Every parent facing child custody concerns wants to know how child custody is determined where they live. It is helpful to know that child custody is always decided based on what is in the best interests of the child but parents should also understand how what is in the child’s best interest is determined.
Children over the age of 14 may decide in Illinois which parent they prefer to live with, however, if the family law court finds that the child’s preference is not in their best interests, they may overrule their selection. When child custody is determined, the family law court focuses on what is in the child’s bests interests with an understanding that the needs of the child may change as they grow. Additionally, the family law court recognizes that having continuity of the parent-child relationship is typically in the best interest of the child.
Child custody is typically divided into two categories including physical custody and legal custody. Both types of child custody can be joint or sole custody. Physical custody typically refers to which parent the child lives with and the other parent will commonly enjoy visitation with the child. Physical custody of the child may be joint custody, however, and the child will live with both parents and go back and forth between the homes of the parents. Legal custody refers to which parent will make important decisions for the child. Legal custody can be joint or sole as well.
Child custody arrangements can look different depending on each situation and is a process that is designed to provide flexibility to determine what is best for the child. The more parents understand the process, the better position they are in to help develop a child custody arrangement that is in the best interests of their child.