Wheaton Family Law AttorneyIt is essential for parents going through divorce or separation to have a clear understanding of child custody laws. This will help them navigate the complex procedures involved. In this article, we will discuss the most prevalent forms of custody in Illinois, the factors that determine them, and both parents’ rights.

Common Types of Custody in Illinois

Child custody in Illinois is categorized into legal custody and physical custody. Legal custody refers to decision-making responsibilities, while physical custody involves the actual time spent with the child or parenting time.

Legal Custody

In Illinois, decision-making responsibility (previously known as legal custody) refers to important decisions regarding the child’s upbringing, including education, healthcare, and religion. Parents may agree to share these responsibilities and submit a joint proposed parenting plan to the court. If they can’t agree, they must attend mediation. If mediation fails, a judge will determine the allocation of these responsibilities, prioritizing the child’s best interests​.

Physical Custody

Parenting time or physical custody pertains to the duration a parent spends with their child, which involves residing with and engaging with them. The court determines the parenting time by considering the child’s welfare. A commonly implemented framework for parenting time is the “Model Parenting Time Schedule,” which typically includes time with the children every other weekend, one evening per week, and during certain holidays and school breaks. However, courts increasingly award 50/50 custody schedules that best serve the child’s interests​.

Determining Child Custody in Illinois

The determination of child custody in Illinois is multifaceted, involving several factors. In case of divorce, the court considers the parents’ and child’s wishes, the child’s needs, prior conduct and arrangements, the child’s adjustment to home, school, and community, and the mental and physical health of all parties involved. Any other relevant factors may also be considered​​.

In the case of unmarried parents, the mother initially has sole custody. If the father seeks custody or parenting time, he must establish paternity first. After establishing the parent-child relationship, the unmarried parent can petition for custody, just like married parents​​.

Rights of Mothers and Fathers

In Illinois, both mothers and fathers have equal legal custody rights. There is no legal presumption favoring one parent over the other. However, if the parents are unmarried, the father may need to establish paternity before seeking custody​.

Contact a Wheaton Child Custody Lawyer

Understanding child custody in Illinois involves knowing the difference between legal and physical custody, understanding how custody is determined, and being aware of the equal rights of both parents. Working with a knowledgeable Illinois family law attorney can help you understand your case more clearly. Call [[title]] at [[phone]] for a free consultation.




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