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How Parental Responsibilities Are Allocated in an Illinois Divorce

Posted on in Child Custody

Kane County parental responsibilities attorneyGetting a divorce is not easy, especially when children are involved, and it is important to understand the decisions you and your spouse will need to make regarding your children. Prior to 2016, Illinois still used the terms physical custody, legal custody, and visitation when dealing with divorces that involved children. After substantial reforms to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act in 2016, there are now two major components that you must address if you have children and are seeking a divorce: parental responsibilities and parenting time. These changes were made in recognition of the way parenting actually happens in families. Rather than having one parent as the sole child-rearer, the law encourages parents to share parenting time and responsibilities. 

Legal Definitions of Parenting Time and Parental Responsibilities

According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (750 ILCS 5), there are specific definitions for both parenting time and parental responsibilities:

Parenting time refers to the time each parent spends with the child, during which they are responsible for performing caretaking functions, as well as making non-significant decisions pertaining to the child. Caretaking functions may include:

  • Providing food for the child

  • Maintaining a bedtime and wake up routine

  • Making sure the child is bathed and dressed appropriately

  • Caring for the child when they are injured

  • Teaching manners and providing discipline when necessary

  • Making sure the child attends school regularly and does their homework

  • Providing ethical and moral guidance

Having parental responsibilities means that you not only have the responsibility to take care of your child, but you also have the right to make significant decisions about your child, such as their education, their religious upbringing, and their healthcare.

Determining Factors for Parenting Time and Responsibilities

Courts use a certain set of criteria when looking at how parenting time and parental responsibilities will be allocated. Judges will consider:

  • Each parent’s wishes

  • The child’s wishes, within reason

  • How much time each parent spent caring for the child for the two years prior to the petition for divorce

  • Any prior agreements the parents had in regard to parenting responsibilities

  • The interaction and relationship of the child and their parents and siblings

  • How the child has adjusted to their school, community, and home

  • The physical, mental, and emotional health of all parties involved

  • Whether restrictions on parenting time are appropriate

  • Each parent’s willingness to put the child’s needs before their own and facilitate a loving relationship with the other parent

  • Any other factors the court deems relevant

Contact a St. Charles Divorce and Family Law Lawyer

As you work to reach a resolution on parenting time and parental responsibilities, it is essential to have a compassionate Kane County divorce attorney by your side. The team at Goostree Law Group can help you come to a mutually beneficial agreement with your ex, and if necessary, we will advocate for your interests in court. To set up a free initial consultation, call us at 630-584-4800.



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