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A New Approach to Parental Responsibilities

 Posted on December 00, 0000 in Child Custody

parental responsibilities, child custody, Illinois family law attorneysWhile it does not occur in every case, it is certainly common enough. Following a divorce, separation, or breakup, many parents engage in a bitter battle over who will get custody of their children, and who will be relegated to visitation, often with reluctance on the part of the primary custodian. For many years, the laws in Illinois have provided the possibility of sole or joint custody, which parents too commonly saw as a content to be "won" or "lost." Starting next year, that will no longer be the case as the concept of child custody in the state of Illinois is getting a complete makeover.

Family Law Reform

The changes to child custody come as part of a sweeping measure that is drastically updating the state’s approach to divorce and family law in general. The law was passed earlier this year and was signed by the governor in July, paving the way for the updates to take effect on January 1, 2016.

New Wording

The most obvious part of the overhaul regarding custody is the elimination of the word custody altogether from the law. Over the years, sole and joint custody had been come be nearly synonymous with possession of the child, contrary to statutory intention. Going forward, parents who are not married to each other will be expected to work together regarding the allocation of parental responsibilities, rather than seeking custody. The difference is relatively simple: custody implies a focus on the parents and who gets what, while parental responsibilities shift that focus back to the child, what he or she needs, and how the parents will provide it.

Expected Cooperation

While the law has always promoted a cooperative spirit between parents and parties to a divorce, the new measure codifies the expectation. Parents in a proceeding for the allocation of parental responsibilities are required to submit a parenting plan that outlines each parent’s proposed duties and rights. Each parent may submit a separate plan or the two can work together to negotiate a joint plan, but the proposal must be comprehensive and contain specific considerations. A parenting plan must specify, among other things, a parenting time schedule, details regarding the child’s education, religious upbringing, medical care, and how disagreements between the parents will be settled. If an acceptable agreement cannot be reached or the parties fail to present one, the court may allocate parental responsibilities in accordance with what it finds to be the child’s best interests.

Let Us Help

As you might expect, there are countless factors that should be considered in developing a parenting plan, and an experienced Arlington Heights family law attorney can help. Contact A. Traub & Associates to schedule an appointment today, and get the assistance you need in building a better future for yourself and your children.


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