The Differences between Joint, Shared, and Split Custody
There are several ways in which child custody may be organized, and understanding the differences can enable parents to make the best choices for their children.Forms of Joint Custody
Most people are aware of joint custody—one parent has physical custody of his or her child for a majority of the time while the other parent pays child support and has visitation rights. However, a hybrid form of joint custody, called shared custody, is starting to gain popularity throughout the nation. Under shared custody, a child spends alternating blocks of time with each parent. The alternating block of time can be of any duration, but it is usually best in one or two-week periods. In most situations, a child spends approximately the same amount of time with each parent.
Like under the traditional joint custody, parents in shared custody situations jointly make important decisions regarding a child's education, religion, and health care. However, unlike traditional joint custody, shared custody requires each parent to care for the child with his or her own financial resources while the child is under their control, with the higher income parent paying some support to the lower income parent to help even the support available to the child.
- While shared custody allows for parents to develop closer relationships with their children than sole or joint custody does, there are several issues to consider:
- Under most circumstances, parents must live within the same school district;
- Infants are generally too young for shared custody to work well;
- Parents need to be able to cooperate; and
- The parents' work schedules must align so that a child can be cared for (such as when the child is out of school).
Another form of child custody is known as split custody, in which siblings are separated from each other. Typically under this form of custody, the male children go with the father and the female children with the mother. Still, the separation of the children can be in any manner the parents wish. It is important to note that courts generally do not like this arrangement. However, courts will recognize this form of child custody if the parents agree and there is a reason for the separation of the siblings. Siblings may be separated if they cannot get along or they are old enough and wish to remain with a specific parent.
Illinois Family Law Attorneys
The process of going through a divorce is a difficult time for all of those involved, but is especially difficult for children. As a result, making informed decisions regarding child custody is critical. If you would like more information about child custody, we encourage you to speak with an experienced Illinois family law attorney. At MKFM Law, we have the knowledge and understanding to help you through the difficult process of divorce. Call us today at 630-665-7300.