Standard primary custody versus shared child custody plans

On behalf of Lake Toback Attorneys

When determining child custody cases during divorce proceedings, granting primary custody of children to one parent is quite often the standard. For couples in Illinois and across the country who can’t come to terms on a final child custody agreement, this standard may be applied to their cases. While granting primary custody to one spouse may make these cases easier and faster for courts to settle, it could hurt some families in the long run.

While granting primary custody certainly has its time and place, shared custody agreements are becoming more popular among divorcing spouses. If both parents have been equally involved and have close relationships with their children, awarding custody to only one spouse can be particularly difficult for children and parents to cope with after the divorce is finalized. This also leaves the non-custodial parent carrying the weight of child support payments as well.

Some may see the benefits — such as providing a more stable schedule for children — as making an agreement like this worthwhile. Others would argue that greatly reducing parenting time with one parent may be psychologically damaging to the children involved. Spouses who wish to have a child custody agreement that provides splitting time equally between each parent can certainly negotiate a plan that works for them.

Determining the best possible child custody arrangement for each individual family situation may take time, but it is worth taking that time to fully consider every possibility. No parent should feel rushed into a decision simply because one way is considered the standard in custody cases. Couples in Illinois who are faced with creating a child custody agreement do have the right to refuse the standard primary custody agreement in favor of a shared parenting plan, if they feel it would better provide for the needs of their family.

Source: The Huffington Post, “Timing, Money, and Parenting Within the Standard Possession Order“, John McElhenney, April 29, 2014

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Standard primary custody versus shared child custody plans