Understanding Differences Between Physical and Legal Custody in Illinois

Child Custody
Understanding Differences Between Physical and Legal Custody in Illinois

Understanding Differences Between Physical and Legal Custody in Illinois

If you are going through an Illinois divorce, you likely already know that one of the most disputed aspects of the process is deciding on child custody and visitation. Understandably, the thought of spending less time with your children because you are getting a divorce can be stressful. However, this is a necessary step as you and your ex prepare to part ways. Also, the courts prefer to award joint custody whenever possible because the system believes it is vital that children have a relationship with both parents. If you need assistance with child custody matters, let our Illinois child custody lawyers help.

At SAM LAW OFFICE LLC, we understand some of the terminology can be confusing. When you meet with us for your initial consultation, we will go over everything you need to know. One of the areas where parents can get confused is physical versus legal custody. Here is a look at the important differences.

What is Legal Custody in Illinois?

In Illinois, legal custody is called the allocation of parental responsibilities. Legal custody determines who has the authority to make legal decisions on behalf of your children. Decisions that most commonly fall under legal custody include educational choices, medical care, and religious practices. Parents with legal custody have to make vital decisions that affect the child’s welfare. In most cases, the court will award joint legal custody where it makes sense. This will give you and your ex the right to make decisions for your kids. If one parent proves to be unfit, then sole legal custody will apply.

What is Physical Custody in Illinois?

Physical custody is called parenting time in Illinois. It dictates where the child lives daily. If the court is left to decide, the judge will look at various situations and which scenarios provide the most stability and is in the best interest of your kids. If the court awards only sole physical custody to one parent, then the other might receive visitation. However, if the parent has a history of domestic violence, substance abuse, etc., the court may not award any visitation rights, either.

When both parents are granted physical custody, you have to determine an appropriate schedule that dictates how much time your children spend at each household. You and your ex need to come up with a parenting plan, which includes a parenting time schedule. Our Illinois child custody lawyers can help you draft a comprehensive arrangement with your ex. For the court to approve it, it should be detailed and contain information on vacations, holidays, school breaks, who will be responsible for transportation, etc.

Contact an Illinois Child Custody Lawyer

If you need assistance with reaching an agreement with your ex on child custody and parenting time, let our family law attorneys help. Contact SAM LAW OFFICE LLC today to schedule an initial consultation.





Providing Legal
Solutions In An
Equitable &
Cost-Effective Manner

Related Articles


Imagine this scenario: Someone's been working all day, juggling meetings, deadlines, and projects. It's finally time to leave the office and head home for the night. But as they get…


Divorce, by its very nature, is a challenging and emotionally draining process. It brings with it an array of uncertainties that can heighten anxiety and lead to depression. At SAM…


Understanding the intricacies of divorce proceedings can be challenging, especially when additional legal issues, such as a Driving Under the Influence (DUI) charge, come into play. This blog post sheds…

Need Our Help?

Schedule Your Free Consultation Today

Contact Us

Get Your Free Consultation!
  • 8 minus 4 =
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.