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DuPage County family law attorneys, sole custodyJoint custody and sole custody are two terms that are commonly discussed during a divorce case when a child is involved. However, many parents are unaware of what each term entails and how each can impact visitation, decision making ability, and support following a divorce.

Joint Custody

The language within 750 ILCS 5/602.1 defines the terms of joint custody in Illinois. Joint custody means that both parents will share custody of the child, but it does not mean that the time spent with each parent must be equal.

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Posted on in Divorce

Under Illinois child custody law, the idea of custody encompasses two sets of rights: physical custody, which is the responsibility for the child’s personal care; and legal custody, which involves making major decisions about the child’s life. Custody can be shared by both parents, or vested only in one parent, depending on what a family law judge decides is best for the child.

For all court decisions relating to children, the central consideration is the best interests of the child. Many factors go into determining the best interests, including the wishes of the child, the wishes of the parents, the quality of the relationship of the child with her parents, siblings, or other close relatives, the child's level of adjustment to her home, community, and school, the mental and physical health of the child and parents, physical violence, threats, or other abuse by the parent, of the child or others, and the willingness of each parent to cooperate to allow for a relationship between the child and the other parent to continue and grow.

The default assumption for courts is that the involvement of both parents is best for the child, but this can be disproven if one parent raises valid concerns about the negative physical, mental, moral, or emotional impact of the other parent on the child. Based on their findings, a court will decide to either grant sole or joint custody over the child.

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