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Child Custody Terms Defined

Child custody may be an extremely contentious factor in a divorce—and occasionally, the language which we use to define and discuss child custody arrangements also can be the topic of debate.

Physical and Legal Custody

The basic words are not overly controversial. ‘Legal custody’ can be defined as the right to make decisions concerning your youngster—things such as education (home-schooling, private, or public), medical/dental care (braces), and religious upbringing. The term ‘Physical custody’ will refer to the youngster’s physical presence in the home.

If you need help gaining custody of a child, contact us today at our Chicago joint custody lawyer’s office at (312) 884-1222 or fill out our easy contact form for a free consultation.

Sole and Joint Custody

The terms ‘joint’ and ‘sole’ may slightly be more complex. It is common for parents to share joint custody in order for them both to possess the legal right to have a say within decisions regarding the youngster. Unless the parents cannot get along whatsoever and each decision might be a battle, judges likely will award joint legal custody. However, as it looks as if joint legal custody might trigger conflict, a judge will award one spouse sole legal custody, or will occasionally designate one spouse as having a ‘tie-breaker’ vote if there is a disagreement.

The truth that two parents are not good at making decisions with one another does not mean that they do not both wish to play a substantial part in a youngster’s life. For the parent who is highly involved with a youngster, a ruling that the additional spouse receives sole legal custody may feel similar to a slap in the face. On the other hand, a spouse who does a good amount of the daily caretaking might feel as if a designation of joint legal custody won’t acknowledge that part.

While the words do possess legal significance, because a spouse who has sole legal custody might overrule the additional spouse’s wishes, the terms become irrelevant if your spouse and you work collectively to make the ideal decisions for your children.

As it will come to physical custody, some of the exact same problems may arise. Even if the youngster does not spend equal time with both parents, parents may share joint physical custody—joint physical custody merely means that the youngster spends substantial time with each parent. Oftentimes, a parent who spends less than 50% of the time with a youngster still will consider it critical that the legal designation be for joint custody.

However, if the youngster primarily lives with one parent, a court often will award that spouse sole physical custody, typically with ‘reasonable visitation’ to the additional spouse. A spouse with whom the youngster resides a majority of the time often is referred to as the ‘residential parent’ or ‘custodial parent.’

If you need help gaining custody of a child, contact us today at our Chicago joint custody lawyer’s office at (312) 884-1222 or fill out our easy contact form for a free consultation.




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Factors the Judge Might Consider when Determining Custody

Every state uses a ‘best interest of child’ standard within custody cases that are disputed. It’s a rather amorphous standard, and a standard which lends itself to judges’ subjective thoughts concerning what is best for kids. Though, there will include some factors you can expect a judge to take into account.

Age of children

Even though the ‘tender years’ doctrine has been out of fashion officially, a few judges still think that younger kids should reside with their mothers, particularly if she has been the main caregiver.

Parent’s living situation

Occasionally, the parent who remains in the family house is given custody of the kids because it permits the kids continuity and stability in their day-to-day lives. At times, the parent who has custody is given the family home, for that same reason. If you’re crashing over your friend’s basement as you get back on your feet, do not expect to gain main custody of the children. If you want to spend a substantial quantity of time with the kids, ensure your home situation reflects this. The proximity of your house to your partner’s also may factor in to a judge’s decision. The more nearby you are, the more likely a judge is going to order a time-sharing plan which provides both parents substantial time with the children. The locality of their school, as well as sports and social activities also may matter.

If you need gaining custody of a child, contact us today at our Chicago child custody lawyer’s office at (312) 884-1222.

Parent’s willingness to support the other spouse’s relationship with kids

A judge will check out your record of cooperating—or not— with a partner regarding the parenting schedule. A judge also might want to know things such as whether you bad-mouth your partner in front of the children or, in any way, interfere with visitation. The more cooperative individual will have an edge within a custody dispute—and an individual who obviously is attempting to alienate a youngster from the additional parent is going to learn the hard way that the court doesn’t look kindly upon this kind of interference.

Kid’s preferences

If kids are old enough—typically, older than twelve—the judge might speak with them to figure out their preferences about visitation and custody. A judge additionally might learn about the youngster’s preferences from the custody evaluator.

Stability and Continuity

As it will come to kids, a judge is big on the status quo, due to most of them believing that piling up more change on top of an already traumatic divorce usually is not good for children. Therefore, if you are arguing that things are working out fine, you have a leg up on a partner who is arguing for a big change in the visitation or custody schedule which already is in place.

Neglect or Abuse

If there is evidence that either spouse has neglected or abused the kids, the judge will restrict that spouse’s contact with the kids.

If you need gaining custody of a child, contact us today at our Chicago joint custody lawyer’s office at (312) 884-1222 or fill out our easy contact form for a free consultation.



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