Parents in Illinois and elsewhere may ask for sole physical custody of their children after a divorce. This means that the child will live with one parent more than half of the time. One of the benefits of this arrangement is that it minimizes the potential interruption to a child’s life. As a general rule, the child gets to stay close to friends and remain in the same school.
This can provide a sense of stability in what may otherwise be a turbulent period in a young person’s life. Parents and children also avoid having to constantly bring clothes, books and other belongings to a separate house on a regular basis. However, this may not always be in a son or daughter’s best interest. While the noncustodial parent generally gets visitation rights, it may not feel like enough time for the parent and child to spend together.
In some cases, the noncustodial parent may feel like he or she is just visiting or as if the courts have decided that the other parent is better. Furthermore, the noncustodial parent may lack the authority or opportunity to provide boundaries and other aspects of a stable upbringing. There may be a period of adjustment that can be difficult for the child and the parent.
Parents who want custody of their children will generally need to prove that they can provide a stable environment. In many child custody cases, this means showing that they have a steady income and a home that is suitable for the child to live in. A judge might also ask for the child’s input depending on how old he or she is. An attorney may assist a parent in seeking either sole or joint custody of a child or other parental rights.