Are you familiar with the changes to Illinois family law that impact child custody and visitation? Since January 1, 2016, child custody and visitation have been known as “parental responsibilities” and “parenting time,” respectively, under the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act (IMDMA). Lawmakers revised the IMDMA in order to better reflect the needs of families in Wheeling and throughout the state of Illinois. In brief, the new law aims to help develop closer parent-child relationships and to provide room for parents to share in the upbringing of the child in ways specific to each family situation.
It is always important to have an experienced Wheeling child custody lawyer on your side, even if you are working collaboratively with the other parent to develop a parenting plan. An advocate at SAM LAW OFFICE, LLC can speak with you today about your case.
Under the IMDMA, if the parents can agree to the allocation of parental responsibilities and parenting time in a manner that is in the best interests of the child, they can develop what is known as a “parenting plan.” The judge can then approve the parenting plan, and that will become the order for what was previously known as child custody and visitation.
If, however, the parents cannot come to an agreement together about sharing parenting responsibilities and parenting time, then the court will make a determination about how parental responsibilities should be allocated, and that decision will go into what is known as an “allocation judgment and parenting plan.”
The revised IMDMA does not use the language of joint custody or sole custody, and it does not use the language of legal custody or physical custody. However, the ideas behind these terms still largely exist in the new law. Under the old law, legal custody involved making significant decisions about the child’s welfare and upbringing, while physical custody involved spending time with the child, performing caretaking functions and making day-to-day decisions.
Under the new law, legal custody largely has become “significant parental responsibilities,” which are “significant decision-making responsibilities” about the child’s life and upbringing. Parental responsibilities include making decisions about the child’s education, healthcare, religion, and extracurricular activities. Parental responsibilities can be shared (like joint legal custody), or they can be allocated to only one parent (like sole legal custody).
Parenting time refers to the “time during which a parent is responsible for exercising caretaking function and day-to-day decision-making responsibilities with respect to a child.” Parenting time is typically shared between the parties.
The statute does provide for the custodian of the child, that typically means where the child will attend school.
It is important to work with an experienced Wheeling family law attorney throughout your divorce, but particularly when it comes time for the court to allocate parental responsibilities. If you have questions about how the court will allocate parenting responsibilities or parenting time, or if you need assistance developing a parenting plan, an advocate at our firm can assist you today. Contact SAM LAW OFFICE, LLC to learn more about how we can help.