The main aim of Illinois child custody laws is to determine the best interests of the child and to follow them. When deciding custody, the court considers all essential factors for the particular divorce case, including the relationship within the family, the child's developmental prospects, and the parties' will to negotiate and communicate in order to maintain each parent's close contact with the child.
In general, there are two types of custody - physical and legal, which can be granted to either one (sole custody) or both parents (joint custody). Physical custody determines with which parent the child lives, and, therefore, who is responsible for everyday care.
Legal custody refers to the right to make important decisions concerning the child's life. Even if physical custody is given to one parent, legal custody may still be awarded to both parents. And the parent who is not the primary custodian is typically given visitation rights. The visitation schedule, as well as other parental rights and liabilities, may be decided and written up in the Parenting Agreement by the parties independently. If the court approves it, the document becomes enforceable.