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Child custody often a sticking point during divorce

Going through divorce in Illinois can be overwhelming from both a financial and emotional perspective. The emotional stress that comes with divorce can affect not only the adults but also any children they share. Proper legal guidance can help those involved to navigate the divorce process when dealing with matters that involve the children, such as child custody.

Physical custody, which refers to where a child will live, is the area in which a majority of disputes crop up. When two divorcing individuals in Illinois are pursuing primary physical custody of their children, a family law court will usually require them to take part in mediation. In addition, a psychological evaluation may be required, and/or a person known as a guardian ad litem might be appointed for the purpose of representing the children. In a divorce proceeding, property division issues are always considered secondary to child custody concerns.

Beginning in January of this year, courts in Illinois actually stopped using the terms of visitation and custody. Instead, they talk about allocating parenting time and parental responsibilities. These responsibilities include extra-curricular activities, education, health care and religion. The details about these responsibilities have to be included in a parenting plan.

Either parent may be awarded child custody in Illinois unless there is documented evidence of child endangerment or abuse. A joint physical custody arrangement, which is where a child resides equally with both parties, is also possible. The court's custody decision will ultimately be based on what is in the best interests of the children.

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