The issue of child custody can be the most pressing for parents facing divorce or separation. Some parents may be concerned because they were not as involved with their children as they would have like during the marriage. Others may worry whether they will have enough funds to support children on their own. If you are concerned about the fate of child custody arrangements in your situation, it may help you to know how Illinois family courts approach the subject.
The structure of a parenting plan
First, understand that it is a general philosophy of family courts across the nation to approach child custody arrangements with the child’s best interests in mind. As your parenting plan develops, it will likely consider the following:
- Ensuring continuity of the relationship between parent and child
- Arrangements for holidays and birthdays
- Arrangements for transportation
- That both parents are allowed access to official records of the child
The ideal parenting plan will also recognize that your child’s needs will differ as they mature and grow.
Who makes the decisions?
There are a few different ways decision-making may occur in an Illinois child custody arrangement. The state recognizes physical custody and legal custody. The parent with physical custody is the parent with whom the child lives. Legal custody, however, is in reference to parents’ rights to make big decisions in the child’s life.
Note also that in Illinois, in the case of a separation or divorce, a child who is 14 years or older may decide which parent they will live with. Though, their decision may be overruled by a judge.