When you are going through a divorce in Hoffman Estates and have children from the marriage, child custody can be one of the most difficult and contentious aspects of the process. At SAM LAW OFFICE, LLC, we want to make the child custody process as anxiety-free as possible. It is important for anyone filing for divorce to understand the ways in which Illinois family laws have changed recently, especially with regard to custody. About a year ago on January 1, 2016, the terminology for child custody under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act changed to the “allocation of parental responsibilities.”
If you have questions about child custody, an experienced child custody lawyer in Hoffman Estates can speak with you today. In the meantime, what else should you know about child custody in Illinois?
Generally speaking, under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA), the allocation of parental responsibilities involves a process in which the court determines parental responsibilities (previously known as child custody) as well as parenting time (previously known as visitation).
Under the statute, parental responsibilities refers to “both parenting time and significant decision-making responsibilities with respect to a child.” Differently, parenting time refers to “the time during which a parent is responsible for exercising caretaking functions and day-to-day decision-making responsibilities with respect to the child.”
Now that child custody is known as “parental responsibilities,” how does the court make decisions about sole custody and joint custody? And is there still a distinction between legal custody and physical custody? In brief, the same legal aspects of child custody still exist, but they now go by different terms. When it comes to sole and joint custody it is allocation of significant parenting decisions, and visitation is parenting time, the court is essentially determining which parent will make the major decisions about the child’s life, and how much time a parent will spend with a child.
While the old law generally resulted in one or both parents making major decisions about the child’s life (sole and joint custody) and one or both parents being responsible for the caretaking functions of the child, now the judge can divide up these responsibilities. For instance, one parent may be tasked with making major decisions about the child’s healthcare and education, while the other parent may be tasked with making major decisions about the child’s religious upbringing. Or, the judge may decide that both parents should be involved equally in these decisions, or that one parent should not be involved at all. Even if only one parent is tasked with making major decisions about the child’s life, both parents can still share in the caretaking functions of the child and can share parenting time.
If you are going through the child custody process or have questions about child custody law in Illinois, a dedicated family law attorney in Hoffman Estates can help. Do not hesitate to discuss your case with one of our experienced advocates. Contact SAM LAW OFFICE, LLC today to learn more about how we can assist you.