When dealing with legal issues related to the custody of children in a divorce case in the state of Illinois, you may come across some unfamiliar terms. After January 1, 2016, an update to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act went into effect which changed the language used in family law cases. In fact, the terms “custody” and “visitation” were removed from the law altogether.
Illinois law now refers to child custody as the allocation of parental responsibilities. This replaces the idea of legal custody in which one parent has the decision-making power when it comes to their child, and parents may now share in different areas of parental responsibility. These areas include healthcare, religion, and education, and these responsibilities can be allocated in a variety of ways. One parent can have all the decision-making rights, the responsibilities can be split however is appropriate, or both parents can have an equal say.
Another term that was changed in Illinois law is visitation. This typically refers to the time that a non-custodial parent has with their child. Now, this is referred to as parenting time, and it is used to describe the time that both parents spend in their parental duties as they care for their children.
During a divorce case, a parenting plan will be created that describes how parental responsibilities will be allocated. It will also specify the child’s weekly schedule, describe transportation arrangements, and determine how parents will divide holidays and school vacations. This plan is a court order that parents will be required to follow after their divorce.
A parenting plan is likely to work best if both parents can come to an agreement on how to divide or share parental responsibilities and create a workable parenting time schedule. If the parents are unable to resolve their differences, then the matter will need to be resolved in court. A judge will look at what is in the child’s best interests, and they will take a variety of factors into consideration, including:
- What the child wants
- The relationships a child shares with family members
- Where the parents live relative to each other
- Any history of abuse
- The parents’ history of decision-making for the child
- The health of the child and parents
Contact a Dupage County Family Law Attorney
When your child’s well-being is at stake, you will want an experienced Wheaton family law attorney by your side to advocate for your rights and your child’s best interests. Call our offices at 630-933-8400 to schedule a free consultation.