Parenting Time/Child Custody

Illinois Family Law Attorney Serving Clients with Parenting Time and Child Custody Cases in Chicago

Illinois law 750 ILCS 5/600) has changed when it comes to child custody. As you may know, Illinois no longer uses the terms “child custody” or “visitation.” Instead, the law has shifted to using the terms “parental responsibilities,” “significant decision-making responsibilities,” and “parenting time.” The new language emphasizes the importance of the relationship between the child and his or her parents, and it also highlights how a parent’s responsibilities and time with her children are not simply formulaic matters that apply uniformly to every case.

But what does the new law mean for child custody cases? We will provide you with basic information about decision-making responsibilities and parenting time. If you need assistance with a case, an experienced Chicago family law attorney can help.

Parenting Time and Caretaking Functions

Parenting time is similar to what we used to describe as physical custody or visitation. It involves providing caretaking functions for the child, which include but are not limited to:

  • Providing for child’s nutritional needs;
  • Directing child’s developmental needs;
  • Providing discipline;
  • Ensuring child’s attendance at school;
  • Ensuring child’s attendance at health care appointment;
  • Helping child to maintain relationships with peers and family members; and
  • Providing both moral and ethical guidance for the child.

Allocation of Parental Responsibilities Under Illinois Law

Generally speaking, “parental responsibilities” is a term that refers to both significant decision-making responsibilities for the child and parenting time. The allocation of parental responsibilities is similar to what we used to know as legal custody. The statute clarifies that parental responsibilities include important decision-making responsibilities concerning the child’s well-being and upbringing, including:

  • Education, including the school the child attends and his or her teachers;
  • Health care, including medical, dental, and psychological needs; and
  • Religion and religious upbringing.

Parental responsibilities can be allocated to one or both parents. Under the new laws, parental responsibilities can be more flexible. For example, one parent might make decisions about religion while the other parent makes decisions about education. In the same scenario, the parents can share decision-making responsibilities about the child’s health care needs. On another scenario, all important decision-making responsibilities may be allocated to only one parent.

When the court allocates parental responsibilities, it takes into account numerous factors, including but not limited to:

  • Wishes of the child;
  • Mental and physical health of the parties involved;
  • Child’s adjustment to his or her home, school, and community;
  • Ability of parents to cooperate;
  • Child’s needs; and
  • Wishes of the parents.

Allocation Judgments and Parenting Plans

There are two different ways in which parental responsibilities and parenting time can be allocated: through an allocation judgment from the court or through a court-approved parenting plan. When the parents work together to develop a mutually agreed upon parenting plan that is in writing, the court can approve it, turning it into a binding agreement.

When the parents cannot agree, the court will allocate parental responsibilities, including both significant decision-making responsibilities and parenting time. This becomes known as an allocation judgment, and it is binding on the parties, as well.

Contact a Chicago Family Law Attorney

Do you have questions about parental responsibilities and parenting time under the new Illinois law? An experienced Chicago parenting time lawyer can assist with your case. Contact Arami Law to learn more about the services we provide to families in the Chicago area.

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