Many divorces between couples with children involve issues of child custody referred to as parenting time and parental responsibility in the state of Illinois. Parental responsibility has to do with who will be responsible for supporting the child and entitled to know about the child. For example, a parent awarded parental responsibility may be entitled to see medical and school records and participate in major decisions concerning the health and welfare of a child. It is common for both parents to have parental responsibility awarded – a divorce does not change the legal nature of the parent child relationship unless there are substantiated issues of repeated abuse or neglect that is of issue.
Illinois parenting time use to be thought of as who would have physical custody of a child and also how visitation with the non-custodial parent would be handled. This often worked out to be either joint custody, where both parents shared roughly equal time with the child, or sole physical custody with visitation arrangements. In contrast, the concept of Illinois parenting time does not use terms like sole physical custody or visitation that tend to drive a wedge between parents, but seeks an arrangement that is in the best interest of the child to include a relationship with both parents – one that sees them as partners in their child’s upbringing.
Coming up with a parenting time arrangement will include considerations such as where the child goes to school, where their friends and other important people in their lives reside, what extracurricular activities they attend, who has provided day to day care to child, the child’s wishes as well as the parents, and where the parents live geographically among other issues. Parenting time arrangements may have a child shifting between households on a regular rotation if parents live a block apart or perhaps every other weekend with split vacations if there is more travel involved. Certainly the age of a child is an important consideration when making decisions about where, how and with whom they will spend time with younger kids perhaps needing more consistent living arrangements while older kids may be able to navigate changing environments more easily .
Again the overarching legal principle which the courts use in determining parenting responsibility and parenting time is the best interests of the child. Of course there are sometimes differences in opinion about what exactly that means. Judges have a list of factors that they will consider in making a determination when child custody is in dispute, but certainly different judges can give different levels of importance to these factors. It is critical to get advice from an attorney who has experience with the particular judges who will be deciding a contested custody claim. If you have questions or concerns regarding parenting responsibility or parenting time in an Illinois child custody matter, contact the Law Offices of Ronald L. Bell & Associates for immediate assistance at 847-495-6000. Attorney Ronald Bell has been practicing in Lake County Illinois for over three decades and can provide you with the information and resources you will need.