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Child custody can either involve sole custody or joint custody in Illinois. In a situation of sole custody, one parent makes decisions on their own and the other parent only has visitation rights. In situations of joint custody, both parents have physical and legal custody rights. The courts will usually consider the best interests of the child when making any decisions related to custody.
The parent with majority custody of the child is usually the one who is entitled to receive child support payments from the non-custodial parent. These payments are designed to help cover expenses related to the costs of caring for a child such as food, clothing, and healthcare. The payments are determined by the court based on the child's needs and the parent's incomes following the guidelines of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (750 ILCS 5/505).
As part of the divorce or separation process, both parents will need to decide who will be responsible for paying shared expenses related to the care of the child. This can include medical expenses, extracurricular activities, school fees, travel, or any other costs that can be reasonably attributed to the child's upbringing. It is important to realize that these are separate from the child support payments.
If the parents choose to pursue a joint custody arrangement, both parents will have legal and physical custody rights. This means that both parents have an equal responsibility in making decisions related to the upbringing of the child in Illinois. Examples of these decisions include medical care, education, religious upbringing, extracurricular activities, and discipline. Both parents have the right to make decisions related to these topics, although the court may intervene if it believes that any decisions are not in the child's best interests.
The parenting plan outlines how equal or joint custody is shared between the two parents. It also includes details on how they will share the responsibility of taking care of the child. This plan must outline how parenting time and decision-making responsibilities are shared between the parents. This is often referred to as an allocation of parental responsibility plan, which is outlined in Section 602.5 of the Illinois Compiled Statutes (750 ILCS 5/602.5).
Under the law of Illinois, the parent with who the child does not have primary physical custody is entitled to reasonable visitation rights. This can be as frequently or infrequently as the parents wish as long as it does not interfere with the child's best interests. The court will usually also consider the child's wishes if they are old enough to express them. There are also various types of visitation rights that the court can grant, such as monitored visitation, supervised visitation, and overnight visitation.
In some cases, the parents may wish to engage in mediation in order to reach an agreement on co-parenting related matters. Mediation is an informal and non-adversarial process in which both parties meet with a neutral third-party in order to work out their differences. A mediator will help facilitate an agreement between the parties, and the court will usually approve of any agreement that is reached in this way. Mediation is especially useful for child custody and child support matters. (750 ILCS 5/602.5)
Co-parenting in Illinois requires parents to have an understanding of the processes involved and the laws that will govern their situation. Custody, child support, co-parenting expenses, and parental rights are all issues that parents must consider, and a parenting plan should be established to spell out these details. Visitation rights should also be clearly outlined, and if necessary, mediation can assist parents in reaching a meaningful agreement. By understanding the different aspects of co-parenting in Illinois, parents can ensure that their situation is handled in a fair, honest, and responsible manner.
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Warning: This post is neither financial, health, legal, or personal advice nor a substitute for the advice offered by a professional. These are serious matters, and the help of a professional is recommended as it can impact your future.