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, one of the most challenging issues to resolve is the allocation of parenting responsibilities and parenting time, or what was previously known as “child custody.” This legal process addresses how parental responsibilities are to be split between the two parties and establishes a parenting time schedule. If you are going through a divorce and have children under the age of 18, it is important to consult an experienced child custody lawyer who can help you navigate this difficult process. 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. The idea behind this was to change the way “child custody” was viewed from something that one parent would win over the other to something that both parents would actively share and contribute to for the well-being of their children. The phrases “sole custody” and “joint custody” are no longer applicable nor used.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 decision-making responsibilities and parenting time schedule are set forth by the parents in what is called the parenting plan. The parenting plan is a document that outlines the parental responsibilities of each parent, as well as the parenting time schedule, and it 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 the sensitive nature of child custody issues and can help ensure that the best possible outcome for you and your children is reached. Call our Chicago office at 312-236-1500 or send an email to schedule a free consultation.