When Illinois parents break off their marriage, there are two main options for them to look into regarding custody of their child. One type is known as joint custody, while the other is sole custody. Both can have their own benefits and drawbacks.
FindLaw defines sole custody as a situation in which one parent has the rights and physical custody of the child. The parent without custody will still have visitation rights. However, they won't be authorized to make certain important life decisions for the child. This includes choices regarding the religion they'll be raised with or the medical treatments they may receive. They may also have fewer chances to see their child, such as limited visitation schedules.
On the other hand, the Legal Dictionary defines joint custody as shared parenting, in which both parents have an equal share of responsibility for their child. There will still usually be one parent whose home the child spends the most time in. This is partially because moving too often between the parent's homes can be a detriment to the child. However, regardless of the frequency of visitations, both parents have an equal say in how their child will be raised.
Joint custody and sole custody serve different purposes. What works for one family might not work for the next. In the end, it's up to the parents to decide which arrangement will be best for their child by determining which wll provide them with the most support, love, and opportunities moving forward.