If you are getting divorced and have minor children, or if you are separating from your child’s other parent, it is extremely important to have an experienced Cook County child custody lawyer on your side to help with your case. A compassionate advocate at Arami Law Office can speak with you today about your child custody case.
As you may know, Illinois law no longer awards child custody or visitation to parents. Instead, courts allocate parental responsibilities. Recognizing the need for flexibility when it comes to the parent-child relationship while also acknowledging that a relationship with both parents often is in the best interests of the child, the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA) has started using terms of “parental responsibilities” and “parenting time.”
These changes are largely semantic, but they also allow for more flexibility in terms of certain parental responsibilities and the ways that parental responsibilities are divided.
Illinois courts used to use the terms “legal custody” and “physical custody.” Legal custody referred to the parent’s right to make important decisions about the child’s upbringing and long-term well-being, while physical custody referred to the amount of time that the parent spent with the child. Legal custody largely has been replaced by “parental responsibilities” and the specific term “significant decision-making responsibilities,” while physical custody has been replaced with the term “parenting time.”
Significant decision-making responsibilities might include, for example:
Parenting time involves “caretaking functions,” which include, for instance:
When parents can agree to parental responsibilities, they can enter into what is known as a “parenting plan.” This is a written agreement that allocates significant decision-making responsibilities and/or parenting time. As long as the court determines that the parenting plan is in the best interests of the child, it can become an official legal document.
When parents are unable to agree to terms in a parenting plan, however, the court will create what is known as an “allocation judgment” in which it allocates parental responsibilities. To be clear, a parenting plan can allow parents to have more of a say in how parental responsibilities are allocated and to play a significant role in child custody matters. However, if there is not a parenting plan, then the court will decide what is in the best interests of the child.
In both scenarios—whether the parents or the court makes the decision about parental responsibilities—the “best interests of the child” standard must be used.
Child custody cases in Illinois can be difficult and frustrating, but an experienced Cook County child custody attorney can help. Contact Arami Law Office to get started on your case with a dedicated advocate.
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