One of the biggest topics in family law is the issue of child custody. It’s fair to say that almost all parents unequivocally want the best for their children. Regardless of this fact, parents continue to have difficulties or inabilities to agree on important matters involving the well being of their children. When such instances arise that negatively affect the child, usually one parent will file for sole custody. There are very specific guidelines governing the issue of sole custody in Illinois. This blog post outlines the main parameters a judge takes into consideration when awarding custody. Child custody cases center around how well each parent can work alongside the other to achieve beneficial results for the child[ren]. Some things that are taken into account are: medical decisions, religion, education, extracurricular activities, the extended family and the child’s emotional and financial well being. If the parent’s viewpoints’ collide on the three major areas: medical, education and religion, sole custody is generally sought and awarded.
Can parents effectively co-parent when it pertains to making medical decisions? Are they able to agree on the same physician? Do they have the same views on medicine, vaccinations and treatment options? If not, and the judge feels one parent making the medical decisions would suit the child’s needs best, sole custody will typically be awarded.
Depending upon the child’s age this category may change. Educational decisions start right after a child becomes a few years old. It can be regarding early childhood development, preschool, elementary school, high school or foreign language schools. The choice of public, private, charter and boarding schools also arise. Education is clearly one of the most important decisions in a child’s life as it undeniably shapes the path for the rest of his or her life. If parents cannot agree on making joint educational decisions sole custody may be awarded.
With so many religions in the world: Buddhists, Catholics, Christians, Jews, Lutherans, Muslims, Protestants—each arguably containing different viewpoints it can be impossible to reasonably raise a child with such profound dissimilarities. This is not to say that if sole custody is awarded that the non-custodial parent’s religion will be shunned. Rather that all relative matters will be brought up in the child custody case to determine just how to assess conflicting religious views.
It is important to note that despite one parent being awarded sole custody in Illinois, BOTH parents can and should continue to be equally involved in their child’s life.