During the course of a divorce in Illinois, courts must decide which parent will have primary possession of your children based on the children’s best interests. When making custody determination, the court typically considers the goals and wishes of both the parents and the children as much as reasonably possible.

If you are considering or pursuing divorce and had children during your marriage, the court will evaluate the relationship your child has with each of their parents, who has been your child’s primary caregiver, and if applicable their relationship with their siblings. Depending on your circumstances, the court may also look at the history of the marital relationship between you and your spouse, as well as the presence of any violence or abuse in the marriage.

Our firm has years of experience managing and negotiating child custody agreements in Joliet and all over Illinois, and our seasoned child custody lawyers could assist in developing an agreement that is best for you and your child’s interest.

Types of Child Custody

In a general sense, custody determines who will take care of a child after a divorce. There is, however, a distinction between physical custody and legal custody in Illinois. Physical custody involves management of living arrangements and daily child care; in other words, it determines who the child lives with on a regular basis. On the other hand, legal custody determines who will make decisions on the child’s behalf regarding education, religion, and healthcare.

Typically, courts award physical custody to one parent and legal custody to both parents. The latter scenario is also referred to as joint custody. If there is no joint physical custody, the court usually grants visitation rights, also known as “parenting time,” to the non-custodial parent. A parenting plan will define times of visitation, among other aspects of non-primary custody.

Visitation Plans

In many scenarios, formalizing a child custody agreement involves establishing visitation and parenting time schedules. As children take priority in these agreements, the court will base its decision on what it believes is best for the child in question, taking factors such as the child’s relationship with their parents and siblings, their primary caregiver, and the past history of their relationship with their parents.

Making a visitation plan often requires sincere negotiation and assistance from a skilled child custody attorney, as it is a joint effort by both parents to develop an agreeable schedule. A good visitation plan will consider the following:

  • The pickup and drop-off responsibilities for both parents
  • How you will manage unforeseen events
  • Management of physician appointments, after-school activities, sports, etc.
  • How and where your child or children will spend time on birthdays and holidays

If you or your spouse experience a significant change in circumstances, your original visitation plan may need to change as well. With the assistance of an attorney, you could petition the court for a modification to your visitation schedule, which the court may grant if it deems that the change is in the best interests of your child.

Talk to Our Firm’s Child Custody Attorneys Today

Negotiations over who should have custody and what visitation rights they should be granted can be extremely difficult. Our firm strives to negotiate these matters amicably, professionally, and in the best interest of all parties.

To speak with a dedicated child custody lawyer about your case in Joliet, call our office today to schedule a consultation and start learning what we could do for you.