Parents in Illinois might wonder what the best custody arrangement is for their children. Studies show that the most beneficial arrangement for children in most cases is joint custody. However, parents may not pursue this arrangement because of common misconceptions.

Parents might believe that children’s lives will be needlessly disrupted by having to go back and forth between their parents’ homes. However, in interviews, children have expressed a desire for this arrangement over not being able to see both parents frequently. Even parents who would consider joint custody for older children might be concerned that infants may be too young for the kind of arrangement. Many people believe that infants form an exclusive bond with their mothers, but research shows that babies bond with both parents. Therefore, there can be joint custody even with toddlers and infants.

Another concern might be a high level of conflict. Parents may think this precludes a successful joint custody arrangement, but according to research, even in situations where joint custody is mandated, parents have less conflict and children adjust better. Children’s strong relationships with both parents can help protect them against the negative effects of their parents’ conflict.

Parents may be able to work with their attorneys to negotiate a child custody agreement. After the divorce, they might want to make a plan to only talk over text or email and to keep communication focused only on their children. If there is a change in one parent’s circumstances, such as needing to move away for work, parents may return to court for a modification of the custody agreement if necessary. Child support agreements may also be modified in court if the parent has a good reason such as job loss.