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Types of child custody awarded in Illinois

The determination of who gets custody of a child is a big undertaking when parents are going through a divorce. Part of this process is deciding if one parent or both parents will have decision-making power for major life decisions involving the child. Tthere are two types of custody that an Illinois court could order.

If sole custody is awarded, it means that only one parent has the right to make life decisions for the child. These decisions include where the child gets an education, the religion that the child will be taught and where the child will receive health care. Despite this, sole custody does not mean that the noncustodial parent does not get to spend time with the child. With this type of child custody, the child could live with the custodial and noncustodial parents for an equal amount of time.

The court could also award joint custody if the parents are able to cooperate when making decisions that directly affect their child. Joint custody allows both parents to make major decisions. When a medical emergency arises, one parent cannot make a decision about the child’s care without the other parent’s consent. As with sole custody, the child could live with both parents an equal amount of time. However, the child may also live with one parent more than the other.

Before an Illinois court decides on whether sole or joint custody is awarded, it considers the best interests of the child. If the child is old enough, the judge may hold a private interview to determine what the child wants. When the child wants to live with one parent over the other and the court determines that the parent is the best fit, it could award sole custody to that parent while granting the other visitation.

Source: Cook County Court, “Child Custody Information”, September 29, 2014