It can seem like there’s no end to the types of child custody and their rules. Joint custody, sole custody, physical custody, legal custody; what does it all mean, and how do you know what’s best for you and your children’s situation? Thankfully, there are legal professionals who can help you understand the intricacies of child custody in Illinois and assist with your side of a child custody agreement. Consult with the attorneys at Brave Law Center, P.C., when needing reliable advice and guidance on local child custody laws. Here are some of the basics for what you should know going into your child custody case to get you started.
The Types of Child Custody
You’re likely to hear several terms thrown around when describing what type of child custody is the most applicable to your situation. Here’s what you’re likely to be discussing and what each type means for you and your children:
- Sole Custody – If a parent has sole custody of a child, it means they are wholly responsible for the child’s care and any decisions made on their behalf. Another parent might be granted visitation rights; however, they have no legal say in their child’s upbringing without consent from the parent with sole custody.
- Joint Custody – Joint (or shared) custody is when children’s care and decision-making are split between both parents. Depending on the terms of a custody agreement, some decision-making can be left to one parent, while the child’s physical care can be divided between parents to varying degrees.
- Legal Custody – If discussing the legal custody of a child, this refers to the area of a custody agreement where you make decisions on your children’s behalf. Such decisions include education, religious instruction, health care providers, etc.
- Physical Custody – If legal custody involves the decision-making for a child, physical custody addresses the literal and physical care of children. A parent with physical custody of a child means the child primarily lives with one parent, with options for visitation or split living arrangements with the other parent.
How are Child Custody Cases Decided?
In Illinois, courts will always place the well-being of children above the final decision of parents. While younger children won’t be “literally” choosing the parent that should get custody rights, much of a custody arrangement considers your kids’ thoughts, feelings, health, and safety. Here are some of the primary factors an Illinois judge will look at when determining the best interests of a child:
- Wishes of the parents
- Wishes of the child (taking into account their age and maturity)
- The child’s needs
- The relationships a child shares with their parents and siblings
- How adjusted a child is in their current home, school and community
- The ability of the parents to cooperate in decision making
- Past decisions made for the sake of your child
- Any instances of abuse in the child’s current household
- Mental and physical health of child, parents and other siblings
- The temperament of the parents
- If either parent is a registered sex offender
- Logistical concerns (parents’ living arrangements, financial status, etc.)
- Additional factors a court might find relevant to a child’s best interests
Common Questions About Illinois Child Custody
As experienced family attorneys for Peoria, IL, Brave Law Center understands how confusing child custody can be. Ultimately, if you want all your questions answered, you can set up a consultation with one of our lawyers. However, here are some commonly asked questions about child custody that might help you in the short term:
- Does remarrying affect child custody terms? – No, your remarriage should not affect how your current child custody agreement is set up. However, this can change if the person you remarry poses any threat or danger to your child’s stability and well-being.
- Can child custody terms be adjusted? – Yes, but only under certain circumstances. Either both parents must agree to make changes, the child’s current living environment endangers their health and well-being, or at least two years have passed from the original custody order and an adjustment is necessary for a child’s best interests.
- Do Illinois courts lean in favor of one direction over another? – As long as domestic violence isn’t a concern, a judge will presume a child will benefit from the maximum involvement of both parents, with no leanings towards either parent. The only factors that affect a court’s decisions on child custody are the ones that involve the best interests of a child.
- How is child support determined? – In Illinois, child support is calculated using a formula based on a child custody arrangement and visitation rights. A Brave Law attorney can further detail how child support is figured out during your consultation.
Learn More About Child Custody by Calling Brave Law
While this blog contains enough information to help you understand the basics of child custody in Illinois, guidance from an experienced family attorney is crucial when negotiating custody terms with the other parent. If you need legal assistance for your child custody case, allow the Brave Law Center team to lend a hand. Contact us today at 309-685-7900 to schedule a free consultation. Also, we are located at 330 NE Perry Ave, Peoria, IL 61603.