Being a parent is an important responsibility and one that is protected in Illinois. There are certain ways that custody can be granted or denied according to the responsibility of the parent and the well-being of the child. Since custody is a major factor of divorce cases, it needs to be understood by any parent considering divorce.
There are two kinds of custody which can be granted. Sole custody is when one parent has legal and physical custody of the child. This single parent is responsible for all decisions regarding the upbringing of the child. Joint custody means that the two parents have equal responsibility for the child's welfare but it doesnt necessarily mean equal face time.
In determining custody, the judge will look at certain criteria to help decide what sort of custody is best, barring any prior agreement. The child's wishes are considered as to the parent they want to stay with, but this is contingent on their age, maturity and overall judgments. It is also dependent on the parent's wishes but that is not absolute either.
For example, if any family member is a sex offender, it will affect the custody agreement. Any instance of violence either between the adults or directed toward the child will influence the judge's decision. The more general physical and mental health of the parents is also considered when deciding who the child will live with the majority of the time.
There are certain environmental standards that are also reviewed by the divorce court. Becoming adjusted to home life is sometimes a challenge for younger children. A judge may think it is in the child's best interest to remain at the same school and in the same community. There are more things that will be reviewed when awarding custody, but even if custody isnt awarded to a parent, he or she should be entitled to reasonable visitation. Contact a skilled family law attorney in Naperville who can help prepare for a custody hearing.