Tag Archives: allocation of parental responsibilities

Why Parental Alienation Is Controversial in Family LawWhen arguing over the allocation of parental responsibilities, one parent may accuse the other of creating parental alienation. The concept, which is sometimes called parental alienation syndrome, is that one parent is encouraging the children to not have a relationship with the other parent for reasons that are illogical or selfish. Parental alienation can be viewed as a form of child abuse, and some parents have used the claim to gain greater or complete responsibility for the children. However, parental alienation is a controversial subject because an abusive parent could use it to gain access to their children.

Potential for Abuse

The professional psychology community is divided on parental alienation syndrome, including:

  • Whether it is a psychological condition:
  • How it can be identified and proven; and
  • How prevalent it is in parenting relationships.

These doubts lead some to believe that parental alienation should not be a major consideration in family courts. Parental alienation has helped decide parental responsibilities in real cases. In some cases, allegedly abusive parents have gained full child custody by accusing the other parent of unreasonably withholding the children. Critics of parental alienation claim that abusive parents are taking advantage of the concept to control their children and punish their co-parents.

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Why Parenting Time Is Different from VisitationThe terms “parenting time” and “visitation” are sometimes loosely interchanged with each other when discussing the allocation of parental responsibilities after a divorce or separation. When the children spend the majority of their time with one parent, the other parent may feel like they are seeing the children only during weekend visits. However, visitation is different from parenting time, both in legal definition and concept. Saying that your children visit you is demeaning to your relationship with them.

Legal Meaning

Illinois revised its Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act to replace the words “child custody” with “the allocation of parental responsibilities.” Parental responsibilities are made up of:

  • Decision-making, which is the right to decide important issues regarding the children; and 
  • Parenting time, which is the regularly scheduled time in which a parent is responsible for caring for the children.

The written agreement that divides these parental responsibilities is called the parenting plan. There is a separate section in the law for visitation, which is defined as the time spent between a child and a nonparent, such as a grandparent, stepparent, sibling, or other designated parties. Nonparents can petition for visitation with a child if they can prove that it is in the best interest of the child or the parent has unreasonably denied them visits.

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How Divorced Parents Can Help Their Misbehaving Teen

Divorce puts an emotional strain on the children in the family, which can affect their behavior. Teenage children can be particularly troublesome because they can be exposed to bad influences that could get them into serious trouble. In the worst scenarios, an emotionally distraught teen may become involved in criminal or dangerous activities. As a parent, you are responsible for protecting your children and teaching them the difference between right and wrong. You can utilize your parenting time and allocation of parental responsibilities to help your teen through this difficult period.

A Parent’s Role

Being a parent after a divorce means more than providing for the basic living needs of the children and making sure they are attending school. Parents have an irreplaceable role in their children’s emotional development by:

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Protecting Your Children from a Dangerous Co-ParentThe equal right to parental responsibilities after a divorce assumes that the children will be safe with both parents. Unfortunately, some divorced parents put their children in danger because of their personal behavior and lifestyle choices, such as substance abuse or frequent partying. It is your responsibility to protect your child if you have reason to believe that your co-parent is a threat to your children’s safety. You may need to file a court order to change the allocation of parental responsibilities. However, you must present evidence of your co-parent’s dangerous behavior.

Forms of Danger

It is not enough to say that your co-parent has a drinking problem or behaves recklessly. You must focus on how your co-parent’s actions are putting your children in danger. There are clear ways to connect your co-parent’s irresponsible behavior with his or her parenting ability, such as:

  • Abusive behavior due to substance abuse;
  • Putting your children in a dangerous situation, such as driving under the influence;
  • Exposing your children to harmful influences; or
  • Neglecting your children.

Presenting Evidence

You may discover your co-parent’s irresponsible behavior by talking to your children or noticing a change in their own behavior or appearance. However, you may need more evidence to prove that your co-parent is a danger to your children. Consider the following factors:

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Work Travel Can Interfere with Parenting TimeA parent’s work commitments can be an important factor when determining the allocation of parental responsibilities. To have a majority of the parenting time, you must show that you are consistently available to care for your children as a single parent. Work travel can affect your availability if it consistently requires you to be out of town. A parent with a heavy travel schedule may have difficulty receiving the share of parental responsibilities that he or she wants during a divorce.

Children’s Best Interest

Before arguing for a majority of the parental responsibilities, you should honestly assess whether you can fulfill that responsibility with your work travel requirements. The primary parent after a divorce is typically the one who is most available to care for the children. It may be necessary for your co-parent to have a majority of the parenting time if your work requires you to frequently stay overnight in another city. Parental responsibilities also include making decisions about how you care for your children. Ideally, your co-parent will consult you on major decisions regarding your children’s health and education. However, a court may give greater decision-making power to the parent who is more often with the children and able to act on those decisions.

Protecting Your Parental Rights

Traveling for work does not need to greatly diminish your parental responsibilities. Your travel schedule may include:

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Goostree Law Group

Goostree Law Group

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St. Charles, IL 60174

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Naperville IL 60563

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Wheaton, IL 60187

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Our Illinois divorce attorneys represent clients in Kane County, DuPage County, Kendall County and DeKalb County, including Geneva, Batavia, St.Charles, Wayne, Wasco, Elburn, Virgil, Lily Lake, Aurora, North Aurora, Elgin, South Elgin, Bartlett, Crystal Lake, Gilberts, Millcreek, Maple Park, Kaneville, LaFox, Yorkville, Oswego, Plano, Sugar Grove, Big Rock, Bristol, Newark, DeKalb, Sycamore, Naperville, Wheaton, West Chicago, Winfield, Warrenville, Downers Grove, Lombard, Oak Brook, Streamwood, Hoffman Estates, Barrington, South Barrington, Lake Barrington, Schaumburg, Big Grove, Boulder Hill, Bristol, Joliet, Kendall, Lisbon, Minooka, Montgomery, Plainfield, Sandwich, Yorkville and many other cities.

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