There are many important factors to consider when it comes to a divorce. There are questions about homes, cars, bank accounts, bills, debts, and many other aspects of the marriage that need to be addressed—but one of the most important things to consider when finalizing a divorce is child custody. A Will County child custody lawyer could help you ask the right questions and understand the process.

Every marriage is different, and every child custody arrangement is different as well. However, there are some basic aspects of child custody that apply to most cases. Understanding some of those aspects with the help of a family attorney may help you prepare for the challenges that can be a part of child custody and related negotiations.

Types of Custody

There are two basic categories of custody: physical custody and legal custody. Physical custody determines which parent the child lives with during a given time, and legal custody determines which parent has the right to make important decisions regarding the child’s well-being. These decisions can include determinations about matters like medical care and education, though either parent can usually make emergency medical decisions on the child’s behalf.

Typically, courts prefer for parents to determine a child custody schedule that works best for them. When there are significant disagreements during the child custody negotiation process, courts may intervene and make a child custody determination based on the facts before them. However, parents have a much better understanding of an individual family’s needs and may be better served by working with their Will County child custody lawyers to find an agreement that works for everyone.

Best Interests of the Child

As with most states, Illinois courts make child custody determinations based on the best interests of the child. In Illinois, factors used by the courts to determine the best interests of the child can be found in 750 Illinois Compiled Statutes 5/602.5(c) and include:

  • The wishes of each parent
  • The child’s needs
  • The wishes of the child, when appropriate
  • The mental and physical health of all parties, including the child
  • The willingness and ability of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing relationship between the other parent and the child
  • The level of each parent’s participation in past significant decision-making with respect to the child

This is not a complete list, as the law instructs courts to consider all relevant factors when making determinations on child custody matters.

These factors can differ for every family, too. The needs of each child are unique, as is a custody arrangement that works for both parents. A Will County child custody lawyer could offer assistance determining what factors might be relevant regarding specific child custody issues.

Let a Will County Child Custody Attorney Assist You

There are few things in life as important as the well-being of your children, and ensuring you are focusing on their best interests can be essential. After all, when it comes to divorce, parents are not the only ones who face difficult choices and uncertain circumstances. In the same vein, working with a Will County child custody lawyer who understands how important the consequences of child custody decisions can be may also be important.

Just like every child is different and unique, so is every divorce. If you have questions and concerns about child custody and what divorce might mean for you, contact a child custody attorney in Will County for a consultation.