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Can you ever receive sole custody in an Illinois divorce?

Custody issues are often the most pressing concern for those divorcing in Illinois. State law refers to parental rights and responsibilities, but people use the term custody to refer to everything from parenting time to decision-making authority. 

Most divorcing couples in Illinois share custody at the end of their marriage, but sometimes that isn’t what happens. When can one parent have sole custody after a divorce in Illinois? 

When the courts believe it is in the best interests of the children

Although shared custody is often what is best for the children, no one rule applies to every family. If your ex has a history of physically abusing the children or abusing you in front of the children, the family courts may agree that giving them parenting time could endanger the children. 

The same could be true in situations involving neglect, mental health issues or a history of substance abuse. Even if your ex asks for custody, if you can show why that might be bad for your kids, the courts might side with you. 

When your ex doesn’t want to parent

Some people resent the obligations that come with parenthood and will happily rescind their rights to parenting time. You and your ex might be able to reach an uncontested sole custody arrangement if they don’t relish the idea of parenting your children every week. Unless one of those two circumstances applies to your family, fighting for full custody might end up wasting your resources or at worst hurting your claim for parenting time. 

Understanding the laws that apply to child custody in Illinois can lead to an easier divorce.

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