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Making Sense of Child Custody Terminology

 Posted on September 07, 2023 in Child Custody


Lombard, IL child custody lawyerDivorce is not something most people think about every day. When a baby is born, the parents generally do not think about how they would continue to care for her if they were to get divorced. In a prenuptial agreement, a couple can make a plan for how they might divide their assets if they end up divorcing later on. But there is no parallel document to plan future custody in the event of a future divorce. 

That is why the words describing this topic are not necessarily familiar to everyone. If you are a parent considering a divorce and are trying to make sense of all the custody possibilities, a Lombard, IL attorney can help guide you through the entire process.

What is a Parenting Plan?

Commonly known as a custody agreement, a parenting plan is an outline for divorcing parents that gives details about how they will split up their time with and responsibilities for their children. It shows who is allowed to make important decisions for their children in various situations, including times where there might be some decisions that need to be made by both parents. 

What are Parental Responsibilities?

Parental responsibilities” is the official term for what is commonly known as legal custody. It refers to a divorced parent’s right to make important decisions for their child. This can include decisions about where to go to school or what treatment course to follow if there is a medical development. 

Parental responsibilities can be shared by both parents, but in some cases, a parent can have sole responsibilities if the other parent is considered unable or unwilling. Even if that happens, the other parent can still have the ability to make certain decisions for the child under certain circumstances. The division of parental responsibilities would be listed in detail in the parenting plan.

What is Parenting Time?

Parenting time” is the official term for what is also commonly known as physical custody or visitation. It refers to the amount of time a parent is physically with their child. In the majority of cases, divorced parents in Illinois have some sort of a shared parenting agreement, regardless of the parental responsibility arrangement. 

The parenting plan will include a detailed list of who will be with the child and when. In rare cases, if one parent is harmful to the child or is not interested in any involvement, one parent could get sole custody of the child. 

There are many different ways two parents could share parenting time. There could be a Primary Residential Parent who has the child with them most of the time. The parents can also have an arrangement for equal parenting time.

Parenting time arrangements are decided based on several factors, including:

  •  The child’s wishes and needs

  • The parents’ wishes, needs, and abilities to fulfill the agreement

  • The family members’ mental and physical health

  • How close parents live to one another

  • How well parents get along

Contact a DuPage County, IL Family Law Attorney

If you are a parent considering divorce and are concerned about how your future parenting plan might look, an experienced Wheaton, IL divorce child custody lawyer at A. Traub & Associates can help you sort through everything. Call 630-426-0196 today.

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