As odd as it may seem, in Illinois there is no longer such as thing as sole or joint custody or visitation. It is not that the concepts do not exist. Of course, many children still live with one of their parents or they split time between two homes. However, at the beginning of 2016, Illinois drastically revised the nomenclature for these concepts.
Custody is Now Parental Responsibility
Before the revised Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, people thought of where the child lived and who had legal authority over making decisions for the child as custody. There was legal and physical custody as well as sole and joint custody. Now, the law and the courts refer to these issues as the allocation parental responsibilities. One parent may be allocated significant decision-making responsibilities or various decisions will be split between the parents. Additionally, responsibility in terms of parenting time must also be decided.
Visitation is now Parenting Time
Instead of the duel of custody and visitation, parents split parenting time. The percentage may sway heavily toward one parent, in a way that is similar to sole custody, or it may be fairly even, which resembles joint custody. The court will determine the amount of time each parent spends with the child instead of labeling someone a primary and secondary parent. Parenting time is not affected by decision-making responsibilities. A parent without significant decision-making power can still have a good deal of parenting time with his or her child.
What Remains the Same
No matter how the terminology changes, the court still makes decisions regarding parental responsibility and time based on the best interests of the child. To do this, the judge will consider factors such as the following:
- The wishes of the child, depending on his or her age and maturity;
- The amount of time and resources each parent has put into taking care of the child in the preceding two years;
- The relationship between each parent and the child;
- The interaction between the two parents and any other adult who may significantly affect the child’s interests;
- The mental and physical health of the parents; and
- Any adjustments a child must make in communities, schools, and homes.
Contact a Naperville Child Custody Lawyer
Whether you are getting a divorce or you and the other parent of your child were never married, it is always helpful to have a skilled DuPage County family law attorney guide you through the process of seeking parental responsibility and time. The best situations arise from parents who are able to work together in determining who will be responsible for their child and when. Yet sometimes parents cannot agree. In this case, it is best to head to court with an attorney who will fight for your rights as a parent and for what is best for your child.