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joint custody, joint parenting agreement, Illinois Child Custody AgreementUnmarried or divorced parents generally share at least one common interest: the well-being of their children. Following a break up or divorce, however, the law requires arrangements regarding the children to be established and custody may be granted to one parent solely or to both parents under a joint custody order.

When parents are granted joint custody of child, each parent retains equal decision-making power related to the child. This means that parents will be expected to work together to provide for their child and to make decisions related to health care, education, religion, rules and discipline, and other practical considerations. When petitioning for joint custody, parents must demonstrate their commitment to such an arrangement by developing and presenting to the court a Joint Parenting Agreement, or JPA.

Joint Parenting Agreement

illinois-joint-parenting-agreementIllinois divorce attorneys have several tools in their arsenal to ensure the best outcome in a divorce that involves children. In Illinois, the guiding principle for such divorces is that any post-divorce custody arrangement must be in the best interest of the children. Determining the best interest is not as easy as it sounds, however.

Fortunately, with the help of their family law attorneys, the parties are often able to reach agreement that truly is in the best interest of the children. They will memorialize that agreement in writing in a document called a Joint Parenting Agreement (JPA). A judge will then review the JPA. Because the judge will scrutinize the JPA, an experienced family law attorney usually prepares it based on commonly accepted industry standards. The typical JPA will identify the parties who are seeking divorce and provide the children’s names, address and age.

The JPA will then specify the custody arrangements. For example, it will state whether the parties have joint legal and physical custody, or whether one parent has full legal custody and the other parent only has visitation rights.

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