Child Custody under the Uniform Child Custody Act (UCCA)
When individuals are going through divorce proceedings, there is usually a split achieved for property and financial assets, but one area of concern is how to approach matters of child custody. To simplify it, the State of Illinois has adopted the Uniform Child Custody Act (UCCA). It provides for a legal way to manage custody arrangements amongst parents, guardians and any extended family member looking to undertaking the responsibility of a child.
Because child-related matters can be complex and complicated, a skilled family law attorney can help navigate the process.
Types of Custody
Currently, there are two different types of custody parents or extended family members can seek during a separation or divorce. Physical custody provides for a home or living space for a child, while legal custody provides a parent or guardian the right to make decisions about a child’s life. In many states, sole custody or joint custody is attached to legal custody to provide both parents the ability to make major life decisions.
Determining the Type of Custody
Under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, there are a variety of issues to consider before either legal or physical custody, or sole or joint custody is granted to parents. Although it may depend on the preference of the child, factors such as the parent’s ability to provide quality education, health and home are carefully assessed. Because the mental and physical health of a child is important, the court considers any past physical or mental abuse by a parent and criminal records are run on both parents. Since the law intends to ensure a child receives a stable future, if there are strong reasons for a change or modification, custody arrangements will be reviewed in the future.
The Parenting Plan
Usually, a parenting plan should be provided to a judge before custody can be granted. Although children aged older than 14 have the right to choose the parent they wish to live with, it can be overruled if a judge determines the best interests of a child may not be met. A parenting plan will include how birthdays, holidays, transportation and supervision is arranged for the child, and how the best interests of a child are served with a change in needs as they grow. Both parents shall have access to all official child records and documents during the period of custody.
If you wish to learn more about child custody matters and other family law issues or want to schedule a free consultation, contact Law Office of Fedor Kozlov at 847-380-5193 to speak with an experienced divorce and family law attorney.