As a parent, going through a divorce is difficult. You must juggle your children’s needs with the abrupt changes happening in your life.

According to the Illinois Compiled Statutes, the court attempts to divide parenting time according to the child’s best interest. See below to learn more about determining child custody and basic legal terms.

Legal custody

There are two categories of child custody. One is legal custody, and the other is residential custody. It is common for parents to share legal custody. This is the decision-making part of parenting. If you share legal custody with your ex-spouse, you both have a say in matters such as medical treatment, where your children go to school and what religion they practice. If you cannot agree on these critical issues, a judge will grant sole legal custody to the parent they deem most fit.

Residential custody

Residential custody refers to where the child spends most of their time. Courts are less likely to grant joint residential custody. Remember, the best interest of the child always comes first. So, if joint residential custody creates too much stress for the child, courts will designate one parent as the sole residential parent. However, parenting time might change as the child ages, so the initial residential arrangement is not always permanent.

You might have difficulty agreeing with your ex-spouse about many things, but your child’s well-being should not be one of them. Parents do not have the luxury of completely separating from their spouses because it takes both of you to provide for your children. Keep this in mind while you work on a child custody plan.

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