On behalf of Andrew Boyer PC posted on Thursday, November 1, 2012

Many of the processes that accompany a divorce, like those governing alimony and the division of

marital property, can be complex and stressful. However, child custody is often the most complicated and intense part of a divorce for many Illinois residents. Seemingly small differences in terminology can actually be extremely significant. As such, divorcing parents who understand the distinct parts of a child custody case can avoid much of the confusion and stress frequently associated with this process.

One of the most important differences for divorcing parents to understand is that between physical and legal custody. A parent with full legal child custody typically has complete control over major decisions in the child's upbringing, such as those relating to his or her education, religion and healthcare. Parents with joint legal custody must cooperate in order to come to an agreement on contentious issues. In some cases, parents may agree to joint custody with consultation rights. This means that both parties must discuss important issues together, but that one parent ultimately has final decision-making rights.

Conversely, physical custody is primarily concerned with a child's place of residence. Typical custody arrangements dictate that the child stay at the custodial parent's home for between 20 and 22 days each month, spending alternate weekends at the non-custodial parent's residence. However, more creative arrangements have become increasingly common, especially between divorced parents who agree on an arrangement in advance and then have it ratified by a judge. For instance, some parents agree to alternate weeks; others even arrange for their child to live in the marital home permanently while the parents alternate between spending time at the house and a personal apartment.

Non-custodial parents in Illinois whose former partners are unwilling to agree to new parenting arrangements may be able to modify their exiting child custody orders. Such individuals should speak with a qualified legal professional to learn more about this process.

Source: Huffington Post, " Custody And Its Different Components," Eyal Talassazan, Oct. 16, 2012