Child custody disputes are often very contentious matters. Whether your custody dispute is part of your divorce case, or is a separate matter entirely, these issues can be quite complex. Parents often stress about the complications that may arise during a custody case. While each family law matter is different, there are important legal factors that impact each custody case. In particular, the type of custody granted in your case will affect both you and your child.
When most think about child custody, what they imagine is the definition of physical custody. Basically, physical custody describes the child’s primary living situation. That is, the custodial parent is the one with whom the child primarily lives. In some cases, parents share this responsibility. Such a custody arrangement is termed joint custody. Other times, one parent will receive physical custody, which is known as sole custody. In cases where sole custody is granted, the non-custodial parent is rarely completed removed from the child’s life. Usually, he or she will have visitation access to the child. This visitation may be supervised in some cases, or unsupervised in others.
The best interests of the child determine physical custody arrangements. Illinois law requires that all custody issues be settled by weighing the options against what is best for the child. The court prioritizes the child’s needs and interests before the parents’. A judge will not simply subjectively choose who they think is the better parent. Rather, the judge will determine what the child’s best interests are based on a number of factors defined by law. These factors include:
- The child’s relationship with each parent;
- The child’s and the parents’ mental and physical health;
- How the child has adjusted to their community;
- Any violence or threat of violence present in the case;
- The parents’ wishes for custody; and
- Other relevant factors.
Unlike physical custody, legal custody focuses on a parent’s decision-making authority. Legal custody refers to the power to make major life decisions for the child. These decisions usually relate to an area that will have a broad impact on the child’s life. Such decisions often relate to religious upbringing, education choices, and medical treatments. Often, parents will share legal custody, even when they do not share physical custody. As with physical custody, the exact arrangement of legal custody is determined by the best interests of the child.
Custody and Child Support
In custody cases, the non-custodial parent typically makes child support payments to the custodial parent. These payments are intended to provide for the child’s well-being and needs. State law provides complex guidelines for calculating child support payments. One of the factors included in those guidelines is how much time the child spends with each parent. This parenting time is set by the custody arrangement, and usually is defined by the number of overnight stays the child has with each parent.
Call Experienced Lombard Custody Lawyers
Are you facing a child custody dispute? Are you concerned that your custody arrangement is not in your child’s best interests? If so, contact the experienced attorneys at Fay, Farrow & Associates, P.C. We will work closely with you throughout the case, prioritizing your needs and goals. Contact us today to schedule a legal consultation.