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Situations in Which Sole Custody May Be Granted to an Illinois Parent

Posted on in Child Custody

Arlington Heights family law attorney sole child custodyWhen parents break up, decisions about who children will live with can often lead to highly contentious disputes. While a court is more likely to recommend joint, or shared, child custody, it is not impossible for a parent to get sole custody in the right circumstances. 

Shared vs. Sole Custody

In Illinois, custody is referred to as allocation of parental responsibility. When a parent has sole custody, the child is his or her total responsibility, and the parent will have the right to make decisions about the child’s education, medical care, religious training, and extracurricular activities. The other parent may be granted visitation rights (known as parenting time under Illinois law). 

Shared custody means that both parents will share in making decisions about how the child is raised, and the child will typically divide his or her time between parents. This split is rarely 50/50, but even if one parent has the majority of the parenting time, the parents will share responsibility for the child’s upbringing.

When making decisions about parental responsibility, a family court judge will look at what is best for the child. If you are considering asking for sole custody of your child, think of your reasons why. Asking for sole custody should not be a way of seeking revenge or an attempt to hurt your ex-spouse. If your child has a loving, healthy relationship with his or her other parent, attempts to harm that relationship for your own selfish reasons will likely not lead to positive results for you in court. 

Here are some reasons a judge may grant sole custody:

  • Incarceration: Whether they are going through a divorce or not, a parent cannot properly take care of a child if he or she is in prison. A person in prison cannot give shelter, provide financial resources, or guide a child’s upbringing. It may be possible for an incarcerated parent to be granted parenting time after they are released, but a judge will likely grant sole custody to the other parent during the period of incarceration. 
  • Mental illness: A person’s mental health status and treatment plan may be considered when making decisions about custody. If a parent does not have the mental capacity to raise a child, or if the child is in danger when around the parent, sole custody will likely be granted to the other parent to protect the child. A parent will likely be required to provide proof of these circumstances when requesting sole custody. 
  • Abuse: A parent’s history of physical or sexual abuse of a child or a spouse are grounds to grant sole custody to the other parent as a means of keeping the child out of harm's way. 
  • Relocation: If one parent chooses to move out of state for work, to care for a family member, or for relationship reasons, this will likely affect decisions about child custody. In some cases, parents may still be able to share parental responsibility after one of them moves away, but in many cases involving large distances between homes, joint custody not plausible, and a judge may grant sole custody to one parent when making a decision about where a child will live.

Contact a Barrington Child Custody Lawyer

When parents split up, a custody agreement can protect their child’s rights and ensure that they are able to work together to be the best parents possible. However, there are some cases in which it is better if one parent handles the majority of the parental responsibilities and has more parenting time. If you are considering asking for full custody of your child during your divorce, our experienced Rolling Meadows family law attorneys can help you understand your rights and work with you to fight for your child’s best interests. Call our office at 847-995-9999 to schedule a free consultation.



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