When a couple has a child, both parents know that they are responsible for that child's upbringing. Occasionally, these parents may no longer wish to raise the child together, and the relationship that they have with one another comes to an end. However, both still want to honor their obligations and responsibilities as a parent, which means that it will be necessary to come to an agreement as to how the child will be raised.
In Illinois, there are several issues that will need to be addressed when determining child custody matters. The parents may need to consider if one parent will be responsible for making the major decisions in the child's life (such as those related to religion or education), or whether both parents will be able to offer input when these decisions need to be made.
Even if one parent has sole custody, the other parent will still want to be able to spend some time with his or her child. This will require that the parents create a parenting plan or visitation schedule that gives the noncustodial parent this valuable time together. The parents will also need to determine how they want to handle holidays or other important days each year. If this is not addressed, it could create major problems in the future.
If the parents are unable to find an agreement that leaves both sides happy, it is possible that the court may be asked to decide the custody matter. Both parents will be allowed to present their case to the judge, who will decide the issue based on the best interests of the child.
The judge will use several factors when considering what he or she believes to be the best interests of the child. These factors can potentially include the bond that the child has with each of the parents, the impact that the decision would have on the child if he or she has to move to a new home or school, the wishes of the child and also the ability of the parent to ensure a stable environment for the child.
Once these conditions are examined, the judge will issue a ruling. This decision must be followed by both parties, even if the order does not reflect their needs and wishes. These orders can only be modified if there is a significant change in circumstances between the parties.
This can be a difficult time for any parent. If you have questions about a custody issue or the modification of an existing order, contact an experienced family law attorney to discuss your concerns. An attorney can help you get past some of the emotions of the case, and help you focus on the issues that are most important.
Once you have had the opportunity to learn more about the choices that are available in your situation, you will be able to understand what is best for your family. An attorney can help you to be able to remain involved in your child's life after the custody process has been completed.