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Understanding Parenting Time and Parental Responsibilities in Illinois

 Posted on June 09, 2023 in Divorce and Family Law

Wheaton Parenting Time LawyerIllinois legislation went into effect on January 1, 2016 that significantly changed the way the state addresses child custody and visitation. The new legislation created two separate categories of parental duties: parenting time and allocation of parental responsibilities (formerly known as legal custody in Illinois).

The change was implemented to reflect the fact that most divorced and unmarried parents share responsibility for their children. Instead of one parent being named the child's legal custodian and the other parent merely having visitation with the child, the new law encourages a joint approach to parenting.

Allocation of Parental Responsibilities

Parental responsibilities refer to how parents make decisions about a child. Illinois law specifically states that parental responsibilities refers to a parent's ability to make decisions about a child's:

  • Medical care

  • Education

  • Religious upbringing

  • Extra-curricular activities

These responsibilities can be divided between the two parents or shared jointly. In some cases, the parents will be expected to work together to decide what’s best for the child. In other cases, one parent may be given primary responsibility for certain decisions.

Parenting Time Schedule

Parenting time refers to when a child spends time with each parent. Parents are encouraged to negotiate a parenting time schedule that is best for their family. Generally speaking, a parenting time schedule should give the child frequent and continuing contact with both parents as well as provide a practical, workable schedule for the child. However, there are some situations in which it may be better for a child to have only limited contact with a parent.

Illinois courts have the authority to restrict a parent's parenting time if it is in the best interests of the child. This may be necessary if a parent has abused or neglected the child, poses a risk of harm, or is otherwise deemed to be a negative influence on the child.

Supervised visitation is one type of parenting time restriction that may be ordered by a court. This means that the parent's visitation with the child must be monitored by an approved third party (sometimes a social worker or mental health professional).

Child Custody Disputes

Whenever possible, parents are encouraged to determine the terms of their parenting plan without involving the court. When an agreement cannot be reached, however, the court may have to step in and make a decision on the parents' behalf. In these cases, a judge will consider all relevant evidence and determine what is in the best interests of the child.

Contact a DuPage County Child Custody Lawyer

At Stock, Carlson & Asso. LLC, our attorneys understand the impact that a child custody dispute can have on families. We strive to provide clients with the compassionate and knowledgeable legal representation they need during divorce, custody disputes, and other family law matters.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation with our Wheaton family law attorneys. Call 630-665-2500 for a confidential consultation.



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