Child Custody Attorney By Me

Chicago Family Law Attorney Assisting Clients with Child Custody Cases

Child custody cases can be extremely contentious, and it is important to have an experienced Chicago child custody attorney on your side to advocate for you. At Arami Law Office, we have years of experience assisting clients throughout the Chicago area with many different kinds of child custody matters. While child custody proceedings can be antagonistic, they do not necessarily have to be this way. In fact, current Illinois law allows parents to develop what is known as a “parenting plan” in order to avoid having the court allocate parental responsibilities. This way, parents can feel as though they have an active role in the child custody process.

Understanding Illinois Child Custody Law

Illinois’s child custody laws changed relatively recently. The revised Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) does not use the term “child custody” any longer. That term has been replaced with the “allocation of parental responsibilities.” While the change is largely a semantic one, it seeks to clarify the importance of the parent-child relationship instead of focusing solely on the legal aspects of custody.

What is involved in the allocation of parental responsibilities? Do you remember how child custody used to be divided into legal custody and physical custody? Under the current law, parental responsibilities still look a lot like legal and physical custody. There are two general elements of parental responsibilities. The first involves making significant decisions about the child’s upbringing, which previously was described as legal custody. The second involves parenting time, or providing caretaking functions for the child, which previously was described as physical custody.

Under the new law, parents have the opportunity to develop a parenting plan in which they determine how parental responsibilities will be allocated. If the court signs off on the parenting plan, then it becomes a binding legal agreement. If the parents cannot agree to a parenting plan, however, then the court will allocate parental responsibilities according to what is in the best interests of the child.

Elements of a Parenting Plan

If a divorcing couple with children wants to develop a parenting plan, what do they need to make sure they put in it? The IMDMA states that a parenting plan must include, at a minimum, the following items:

  • Allocation of significant decision-making responsibilities (or, who will have legal custody, which can be shared jointly between the parents);
  • Provisions for parenting time, including the child’s living arrangements;
  • Medication provision in the event of a proposed reallocation of parenting time or reallocation of parental responsibilities;
  • Parents’ access to child’s records, including but not limited to: medical, dental, psychological, childcare, school, and extracurricular records or reports;
  • Which parent will have the majority of parenting time;
  • Child’s residential address for school enrollment;
  • Parents’ residential addresses, phone numbers, and places and contact numbers of employment;
  • Requirement for either parent changing residence information to prove notice to the other parent with at least 60 days notice;
  • Requirement that each parent notifies the other of significant child-related issues, including but not limited to: emergencies, healthcare, and travel plans;
  • Arrangement for transportation between the parents’ residences;
  • Provisions for communication with the child during the other parent’s parenting time (including electronic communication);
  • Provisions for resolving disputes;
  • Provisions for future modifications to parenting plan;
  • Provisions for the exercise of first refusal; and
  • Other provisions addressing the child’s best interests and the parents’ planned cooperation.

Contact a Child Custody Attorney By You

If you have questions about your child custody case or concerns about developing a parenting plan, a dedicated child custody attorney in Chicago can discuss your options with you today. Contact Arami Law Office today to learn more about how we can assist you.