Parents cannot deny one another child custody during a divorce, but courts have the power to do so. Judges typically aim to preserve the parent-child relationship on both sides, but this is not always possible. If parents cannot get along at all, courts seldom make joint custody orders, and one parent gets primary custody while the other gets visitation rights.
Physical vs. Legal Custody
There is an important difference between physical and legal custody. The latter has little to do with where a child lives after divorce; rather, it concerns whether a particular parent has the right to make certain decisions on a child’s behalf. The courts prefer parents to share decision-making rights if possible, resulting in joint legal custody. Physical custody is a reference to a child’s living arrangements after a divorce, and courts are reluctant to order it because it creates instability in a child’s life.
The Child’s Interests
When the court decides physical or legal custody, a judge’s decision focuses on the child’s interests. However, the judge must consider a variety of factors in each case. For instance, the primary caregiver is more likely to win primary physical custody, as is the parent who is more likely to encourage the child to have a relationship with the other parent. Judges can consider some factors more heavily than others, and the parent who comes out ahead usually receives physical custody.
The Child’s Wishes
Family law in Winnebago County, IL considers the child’s wishes when making custody determinations, but it is not a controlling factor. However, if parents are even as far as other factors are concerned, the child’s preferences may help the judge make a decision.
Factors Blocking Physical Custody
Some issues can make visitation and custody detrimental to a child, and these factors can take precedence over other factors. For instance, if a parent has a domestic violence conviction, they may lose custody. Alcohol and drug addiction can be a factor, as can attempted or threatened kidnappings. While public policies hold that both parents should have a relationship with the child, family law in Winnebago County, IL may mandate that visitations be supervised in some instances. Consult the law office of Crosby & Associates for more details or to schedule a consultation.
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