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What child custody options are available in Illinois?

One of the most significant issues when a couple shares a child in Illinois but is no longer together is child custody. Both parties might have a desire to have custody of the child, but might not have a full grasp on the different options available to them. In most cases, there is a choice between sole custody and joint custody. It is imperative to understand the difference between them and how the decision is made.

With sole custody, all of the major decisions when it comes to the care and welfare of the child will be made by one parent. Included in that is the child's schooling, the religion that is adhered to, how the child is cared for medically, dentally and optically, as well as numerous other issues that go into the well-being of the child. The other parent might not want this option, but if it is in the child's best interests, the court will move forward with it.

With joint custody, both parents must be willing to cooperate with one another for the sake of the child. The parents who have joint custody will work together when it comes to all major decisions about the child. The same issues that are listed above with sole custody will be part of the process when there is joint custody. The only exception is if there is a medical emergency and a decision must be made immediately. If there is no time for the parents to consult, then the parent that is available will make the decision. Apart from that, the parents must agree on major decisions with the child.

It must be remembered that joint custody and issues of parenting time are not connected. In general, one parent will have what is known as residential custody and will have the child living with him or her the bulk of the time. Parents who are concerned about child custody if they are not together as husband and wife or as a couple need to understand the difference between sole custody and joint custody. When there are concerns about this or a disagreement regarding which will be in effect, parents may want to consult with an attorney.

Source: cookcountycourt.org, "Child Custody Information," accessed Oct. 6, 2015

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