Allocation of Parental Responsibilities in Illinois Divorce Cases

Posted on in Divorce

Nobody thinks of the end of a marriage when they get married, and even though the divorce rate in the United States is declining, divorce is still common. The Illinois Department of Public Health reported that 29,331 divorces were granted in the state of Illinois in 2016. Divorces are stressful and emotional, and they become more so when children are involved. When children are a part of divorce, they bring issues with them that need to be resolved, such as child custody, child support, and visitation.

Parental Responsibilities Instead of Custody

The state of Illinois no longer refers to custody of children. Since a new law was introduced in 2016, what used to be known as custody is now referred to as parental responsibilities, and the amount of time children spend with each parent is known as parenting time. Parental responsibility consists of significant decision-making for children, and there are four types of decision-making:

  • Education, including choosing schools and tutors.
  • Health, including decisions pertaining to the medical, dental, and psychological well-being of the child.
  • Religion.
  • Extracurricular activities.

Unless an agreement is submitted to the court that details the allocation of parental responsibilities, the court will determine which responsibilities are allocated to each parent. The law also states that there is no requirement to allocate any responsibilities to each parent.

Determining Allocation of Decision-Making Responsibilities

In the event that the parents cannot come to an agreement in determining parental responsibilities, the court will determine the responsibilities that each parent is accountable for. When making these determinations, the court looks at a number of factors, including:

  • The wishes of the child.
  • The child’s adjustment to his or her home, school and community.
  • The physical and mental health of the child and both parents.
  • The parents’ ability to cooperate, or the level of conflict between them.
  • The level of each parent’s past participation in parental responsibilities.
  • Any prior agreement between the parents involving parental responsibilities.
  • The wishes of the parents.
  • The child’s needs.
  • The distance between the parent’s homes, parents’ ability to transport the child to and from the homes, each person’s daily schedules and the parent’s ability to comply with the arrangement.
  • Each parent’s willingness and ability to encourage and facilitate a relationship between the child and the other parent.
  • The likability of abuse by either parent to the child.
  • Whether either parent is a sex offender.

Determining Allocation of Parenting Time

In determining how to allocate parenting time, the court looks at all of the factors involved in determining decision-making, as well as other factors that include:

  • The wishes of each parent seeking parenting time.
  • The amount of time each parent spend taking care of the child in the two years prior to when the petition for divorce was filed.
  • Whether a restriction on parenting time is appropriate.
  • The willingness and ability of each parent to place the needs of the child before their own.
  • The terms of a parent’s military family-care plan, if a parent is a member of the Armed Forces.

Contact a Warrenville Child Custody Attorney

If you are in the process of determining custody of your child in a divorce, a knowledgeable family law attorney can help you explore your options and determine the best plan of action. Contact the Law Offices of Nancy Kasko, LLC to learn how we can help guide you through the process. Call our Wheaton divorce lawyers at 630-836-8540 to schedule a consultation.