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What child-custody arrangements are available?

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Every family is unique. Every separation is different. Every parent-child relationship is distinct. The many permutations that accompany these variations call for flexibility in fashioning a child-custody arrangement. Fortunately, Illinois laws allow for just that.

Child custody can be arranged in whatever way works best. Parents can slice custody into physical and legal. They can share custody or give one person sole custody. They can split custody so that some kids live with one parent and the other lives with the other parent.

Let's start with physical custody. In most cases, parents, or the court, can decide on which parent the child will live and for how much of the time. If the time is relatively equal, it is known as joint custody. If the time is one-sided such that the child lives with one parent and occasionally visits with the other parent, it is known as sole custody.

But where the child will live is only one decision that needs to be made. How about which religion, if any, the child will follow? Or where the child will go to school? Or whether the child will receive an experimental surgery? The authority to make these decisions is known as legal custody. Like physical custody, legal custody can be allotted to a single parent or shared between the two.

When the relationship produces more than one child, another option is split custody where each parent is awarded custody over a child. But, while this option exists, courts generally dislike splitting up siblings.

To learn more about their custody options, Illinois parents may benefit from speaking with an experienced child-custody attorney.

Source: FindLaw, "Child Custody Basics," Accessed June 27, 2015

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