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A New Understanding of Child Custody and Visitation

 Posted on August 16, 2016 in Child Custody

Lombard family law attorneysAt the beginning of 2016, sweeping amendments to Illinois state law changed the terminology and application of child-related matters during divorce. Child custody became known as the allocation of parental responsibilities and visitation was renamed as parenting time. These changes are meant to reduce contention, preserve family bonds, and keep children at the center of divorce proceedings. Understand how this may affect your case, and how you can effectively navigate the process.

Allocation of Parental Responsibilities in Illinois

Under the new provisions, decision-making regarding where a child will go to school, what church they will attend, where the child will reside, if and when they should have certain medical or surgical procedures, and other important decisions are known as the allocation of parental responsibilities. It may be split equally among parents, or the most authority may go to the parent that has the greatest amount of parenting time. Alternatively, there are situations in which the parent with the least amount of parenting time will have the most decision-making power. Essentially, the circumstances are as varied as each individual family.

Parenting Time in Illinois

Parenting time is the amount of time that the child spends with each parent. This may be an arrangement that involves a weekly switch and an equal amount of time between parents, or it could be a variation in which the child spends their weeks with one parent and then weekends and most holidays with the other parent. Some parents even opt to keep the children in the family home and then the parents switch in and out to care for and spend time with the children. Again, the plans are as unique as the families that craft them.

How Parenting Time and Allocation of Parental Responsibilities Are Determined

Parents going through a divorce must first submit a parenting plan to the courts. If negotiated and decided upon between one another, parents can retain most of the control over the details of this plan. However, there are some stipulations, including the fact that parents must both agree that the plan is in the best interest of the child. Alternatively, if parents cannot agree, the courts will be left to decide what is in the best interest of the child. Certain factors are used in these situations, including:

  • Wishes, needs, and maturity of the child;
  • Wishes of each parent;
  • Child’s adjustment to community, school, and/or home;
  • Mental and physical health of all parties;
  • Distance between each parent’s residence;
  • Each parent’s prior participation in the child’s upbringing and daily life;
  • Level of conflict between the parents;
  • History of domestic violence or abuse within the home; and
  • Any other factors that the court may deem relevant.

Our Family Law Attorneys Can Help With Your Parenting Plan

Even when a divorce is amicable, parents can struggle to ensure that all provisions and details are considered in their parenting plan. Our experienced Lombard family law attorneys recognize that your family is unique and we will work with you to ensure that is reflected in your parenting plan. If necessary, we can also litigate in court to protect your child’s best interest. To learn more, contact A. Traub & Associates today for a confidential consultation.



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