The Family Law Firm That Puts You First

Legal child custody and your children’s health

When Chicago parents split up, they must work out an allocation of parental responsibilities. Actually, they have to deal with two forms of custody: physical and legal.

Physical custody, or parenting time as it’s known in Illinois, is what most of us think about when we say “child custody”: where the kids will live. This is very important, of course, but so is legal custody, which is your right as a parent to make important decisions about raising your children.

The ‘other’ parental responsibility

Typically, courts grant legal custody to both parents, whether they are sharing parenting time or one parent is granted sole custody. Thus, most of the time (unless one parent is unfit or unavailable), divorced co-parents must work together to settle matters like their kids’ education, religious upbringing and healthcare.

When divorced parents can maintain a cordial relationship, they often agree on these issues, or else they are able to work out a compromise. But sometimes, the disagreement is too massive and neither side is able (or willing) to budge. Then the dispute might end up before a Family Court judge.

Typical sources of parental disputes

These fights can involve hot-button issues, such as vaccinations or private versus public schools. They can incite a lot of passion from both sides of a parental dispute. But while a legal fight is sometimes necessary for the children’s best interests, it is often expensive for the parents and painful for the kids. Thus, going to court should be a last resort when a disagreement must be resolved to make it possible to continue raising the children to be safe, healthy and well-rounded.