Breaking up a household is always a difficult choice and an arduous process. It can seem like all the worst things that can happen in life are happening all at once. Although spouses and ex-spouses can appreciate this, divorce and separation are perhaps most difficult on children.
Children of a divorcing couple occupy a strange place in the process. They have limited choices compared to adults in the process of divorce, although their well-being is one of the most common reasons that Illinois family courts will get involved in one.
The type of custody arrangement will affect much of the rest of a post-divorce childhood. A sole physical custody arrangement means that a child lives with one parent full-time, even if the other parent shares responsibilities and has visitation rights.
Children above the age of 14 may select which parent with which to live, although a judge may override this decision if she or he believes that the child's best interest is served otherwise.
Parents may assemble a parenting plan to dictate the specific terms of a custody arrangement for the sake of clarity and legal obligation. An attorney with experience in child custody and other divorce-related matters may be an advisable representative for parents facing these choices.
This plan may also account for changes in a child's life as she or he matures and alters views or needs. Daily decisions, as well as any potential emergencies, should be made with the child's best interests in mind and in accordance with a parenting plan.
Source: FindLaw, "Illinois Child Custody Law," accessed Oct. 26, 2017