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Child custody and the child's best interest

The decision to stay or go can be a difficult one to make. However, once the Illinois parents make the decision that staying in an unhappy relationship is the wrong choice, it is time to take action. In addition to deciding who will retain which assets and liabilities, decisions regarding the children must be made. Child custody concerns are a critical part of the parents' separation or divorce.

In many instances, one parent is granted physical custody of the child. This is typically the parent that the child will live with on a regular basis. This is the individual who has been the primary caregiver of the child and who can and will provide a stable home environment. The other parent generally is granted extensive visitation rights.

In other instances, the parents share joint physical custody. In this case, the child spends approximately the same amount of time with each parent. Proponents of this arrangement suggest that this allows the child equal access to both parents. Others suggest that this arrangement creates a less stable environment because the child is constantly moving from one home to the other.

While the one parent may maintain physical custody, many times both parents are granted joint legal custody. This means that both parents have input into the child's education, health care and religious upbringing. This also gives both parents access to the child's school and medical records and the authority to make necessary decisions.

Sometimes the Illinois parents are able to reach a child custody agreement on their own. At other times, this agreement must be negotiated and possibly even decided by the courts. An experienced family law attorney can assist the individual in negotiating and achieving an agreement that is in the best interest of the child.

Source: family.findlaw.com, "Child Custody Basics", Accessed on Dec. 26, 2017

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