Although for most of us, it may seem like almost all aspects of our lives are on pause, the reality is that many parents will still need to resolve child custody issues, modify current orders, or renegotiate their parenting plans, regardless of the pandemic. Recognizing this, our team of experienced Plainfield child custody lawyers is working with clients and potential clients remotely, so if you want to schedule a phone or video conference with an attorney, please reach out to us today.
With the passage of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act in 2016, lawmakers directed family law courts to refrain from using the terms ‘custody’ and ‘visitation’ and to instead replace that terminology with a reference to the allocation of parenting time and responsibility. Intended to reduce conflict between parents during divorce, the law now states that parenting time and responsibility should be viewed as a spectrum rather than a decision with a clear winner and loser.
Parenting time refers to the amount of time that a child is able to spend in the physical care of each parent. When determining how to allocate parenting time, courts look to the child’s best interests, which includes an assessment of:
While every case is unique, courts often create a schedule in which each parent has time with the child on alternating weekends, holidays, and school vacations, and share a roughly equal number of days during the school week and summer break. If, however, a court finds that such an arrangement would be unworkable or not in a child’s best interests, it could award one parent the majority of parenting time and the other parent a larger portion of the summer holidays, in addition to alternating weekends. For help determining what type of child-care arrangement would be in your own child’s best interests, please call our office to learn more.
In addition to dividing physical time with a child, courts also split up parental decision-making responsibilities between parents. These decisions are divided into two groups:
The former refers to decisions regarding a child’s nutrition, bedtime and wake-up routines, physical hygiene, school attendance, extracurricular activities, and transportation needs. Caretaking functions are essentially the activities that make up our day-to-day lives. Significant decisions, on the other hand, involve major determinations about a child’s religion, education, medical care, and participation in extracurricular activities. Whether through an out-of-court agreement or an allocation judgment, responsibility for making these types of significant decisions will be shared by the parents or granted exclusively to one individual. Sole responsibility for caretaking functions, on the other hand, is given to the parent with physical custody of the child.
Please call Demetrios N. Dalmares & Associates, Ltd. to speak with a Plainfield child custody lawyer about coming up with your own parenting plan or litigating a custody-related issue in court.