The language used to define child custody in Illinois can be confusing. What was once referred to as legal custody is now called parental responsibility while physical custody is now referred to as parenting time. To understand what the terms mean, it is important to take a closer look.
Parental responsibility can be defined as the right to make important decisions concerning a minor child such as where they will attend school, what religion they will be brought up in, health care decisions and more. Sometimes parents will agree that they will work together to make some or all of the decisions concerning the upbringing of their child while others may relinquish their decision making authority to one parent who is more involved in a child’s life. What is important is that a child’s best interests are served, whether that means parents work hand in hand or one takes the lead when making important decisions on the child’s behalf.
Illinois Parenting Time
Parenting time replaces the terms custody and visitation. Parents may decide on a 50|50 split (previously referred to as joint custody) where they both can enjoy roughly the same amount of time with the children after a divorce.
If parents live miles or states apart, it may be difficult share parenting time equally. It may be that the parent who lives closest to a child’s school and community will have more parenting time compared to a parent who lives in a distant city or another state, but certainly parents can agree to alternate or give up some time so that a distant parent can spend more time with the kids over summer break or during the holidays so a child can continue a relationship with both parents.
Of course, there are situations where a parent is estranged and does not wish to participate in a parenting time arrangement. In these cases, one parent may be awarded parenting time, previously referred to as sole physical and legal custody.
To schedule an appointment to discuss your parenting time and parental responsibility questions or any Illinois family law matter, contact the Lake county family law attorneys at Schlesinger & Strauss, LLC at 847-680-4970.