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Barrington parental responsibility lawyer

When parents decide to get divorced, the future of their child will be one of their primary concerns. No parent wants to give up time with his or her child, but when a couple splits up, changes to parent-child relationships are inevitable. During their divorce, parents should be sure to understand how Illinois law will affect decisions about the allocation of parental responsibilities.

What Is Parental Responsibility?

In 2016, the word “custody” was removed from Illinois family law and replaced with "allocation of parental responsibility." Another common term, “visitation,” was replaced with "parenting time." Parental responsibility includes the right to make decisions for a child, and it is usually shared by both parents in some capacity, unless one parent is seen as unfit. These decisions involve religion, education, medical care, and other important choices a parent makes for a child. 

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Arlington Heights divorce lawyer

While divorce is difficult on the adults involved, it can be especially traumatic for the children a divorcing couple shares. How you handle the divorce can have a lasting impact on your children’s lives.  

One of the biggest concerns parents have when getting a divorce is when they will see their children. In Illinois, there is no longer “custody.” Parental responsibilities are determined and parenting time is decided and maintained through a parenting plan. A parenting plan determines which parent the child spends time with and when. Other details such as school pickups, holidays, and extracurricular activities will also be covered in your parenting plan. 

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Posted on in Child Custody

Arlington Heights Divorce Attorney

Child custody, known as the allocation of parental responsibilities in Illinois, is one of the more complicated aspects of a divorce. Despite your opinion and feelings about your ex-spouse, you both still have the common ground of loving your children together. No one wants to feel like their children are taken away, or that they are being purposely kept from them. With the right parenting plan, you can create a schedule that benefits everyone. 

In recent years, Illinois has implemented changes to family law procedures regarding divorce and children. Along with the change from child custody to the allocation of parental responsibilities, the terms “sole” and “joint” custody are no longer used. Visitation is also an outdated term, and parenting time is now used in its place. 

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Schaumburg Divorce Attorneys

Enlisting children in extracurricular activities builds confidence and opens doors to different interests. Participating in music, sports, or clubs as a child can create lifelong skills and passions. 

A break in the family, such as a divorce, can make life feel uncertain for your children, and create conflicts between parents. Perhaps one parent thinks the violin lessons are going nowhere, or horseback riding lessons are too expensive, while the other disagrees.

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Arlington Heights family law attorney sole child custodyWhen parents break up, decisions about who children will live with can often lead to highly contentious disputes. While a court is more likely to recommend joint, or shared, child custody, it is not impossible for a parent to get sole custody in the right circumstances. 

Shared vs. Sole Custody

In Illinois, custody is referred to as allocation of parental responsibility. When a parent has sole custody, the child is his or her total responsibility, and the parent will have the right to make decisions about the child’s education, medical care, religious training, and extracurricular activities. The other parent may be granted visitation rights (known as parenting time under Illinois law). 

Shared custody means that both parents will share in making decisions about how the child is raised, and the child will typically divide his or her time between parents. This split is rarely 50/50, but even if one parent has the majority of the parenting time, the parents will share responsibility for the child’s upbringing.

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Creating a Parenting Plan in an Illinois Divorce

Barrington divorce lawyer parenting planDivorcing with children can be difficult. Their living arrangements will change drastically, and this change can be hard on them. Children thrive off of predictability and routine, which is why it is important that you establish a parenting plan prior to finalizing your divorce. Even if things are friendly now, and you and your spouse agree on the parenting situation, having a plan in writing can save you unwanted costs and headaches later.

How Will Parental Responsibility and Parenting Time Be Allocated?

One of the first things you need to determine in your parenting plan is how parental responsibility will be shared and parenting time will be divided between you and your ex-spouse. There are a few different types of parenting arrangements that are common:

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Determining a Parenting Time Schedule in Shared Parenting Situations

Schaumburg divorce attorney equal parenting timeIn today’s families, parents often function as equal partners when raising their children, and both mothers and fathers are highly involved in decision-making and day-to-day care. Close relationships with their parents are beneficial for children, and these relationships should continue even if parents decide to end their marriage through divorce. 

In recent years, the divorce laws in Illinois have been updated to reflect the nature of modern parenting. The presumption that one parent will have custody of children has been replaced with the allocation of parental responsibility between parents, and rather than granting temporary visitation for a non-custodial parent, each parent will have parenting time with their children. 

Some advocates are pushing for additional changes to the law that they believe would protect parents’ rights. Currently, the Illinois House of Representatives is considering a bill which would change divorce laws to presume that it is in children’s best interests to have equal amounts of parenting time with both parents.

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Schaumburg divorce attorney, parenting time, shared parenting law, allocation of parental responsibilities, child custodyWhen parents decide to divorce, the ensuing changes to their lives can be highly disruptive and stressful for the entire family. As children adjust to living in two separate households, it is important for both parents to be involved in their lives and provide them with the emotional support they need. Unfortunately, this can be difficult when one parent retains sole or primary custody of children.

Studies Show the Benefits of Equal Parenting Time

For many years, it was assumed that it was in children’s best interests to live primarily with one parent, and that dividing time between two households would cause them stress. However, a number of recent studies have found the opposite to be true. Researchers in Sweden found that children in shared parenting arrangements had less stress, fewer psychological problems, and better physical health than children who lived primarily with one parent.

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