The Law Offices of Brian A. Grady, P.C.
Attorney At Law

Itasca Bank & Trust Building
Second Floor
9 East Irving Park Road
Roselle, IL. 60172
Phone:(630) 351 - 4466
Fax: (630) 894 - 2528




When discussing a parent's rights to their child/children, the terms Joint Custody and Sole Custody are often used even though very few people have a clear understanding of their true meaning. Many people believe Joint Custody implies equal parenting time with the child/children, but this is not the case. Additionally, another misconception is that if one party has Sole Custody, the other parent is not allowing parenting time (visitation) with the child, which again is not the case. Further, joint custody does determine where the children will live on permanent basis. A child's residency is determined by naming one of the parties the Primary Custodian or Residential Custodian. That party retains physical custody of the minor child, while the other parent is provided parenting time (visitation) with the minor child.

In determining physical custody of a child, a court of law will consider the following relevant factors, in deciding what is in the child's best interests:

  1. the wishes of the child's parent or parents as to his custody;
  2. the wishes of the child as to his custodian;
  3. the interaction and interrelationship of the child with his parent or parents, his siblings and any other person who may significantly affect the child's best interest;
  4. the child's adjustment as to his home, school and community;
  5. the mental and physical health of all individuals involved;
  6. the physical violence or threat of physical violence by the child's potential custodian, whether directed against the child or directed against another person;
  7. the occurrence of ongoing abuse whether directed against the child or directed against another person; and
  8. the willingness and ability of each parent to facilitate and encourage a close and continuing relationship between the other parent and the child.
750 ILCS 5 / 602

Joint Custody of a child/children requires both parents to cooperate in deciding the major issues affecting their children, including, but not limited to major medical needs, religious training, and education. The parties must be able to cooperate effectively and consistently in matters that directly affect the joint parenting of the child/children.

750 ILCS 5 / 602.1

The parties' inability to communicate on matters that do not directly relate to the joint parenting of the minor child shall not be considered. This means that if two people are unable to get along on all matters, but for their children, they still may be able to jointly parent their kids. The court shall further consider the best interests of the child (see above) and the residential circumstances of the parties. Obviously, if two parties are living in different states, it makes it more difficult (but not impossible) to jointly parent the child.

There is a common misconception that Joint Custody equates to equal parenting time. This is not the case and parenting time is determined by the parenting (visitation) schedule agreed upon by the parties or ordered by the Court.


When the parents of a child are unable to cooperate in matters directly relating to the major decisions in a child's life (i.e. religious training, education, and major medical issues), then Sole Custody is appropriate. Sole Custody designates one of the parties as the sole custodian, who decides the major issues in a child's life. Sole Custody does not mean that the other parent is not allowed to have parenting (visitation) with the child. This is a common misconception and is inaccurate. Additionally, both parties are entitled to medical, dental,, child care and school records, whether the designation is sole or joint custody. 750 ILCS 5 / 602.1