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If I Get Divorced in Illinois, How Is Custody of Children Decided?

 Posted on December 21,2018 in Divorce

DuPage County divorce child custody lawyerIf you are a parent who is considering ending your marriage through divorce, you probably have concerns about how you and your soon-to-be-ex-spouse will share responsibility for your children. Some couples are able to come to a custody decision together, while other divorcing couples require court intervention to arrive at a workable custody plan that protects parents’ rights and children’s best interests. If you are considering divorce, and you and your spouse share children, it is important for you to know the basics of child custody laws in Illinois.

Different Types of Custody

Illinois courts recognize two forms of custody: physical custody and legal custody. Together, the two concepts comprise what the law calls the “allocation of parental responsibilities.” Physical custody refers to which parent the child is with at any given time, and it is called “parenting time” in Illinois law. Legal custody is referred to as “significant decision-making responsibilities,” and it involves the right of a parent to be involved in major decisions about their child’s upbringing. Decision-making authority can be given to just one parent, or both parents can share responsibility for different areas identified by the law: education, healthcare, religion, and extracurricular activities. While most experts agree that children do better with both parents in their lives, a shared custody arrangement may not be appropriate for families with a history of abuse or neglect.

Factors Considered During Court-Ordered Child Custody Arrangements

If divorcing parents cannot come to an agreement regarding parenting time and parental responsibilities, then custody decisions will be made in court. A family court judge ultimately makes custody decisions for parents who cannot agree to a plan based on what he or she thinks is in the best interests of the child. When making these decisions, a family court judge will consider factors such as:

  • The age and gender of the child
  • The physical and mental health of each parent
  • Cultural and religious considerations
  • The benefits of stability in the child’s home life
  • Grandparent and extended family visitation
  • Special medical or health needs the child has
  • Household relationships
  • Education and schooling
  • Any history of domestic violence, excessive discipline, or drug/alcohol addiction
  • The requests of the child (in some cases)

When making custody decisions, the ultimate goal of any family law judge is to help the child or children be happy, healthy, and secure.

Contact a Will County Parental Responsibilities Attorney for Help

For help with any step in the divorce process, call the experienced DuPage County family law attorneys at The Foray Firm. We will work with you to create a workable custody arrangement, and if necessary, we will advocate for your children’s best interests in court. Call 312-702-1293 to schedule your completely confidential consultation today. 



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