Tag Archives: joint custody
Sole custody in Illinois is generally defined as one parent being the primary decision maker for the minor child or children on the areas of: medical, education and religion. If you have sole custody, you most likely have the authority to make important decisions pertaining to your child’s life without having to consult with or obtain permission from the other parent. Joint custody in Illinois, on the other hand, provides both parents with decision making authority. As such, joint custody requires communication, collaboration, and compromise.
There are many frequently used phrases that describe various child custody arrangements. Although they may explain underlying purposes, many are not legal terms recognized under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. Some popular child custody terms include:
Needless to say, it’s easy to see why so much confusion arises when discussing child custody. The State of Illinois legally recognizes two types of child custody arrangements: sole custody and joint custody.
If you are in the Cook County Court system and cannot agree with your spouse or the parent of your minor child(ren) regarding custody of the minor child(ren) and issues related to visitation and removal of the child(ren) from Illinois, you may be facing a long road ahead of you.
In cases where custody of a minor child is at issue, or parents cannot agree to visitation, or when as issue exists as to removal of a minor child from the state, Cook County Circuit Court Rule 13.4(e) requires parents to attend mediation. Mediation, which is a non-binding and confidential process, can take place with a private mediator whom the parties agree upon, or through Family Mediation Services, which is free of charge to the parties.
How do Illinois judges determine joint custody or sole custody?
Determining child custody is typically the most highly-contested and heated issue one will encounter, for obvious reasons. Litigants who are encountering divorce (or a parentage action) for the first time are typically without the requisite knowledge regarding the differences between joint legal custody and sole legal custody of a child.
Joint Custody is predicated on two parents working together to co-parent a child. A joint custodial relationship requires good communication between the parents and the ability to work together to make important decisions regarding the child. For example, decisions concerning the child’s health, education, and religion must be made jointly by the parents, taking the child’s best interests into consideration. A stipulation between parties as to joint custody will culminate in the entry of a joint parenting agreement, which outlines the respective rights and responsibilities of the parents when it comes to parenting their child. In the event the parties to a joint parenting agreement have a disagreement when it comes to decisions impacting the child, the joint parenting agreement will direct the parties to attempt to resolve the issue with a certified mediator, prior to returning to court. In the event the mediator is unable to resolve the issue with the parties, the last resort will be bringing the issue before a judge for adjudication.