When parents split up in Illinois, a family law court no longer awards one side custody of the children. Instead, the court allocates parental responsibilities. Therefore, it is important to understand what responsibilities the court allocates and how the court makes a decision on which parent should do what.
What Are Parental Responsibilities?
When the court allocates parental responsibilities it is deciding which parent should make certain decisions and which parent with whom the child should primarily live. Both parents will typically continue to have authority over day-to-day decisions; however, one parent will be given final decision making power if the parents cannot agree on something major. The most common types of major decisions are related to educational, extracurricular, and health care.
The parent with whom the child does not primarily live will have regular parenting time with the child. The allocation of parental responsibilities does not give one parent the right or ability to check up on the other parent to make sure he or she is doing everything “right." Instead, it is a way for the court to create a stable environment for the child and limit future conflicts over parenting issues.
How Does a Judge Make a Decision?
Under Illinois law, the judge has to make a decision that is in the child’s best interest. Often, judges will appoint evaluators or guardian ad litems to make recommendations to the court. The court wants the child to have continuity and to have strong healthy relationships with both parents.
Additionally, there may be a link between retaining possession of the family residence and being the parent with whom the child primarily lives. This makes sense because it allows the child to continue going to the same school and living life much the same way as he or she were used to living. This stability and continuity is best for the child’s development.
The judge will also take into consideration the type of environment each parent provides in his or her home. Exposing a child to drugs or other illegal activity will result in a parent losing parenting time, and possibly even his or her parental rights.
If you have questions about custody, parental responsibilities, or parenting time, please speak with a skilled DuPage County family law lawyer right away. Call Sullivan Taylor & Gumina, P.C. today at 630-665-7676 to schedule a consultation. Make sure you understand the best way to protect your rights and your family.