Parents who choose to file for divorce in Illinois should come prepared to negotiate certain terms included in the divorce decree. In addition to property division and alimony, parents must decide what type of child custody best fits their family.
If you decide to have a traditional courtroom divorce, the judge presiding over the case will ultimately determine whether sole or joint custody is best. Yet, if you and your spouse choose to create your own divorce settlement through mediation, you may have more input on creating your own child custody arrangement and visitation schedule.
Joint custody arrangements include both joint physical custody and joint legal custody. Joint physical custody indicates that the child stays with both parents. You can work out a living and visitation schedule with your spouse so that your child spends a significant amount of time with each of you. You may also include other arrangements, such as:
- Driving time
- Meeting places
- Holiday schedules
Joint legal custody indicates that both parents have the ability to make critical decisions regarding the child’s life, such as religion, medical care and education.
Sole custody situations, on the other hand, involve one primary parent. In a sole physical custody agreement, the children live with one primary parent. The other parent has visitation on a set schedule. A judge grants sole legal custody when he or she orders that one parent is solely responsible for making decisions regarding the child’s welfare.
Since every situation has different circumstances that affect the parents and the children, it may be hard to determine whether sole custody or physical custody is the best choice for your family. A look at certain details may help you decide. These include:
- Is the child in school?
- Do the parents live within close range of one another?
- Are both parents mentally, financially, physically and emotionally able to care for the child?
- What type of job does each parent have?
Once you find the custody situation best suited for your household, you can develop a schedule that will be best for your child.