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Illinois has simplified child custody laws

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If a married pair of parents get divorced, there are many considerations to deal with before the process is over. Property must be split between the two, and any prenuptial agreements must be reviewed by the couple and their attorneys. No duty is more important, however, than ensuring the welfare of children.

Illinois has simplified its approach to child custody by adopting the Uniform Child Custody Act (UCCA), which helps guide complicated or interstate custody arrangements between parents. Guardians and extended family may often find their rights and responsibilities quite easily.

The Land of Lincoln also recognizes two major types of custody, which helps distinguish requirements for guardians. Legal custody refers to the right to make major decisions in a child's life, while physical custody deals more with the actual primary home of the child.

Sole custody is when one parent is responsible for the physical home, even if others have visitation rights or advise-and-consent abilities in a child's life. Joint custody often splits these rights and responsibilities between guardians, sometimes based on the desires and well-being of the child.

Children aged 14 or older are allowed under Illinois law to choose the parent or guardian with sole physical custody. A judge in family court may overturn this choice, but only in furtherance of a child's best interests.

Legal representatives are often key elements in creating, informing and enforcing child custody arrangements. Experienced advocates are often more familiar with how to demonstrate that the best interests of a child are being considered in these agreements.

Source: FindLaw, "Illinois Child Custody Laws," accessed Sep. 08, 2017

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