Going through a divorce in Chicago is difficult under any circumstances, but divorces can become particularly contentious and complicated when the spouses getting divorced have minor children from the marriage. Rather than disagreeing solely about issues like spousal maintenance or the division of marital property, there is the looming issue of child custody.
It is important for parents to know that divorces do not have to be contentious and that there are many ways to handle challenging child custody cases in a way that ultimately is agreeable to all parties involved. At the same time, if it is impossible for parents to reach any kind of agreement, the best child custody lawyer in Chicago is here to help with your case and to advocate for your rights as a parent each step of the way.
If you are going through a divorce with minor children or are considering filing for divorce, the first thing to know is that the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) was amended so that courts no longer award child custody. However, this does not mean that courts cannot make decisions about how the parents make important decisions about the child’s welfare and upbringing or with whom the child will spend time. Rather, the terms have changed.
Instead of using the terms “child custody” and “visitation,” the IMDMA now refers to “parental responsibilities” and “parenting time.” Under the statute, parental responsibilities include both time spent with the child and making important decisions with respect to a child’s upbringing. You might think of the parental responsibilities as including both legal custody and physical custody, as well as visitation. Generally speaking, courts need to make a decision about:
The statute defines significant decision-making responsibilities as those that impact the child’s long-term well-being and do not necessarily have anything to do with responsibilities for caretaking functions or spending physical time with the child. Parenting time, differently, is defined in the statute as the time a parent spends caring for the child day-to-day and making more minor decisions in regards to his or her care.
Child custody, or parental responsibilities, are allocated in one of two ways:
If parents can come to a mutual agreement about how parental responsibilities, including both significant decision-making responsibilities and parenting time, will be allocated in a manner that is in the best interests of the child, the court does not need to allocate parental responsibilities. However, if the parents can not come to an agreement, then the court will make a decision about what is in the best interests of the child and will allocate parental responsibilities according to that standard.
Do you have questions about child custody or the allocation of parental responsibilities? A compassionate Chicago child custody attorney can assist you. Contact the Arami Law Office to get started on your case with an experienced advocate.
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