A Glossary of Custody Terms

 Posted on November 20, 2023 in Child Custody

Untitled---2023-11-20T125541.405.jpgMost people might think they have a basic understanding of what is involved in a divorce, but the vast majority are not familiar with what the most common divorce-related child custody terms mean. In general, if you have never experienced something yourself, you will be less familiar with it. The same goes for divorce and child custody matters. If you have never had a reason to gain an understanding of all the important factors in a divorce settlement where children are involved, the chances are you might lack some understanding of what all the terms mean. If you are a parent considering divorce for the first time and are not sure what all the terms mean, a Kane County, IL child custody lawyer can answer all your questions and help you represent your best interests with the knowledge and confidence you need.

Knowledge Is Power

It is safe to assume that newly engaged couples setting out to get married are not typically thinking about how they would split their assets in the event of a hypothetical divorce. Even so, prenuptial agreements and even postnuptial agreements are a way for married couples to plan for something they hope will never happen. When you are young and healthy, you do not necessarily want to think about your eventual death. Nevertheless, many people draw up a will years before it would be relevant just to help make future planning that much easier. However, there is no parallel document regarding child custody. Not only would it be unusual for new parents of a newborn baby to try to think about how they would arrange child care in the event of a hypothetical divorce, but no document or agreement currently exists in US law for parents to plan how they would raise their shared children in such a case. 

That might help explain why some common child custody terms are foreign to people who have never been divorced before. That is why we want to offer you a glossary of terms that are important to understand before you set out on your divorce journey.

Parenting Plan

Commonly referred to as a custody agreement, this outlines how divorced parents will divide time with and responsibilities for their children. It includes information about who can make important decisions for their children and under what circumstances. In some cases, both parents need to agree with a decision that impacts their child, and that will be detailed in the parenting plan as well.

Parental Responsibilities

Commonly referred to as legal custody, parental responsibilities refer to parents’ decision-making rights for their children about a variety of issues. Depending on the divorce settlement, both parents can share parental responsibilities or if one parent is considered incapable, the other parent will be granted sole responsibilities.

Parenting Time

Commonly known in some states as visitation or custody, parenting time refers to how much time a parent is actually with their child. In the vast majority of Illinois divorce cases, parents both get some amount of parenting time in a divorce settlement. Decisions about parenting time ultimately depend on several issues including:

  • The child’s best interests and what they say they want.

  • The parents’ wishes and capabilities.

  • Any health factors (physical and mental) affecting the children or parents.

  • Geographic considerations.

Schedule a Free Consultation with a St. Charles, IL Family Law Attorney

If you are considering divorce and unsure of what all the issues in a divorce settlement entail, a Kane County, IL divorce lawyer can answer your questions and advocate for your rights with compassion and understanding. Call Goostree Law Group at 630-584-4800 today to schedule a free consultation.

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