Brian James, a divorce mediator in Chicago, answers:
If you and your soon-to-be ex are able to reach agreements regarding four major issues that affect your children–education, health, extracurriculars, and religion–then you should go with joint custody. If you disagree on any, some, or all of these aspects of child rearing, then you may need to consider sole custody on those issues. Just because one parent has always made the decisions does not mean he or she should automatically be granted sole custody; it depends on whether or not the two of you are able to reach agreements regarding your children.
Brian James is an experienced divorce and family mediator with offices throughout Chicagoland and Southeastern Wisconsin. He runs a mediation practice, C.E.L. and Associates. He can be reached at (312) 524-5829. View his Divorce Magazine profile.