In Illinois, as well as everywhere else across the United States, divorce, or dissolution of marriage, does not mean that parents are no longer responsible for their children. When the parents file for divorce, the court will consider the matter of custody, including the possibility of joint custody. Joint custody means that both parents will have an equal say in raising the child or children. The parents will make all major decisions jointly, including the child’s schooling, upbringing and religious education.
While considering the best interest of the child, the court will ask the parents to present a joint parenting agreement. The parenting agreement will focus on specific areas, such as the child’s education, health and religious education. The parents will also outline a procedure in the event that there are proposed changes in the plan. If there are any disputes regarding any part of the child custody agreement, the parents will need to collaborate and make changes in the child custody agreement. That will need to be clearly outlined.
The court may also decide to conduct an investigation to determine if joint child custody is actually in the best interest of the child. An Illinois court may order an investigation and, if necessary, may appoint a mediator to find out if joint custody is in the best interest of the child.
If the parents are unable to come up with a joint parenting agreement that works, the court will create a joint parenting order. In that case, the court will also determine if the parents are able to cooperate and make all decisions together. The court will consider all factors and decide if they are in the best interest of the child before a decision is made regarding joint custody.
Source: Illinois General Assembly, “(750 ILCS 5/) Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act,” Accessed on June 16, 2015