests of the child. It should also address the changing needs of the child as they grow and mature, and specify whether both parents have access to the child's official records. A parenting plan can also dictate how custodial parents make daily decisions while the child is with that particular parent. The parenting plan also includes how the child will spend their birthdays and other holidays, transportation arrangements, and when supervision is required. In addition, children over the age of 14 can decide which parent they want to live with, but the family law judge can override the decision if the judge thinks it is not in the child's best interest.

Parenting time is important for all children and parents, which is why it is beneficial to work out a child custody arrangement that is in the best interests of the child. Understanding the child custody process can help parents with that.

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