In Illinois, the legal term for custody is parental responsibility. The court has a lot of discretion when it comes to assigning parental responsibility. The law gives guidelines, but it is really the judge who makes the final decision based on what he or she finds out during your court hearing. The judge does have to follow the law when it comes to the type of parental responsibility awarded.
According to Illinois Legal Aid, parental responsibility can be one of two types. The first is decision making power. This is where you have the right to make decisions regarding your child. This could include medical decisions or general decisions, such as where the child attends school. The other type is parenting time, which you may know as visitation. Parenting time is when you get to actually see the children and have physical custody of them.
The most common set up is where your children live with one of you and visits the other parent. The court may grant you both decision making powers even if you do not share equal parenting time. In some cases, the court decides that you will share parental responsibilities and your children will live equally with both of you. It often depends on what will work best for your family situation. The bottom line is always what is best for your child.
A judge makes sure that any decision made is something that will benefit the children the most because the focus should always be on them since they did not ask to be put in the situation where they have two parents living in different homes. This information is for education and is not legal advice.