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What Are Parents’ Options for Sharing Custody of Children?

Posted on in Child Custody

Wheaton family lawyer for shared custody

While many couples are able to remain happily married from the date of their wedding until the death of one or both spouses, a significant percentage of marriages end in divorce. Many of these couples have children together, and during the divorce process, they will need to determine how custody of their children will be handled. Even though they will no longer be united together in a legal relationship, most divorced parents will still have to work together to make sure their children will be able to grow up and lead happy and healthy lives. By understanding what shared custody looks like, parents can prepare for the years to come and make sure they will be able to meet their children’s needs going forward.

Sharing Legal and Physical Custody in Illinois

In the majority of divorce cases, parents will both play an ongoing role in their children’s lives. Situations where one parent maintains sole custody of children are rare, although this may be appropriate in situations involving domestic violence or other cases where children’s physical or emotional well-being may be at risk. However, it is also relatively rare for custody to be divided exactly down the middle, with children spending equal amounts of time in each parent’s home and parents always collaborating to make decisions about how children will be raised. Most cases are somewhere in between these two extremes, and parents can craft a parenting plan that will make sure they both play a prominent role in their children’s lives. 

Family courts in Illinois encourage parents to cooperate as much as possible and focus on how they can work together to provide for their children’s best interests. As they work to create a joint parenting agreement, parents can come up with unique solutions crafted to fit their individual situations by addressing the following custody-related issues:

  • Decision-making responsibilities - What is commonly referred to as “legal custody” of children involves the right to decide on important issues related to how children will be raised. Depending on a family’s needs and how matters were handled while a couple was married, parents may agree that they will make certain decisions together, while one parent may be primarily responsible for other types of decisions.

  • Parenting time - A detailed schedule may be created to ensure that the parents and children fully understand when children will spend time with each parent. This time may include overnight stays at each parent’s home, as well as shorter visits with a parent at home, in a public place, or other locations. As part of this schedule, parents can address where children will live on regular days during the school year, during summer vacations, and other times when they are out of school, and on different holidays throughout the year. In most cases, parents will be able to agree on a schedule that ensures that they will both have a good amount of time with their children, that they will be able to meet children’s ongoing needs, and that they will be able to build and maintain positive parent-child relationships that last for a lifetime.

Contact Our Kane County Parenting Agreement Attorneys

While the major issues surrounding the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time are very important for parents to address, there are a variety of other issues that will need to be decided on. In an upcoming blog, we will look at some other issues that parents may need to address in a joint parenting agreement. If you have any questions about how to protect your parental rights during your divorce, contact our St. Charles child custody lawyers by calling 630-584-4800 and scheduling a free consultation.



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