In 2016, the Illinois Legislature made a number of important changes to state law regarding child custody matters. For instance, courts were directed to begin dividing child custody issues into two categories — parenting time and parental decision making. Although parents are strongly encouraged to come up with a custody arrangement that reflects these changes on their own, many are unable to do so, in which case, a court will step in and divide parenting time and responsibility for decision making between the parties based on what would be in the child’s best interests.
While most courts presume that a parenting plan should reflect an equal division of these rights and obligations, such an arrangement is not always possible or in a child’s best interests. In an effort to ensure that your own child’s interests are protected during legal proceedings, you might wonder, “Do I need to contact a child custody lawyer by me for help?” The answer is yes.
Illinois divides child custody into two categories — parenting time and decision making responsibility. The former refers to the period of time that a child’s parent has the right and obligation to:
Illinois does not have a standard parenting time schedule, so families and courts are directed to come up with a schedule that serves the child’s best interests, and which is determined by assessing a number of factors, including:
Once these issues have been addressed, a child’s parents, (or a judge if the parents cannot come to an agreement), will create a parenting time schedule that accounts for timesharing during the school year, during vacations, and on holidays.
The second part of child custody proceeding is deciding how parental responsibilities will be allocated between a child’s parents. Illinois courts generally presume that an equal say in parental decision making is in a child’s best interests, particularly if the parents request this type of arrangement. However, it is also possible for a judge to name one parent as the child’s sole and primary legal custodian, which means that he or she would have the final sole right to make any major childrearing-related decisions about the child’s religion, education, healthcare, and extracurricular activities. The latter type of arrangement is used less and less often and will be reviewed on a case by case basis to determine whether the facts of the case warrant such an order.
For help with your own child custody-related matter, please call one of the dedicated child custody lawyers by me at Demetrios N. Dalmares & Associates, Ltd. You can also reach a member of our legal team by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org today.