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How Parental Responsibilities Are Allocated in an Illinois Divorce

Posted on in Divorce

Wheaton parental responsibility lawyerDepending on the source you look at, the percentage of marriages that end in divorce in the United States ranges from 40 to 55 percent. Divorce is not easy and can be very contentious, especially when it comes to child issues. 

Prior to 2016, Illinois still used the terms physical custody, legal custody, and visitation when dealing with divorces that involved children. After a reform was made to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, there are two major components that you must address if you have children and are getting a divorce: parenting time and parental responsibilities. These changes were made in recognition of the way parenting actually happens in families. Rather than having one parent as the sole child rearer, the law encourages parents to share in parenting time and responsibilities. 

Legal Definitions

According to the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, there are specific definitions for both parenting time and parental responsibilities:

Parenting Time: This refers to the time each parent spends with the child, during which they are responsible for performing caretaking functions, as well as making non-significant decisions pertaining to the child. Caretaking functions include:

  • Feeding the child.
  • Developing a bedtime and wake up routine.
  • Bathing and dressing the child.
  • Caring for the child when they are injured.
  • Teaching manners and providing discipline when necessary.
  • Making sure the child attends school regularly and does their homework.
  • Providing ethical and moral guidance.

Parental Responsibilities: Having parental responsibilities means that you not only have the responsibility to take care of your child, but you also have the right to make significant decisions about your child, such as their education, their religious upbringing, and their healthcare.

Determining Factors for Parenting Time and Responsibilities

There is a certain set of criteria that courts use when looking at how parenting time and parental responsibilities will be allocated. Judges will consider:

  • The wishes of each parent.
  • The wishes of the child, within reason.
  • The amount of time each parent spent taking care of the child for the two years prior to the petition for divorce.
  • Any prior agreements the parents had in regard to parenting responsibilities.
  • The interaction and relationship of the child and their parents and siblings.
  • How the child has adjusted to their school, community, and home.
  • The mental and physical health of all parties involved.
  • Whether restrictions on parenting time are appropriate.
  • The willingness of each parent to place the child’s needs before their own and facilitate a loving relationship with the other parent.
  • Any other factors the court deems relevant.

Get in Touch With a Warrenville Divorce and Family Law Lawyer

If you are going through a divorce, you may have experienced the stress of determining who has which parenting responsibilities and rights. If you and your ex are unable to come to an agreement, decisions may be left to a family court judge. As you work to reach a resolution in these matters, it is essential to have a compassionate DuPage County divorce attorney by your side. The Law Offices of Nancy Kasko, LLC can help you come to a mutually beneficial agreement with your ex, and if necessary, we will advocate for your interests in court. To set up a free consultation, call our office at 630-836-6540.


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