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Child Custody / Allocation of Parental Responsibility

Allocation of Parental Responsibility (Child Custody) in Illinois

What most people think of as child custody and visitation is now governed by the “Allocation of Parental Responsibilities” section of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act. Despite the change in language, the core issues to be determined remain the same. Parental responsibilities are divided into two categories: decision-making responsibility and parenting time.

The primary consideration for the court remains the same, too—the best interests of the child.

Decision-Making Responsibility

Allocation of decision-making responsibility addresses the same issues that would once have fallen under “legal custody”. This allocation will grant one or both parents the authority to make determinations about significant issues in the child’s life, including education, medical care, religion, and extracurricular activities.

In determining the best interests of the child with regard to decision-making responsibility, the court will consider:

  • The child’s wishes, though the weight of the child’s wishes will be determined in part by the child’s maturity and ability to articulate reasoned preferences;
  • The parents’ wishes;
  • The physical and psychological health of everyone involved;
  • The child’s adjustment to the current home and area, including school;
  • The ability of the parents to work together to make decisions in the best interests of the child; and
  • Distance and transportation issues, including the ability of the parents to cooperate.

Of course, the court will also take into account significant issues such as physical violence or threats of violence, domestic abuse, one parent attempting to damage the child’s relationship with the other parent, and either parent’s status as a sex offender. In addition to these listed factors, the court may take into account any other factor it considers relevant in determining the best interests of the child.

Day-to-Day Decision Making

Regardless of allocation of significant decision-making responsibilities, each parent will have the authority to make routine decisions during his or her parenting time, and also to make emergency decisions affecting the child’s health or safety during that time.

Allocation of Parenting Time

Rather than “custody” and “visitation,” current Illinois law refers simply to parenting time. Some of the factors determining parenting time are the same as those the court considers in deciding decision-making responsibility. These include the wishes of the parents and the child, the mental and physical health of everyone involved, the distance between residences and transportation/scheduling issues, the ability of the parents to cooperate, violence or abuse, and the child’s adjustment to his home and community.

In addition, the court will consider:

  • The willingness and ability of the parents to put the child’s needs before his or her own;
  • The extent to which each parent was responsible for caretaking responsibilities in the two years prior to filing of the petition;  and
  • The relationship of the child with the parents, siblings and others.

Again, the court may consider any factor relevant to the best interests of the child.

Get the Help You Need with Your Child Custody Case

We know how important your relationship with your children and the welfare of your family is. A divorce or other custody proceeding can be very stressful, even frightening. If you’re facing a legal allocation of parental responsibilities, having a knowledgeable, caring advocate at your side can make all the difference.

Call us today at 630-553-4567 or 630-897-5553 to learn more about how we can help.

Modification of Parental Responsibilities

Although the court order determining parental responsibilities is referred to as “final” or “permanent,” sometimes circumstances change that require a return to the courtroom. For example, one parent may wish to move out of state, or a change in job, medical condition or other circumstances may mean that the existing order is no longer in the best interests of the child.

If new developments make your existing custody order unworkable, or if you’ve received noticed that your child’s other parent is attempting to modify the allocation of parental responsibilities, we can help.

The initial consultation is free.

Child Support

When parental responsibilities are allocated, child support is generally also at issue.  In Illinois, both parents are responsible for the support of children until the child reaches the age of 18. However, support continues if a child under the age of 19 is still in high school.

Both parties incomes are relevant in determining child support. In addition, the amount of parenting time each party has is also relevant in determining child support.

Schedule a free consultation today to learn more about what you can expect and how we can help. Just call 630-553-4567 or 630-897-5553.