Many parents that are facing divorce worry about the impact the divorce will have on their children. Among the issues surrounding divorce, parents are particularly concerned about custody arrangements. Where a child will reside, how much visitation a parent will be granted, and who has the legal authority to make decision on behalf of a child are at all important considerations. There are various arrangements for the custody of your child in Illinois, but the decision largely boils down to what is in the best interest of the child.
Physical custody is where a child physically resides. If a parent has been granted physical custody, that parent has the right to have the child live with him or her. Sometimes both parents may be awarded physical custody in cases where they live relatively close to each other to reduce hardship on the child. If sole physical custody is awarded to one parent, the child will primarily live with that parent and establish a visitation schedule with the other.
Legal custody grants the legal authority to make decisions about a child’s education, health and general upbringing. The parent with legal custody can make decisions such as where the child will attend school, what religion the child will practice, and the medical care he of she will receive. Legal custody is often granted jointly, but sometimes a parent is awarded sole legal custody if it is in the best interest of the child.
Sole legal custody grants the right to make important life decisions on behalf of the children to one parent only. A judge may grant both legal and physical custody to one parent if it is in the best interest of the child. A parent that is absent, unwilling or unable to participate in making decisions on behalf of the child, emotionally, mentally or physically abusive, addicted to or abusing substances, or other negative issues may not receive physical or legal custody of the child.
Oftentimes, there are cases where sole physical custody may be awarded to one parent, while awarding joint legal custody to both. Despite awarding one parent sole physical custody, a robust visitation schedule may be ordered for the non-custodial parent. The award of physical and legal custody and the terms of visitation are derived from the unique circumstances of each family, with a deliberate focus on the best interest of the child.
If you have questions regarding child custody or visitation, contact the Family Law Offices of Schlesinger & Strauss, LLC. We can help you resolve issues regarding child custody and support, visitation, spousal maintenance and property division in divorce.