Sole Custody Vs. Joint Custody (Allocation Of Parental Responsibilities)

Determining parental responsibility, or child custody, arrangements can be resolved simply or can easily become a contentious process. Parenting disputes are often hard fought by both parties. Obtaining the most favorable arrangement for you and your children requires the best possible representation.

At The Stogsdill Law Firm, P.C., our attorneys have decades of experience handling child custody and parental responsibility cases in Illinois. We fight for our clients' rights through negotiation, giving them peace of mind outside of the courtroom through mediation. If negotiations are not successful, however, we are strong advocates for your parenting matter in the courtroom, providing uncompromising litigation for challenging issues that matter to you and your family.

Previous Types Of Custody In Illinois

Prior to recent changes to the applicable laws, the state of Illinois maintained two types of legal custody, or the ability to make major decisions regarding the child. Thus, many parents and children may still be subject to orders of:

  • Joint Custody — When parents have joint custody, they both have the right to have input into major decisions in their child's life such as educational, religious and medical decisions. Joint custody does not mean that the child lives with each parent an equal amount of time. Physical custody of the child was negotiated in the Joint Parenting Agreement (JPA). Residential custody may be shared evenly or weighted more towards one parent over the other.
  • Sole Custody — Only one parent has decision-making authority when sole custody was granted. The other parent will typically still have reasonable visitation rights but is not considered the custodial parent. Therefore, that parent is not typically consulted when making decisions about the child.

Changes To The Law

Over the last several years, the state of Illinois has drastically changed its approach to child custody going forward. In fact, the word "custody" will not even be part of such orders. Instead, parental responsibilities are to be allocated between the parents in accordance with a negotiated parenting plan, outlining the significant decision-making authority of each party. Neither will be designated a custodial or noncustodial parent, rather each parent is expected to be an integral part of raising their child. Modifications to existing custody orders will also be made in accordance with the new guidelines, and we are prepared to help you modify your order to meet your families changing needs.

Court Considerations

When a negotiated parenting plan is not possible, the court must intervene and will always prioritize the best interests of the child(ren) involved. The court will consider a number of factors in judging where the child's best interests lie, including the wishes of both parents and the child(ren), provided the children are old enough to understand. Our attorneys have a long track record for effectively and successfully securing clients the allocated parental responsibilities they desire. We understand how important these issues are to families, and we are dedicated to satisfying our clients custody goals to the greatest extent possible.

If you are involved in a child custody or parental responsibility dispute as part of divorce or paternity/parentage proceedings, contact us at 630-462-9500 to schedule a consultation. We will listen to your objectives and discuss how we can assist you in achieving them. Our firm is located in Wheaton, Illinois, and we represent clients throughout northern Illinois, including DuPage County and the surrounding areas.