Child Custody

Allocation Of Parenting Responsibilities and Parenting Time

The end of a marriage is never easy, especially if children are involved. When a couple with children decides to divorce or legally separate, determining the allocation of parenting responsibilities and time with your child (or what was previously known as “child custody”), is often the most fraught issue. This legal process addresses how parental responsibilities are to be split between the two parties and establishes a parenting time schedule. The family law attorneys at Caesar & Bender, LLP understand what you are going through and know how to help.

New Illinois Law

As of 2016, Illinois law no longer uses the term “child custody.” Instead, courts now make decisions regarding “the allocation of responsibilities” and parenting time. This is meant to encourage more cooperation among parents. The phrases “sole custody” and “joint custody” are no longer applicable or used. The primary concern in any child custody case is still the best interest of the children. Under the new law, either one of the parents or both can be assigned decision-making responsibility in four major areas in a child’s life: healthcare, education, religion, and extracurricular activities. Additionally, a parenting time schedule will be established, with the spouses either sharing equal parenting time or with one parent having the majority of parenting time and the other parent having set blocks of parenting time.

Develop Your Parenting Plan

The parents, in what is called the “parenting plan,” set the decision-making responsibilities and parenting time schedule forth. The parenting plan is a document that outlines the parental responsibilities of each parent, as well as the parenting time schedule. The document must be entered within 18 months of service of the initial petition (either for dissolution or for allocation of parental responsibilities/parenting time). In an ideal world, if both parents reach an agreement, they can submit one parenting plan to the judge. If they cannot agree on a parenting plan, even after attending mediation, then the judge will conduct a hearing and make the official ruling on any points not agreed to by the parties. We can help you reach an agreement that works best for your family.

Schedule A Free Consultation

If you are considering a divorce or legal separation and have children, we highly encourage you to consult our experienced family attorneys. Michael Ian Bender, Molly Caesar, and the lawyers at Caesar & Bender, LLP understand that these issues affect your child today, and we can help ensure that the best possible outcome for you and your children is reached. Call our Chicago office at 312-815-6141 or send an email to schedule a free consultation.