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How child custody cases are decided

Judges in Illinois and throughout the country use a variety of factors when making a ruling in a child custody case. The top priority in any case is the best interest of the child. In most cases, both parents will be given equal access to a child assuming that they are both fit to do so. However, a final determination as to a child's best interest can only be made after reviewing the facts relevant to a given case.

Equal custody may not be possible in the event that the parents live far away from each other. A judge may also consider the ability of a parent to provide a stable home life in general, which may depend on his or her work schedule or ability to earn a steady paycheck. In some cases, one parent may win physical custody of a child.

The parent who does not have physical custody is generally given visitation rights. He or she may also be given the opportunity to take an active role in the child's upbringing. The noncustodial parent will generally be asked to pay child support to the one who does have physical custody. In rare cases, sole custody will be granted if the other parent is not fit to be a part of a child's life in any capacity.

Looking out for the best interest of the child may help to guide child custody talks. In most cases, this may mean that both parents have custody or visitation rights. An attorney may be able to help a parent obtain parental rights or obtain sole custody of a child. This might be done by showing evidence of a stable home life or by showing evidence that the other parent potentially poses a danger to the child.

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