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The Allocation of Parental Responsibilities in Illinois

Posted on in Child Custody

Lombard family law attorneysMost of us are familiar with at least the basic concept of child custody. In most instances, we realize that the phrase refers to making arrangements for raising a child or children following a divorce or breakup between the parents. While it is possible for non-parents to gain custody of a child, the vast majority of child custody disputes are between a child’s biological parents.

In 2016, sweeping reforms to the family law statutes in Illinois eliminated the official use of the phrase “child custody.” The amendments introduced new terminology that was intended to be less divisive and more cooperative. For many years, parents sought to “win” custody of their children, rather than working together to find the best possible parenting arrangement. Today, the legal concept of child custody in Illinois is known as the allocation of parental responsibilities.

Two Primary Components

According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, parental responsibilities are divided into two basic elements. The first element is significant decision-making authority. This authority is comparable to what used to be called “legal custody,” and refers to each parent’s responsibility for making important choices about the child’s life and upbringing. These decisions generally include but are not limited to:

  • Healthcare and medical-related concerns;
  • Educational matters, such as choice of school or tutors;
  • Religious training; and
  • Extracurricular activities, such as music lessons, sports, and clubs.

Divorcing or separating parents must decide how such authority will be shared. In some cases, one parent may assume all of the decision-making authority, while in others it may be shared equally. It is also possible for parents to divide the responsibility based on each parent’s strengths. For example, if one parent is a doctor, that parent may assume authority for medical decisions while the other parent handles other choices.

Parenting Time

The second primary element of parental responsibilities is parenting time. Parenting time is similar to what some people refer to as “physical custody” or “visitation.” Parents must determine how much parenting time they will each have and set up a parenting time schedule. Parenting time may be shared equally (or as close to equally as possible) or one parent may have substantially more parenting time than the other has.

It is important to remember that significant decision-making authority and parenting time are separate matters. A parent may have equal decision-making authority as the other but substantially less parenting time. Conversely, a parent with no decision-making responsibilities still has rights to reasonable parenting time in most cases.

Call Us for Help

If you are in the midst of a dispute regarding the allocation of parental responsibilities, contact an experienced Lombard family law attorney for help. Call 630-426-0196 for a confidential consultation at A. Traub & Associates today. We can provide the representation you need as you look to build a better future for yourself and your children.

 

Source:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs4.asp?DocName=075000050HPt%2E+VI&ActID=2086&ChapterID=59&SeqStart=8350000&SeqEnd=10200000

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